March is a month of mayhem in Adelaide. With the festival coming and going and the V8’s long gone from our streets, I have sensed a great deal of fatigue in those who have tried to keep up with the frenetic pace.
It is like we need a tank of that high octane fuel to get us through to Easter!
However, with a few simple tweaks of our metabolic engine we may be able to develop a machine powerful enough to see us through these busy times with plenty of energy in reserve. (more…)
I will start by paraphrasing a conversation that I had with a client a few weeks ago.
Client: ‘You’re a fan of running aren’t you?’
Me: ‘I’m a fan of running well.’
Client: ‘Yeah but you think running is good for you hey?’
Me: ‘I think that running well is good for you.’
Client: ‘Sorry, I mean running is good for developing good cardiovascular fitness, isn’t?’
Me: ‘Yes, a side effect of running would be an improvement in cardiovascular fitness, but this goal shouldn’t be aspired to at the expense of the running itself’.
At this point my now frustrated and perplexed client furrowed her brow, and understanably shook her head and decided it was time to change subject. I don’t blame her.
When having conversations such as this, I am not deliberatley trying to be cryptic or clever, or just a plain old smart-arse. My response has been formed by an omnipresent error formed in people’s motivation to run.
Clients of mine have wanted to run for many reasons, such as:
- To lose weight
- To improve CV fitness
- They know it is good for them
- For competition
- For a ‘signpost goal’, like running the City-to-Bay, or a marathon so that they can say they have done it.
In these instances, running is merely a tool that is used to achieve something. I have very rarely, in fact, never been asked for assistance with running simply for the purpose of enjoying running. And that, I believe should be the primary focus when running, especially during the formative stages of your running life.
If you are using running as a modality for some purpose other than enjoyment, you will sacrifice your form, gauranteed. Running with poor form will result in increased loading of joints and unbalanced loading of connective tissue and increase the likelihood of injury development. Added to this, running poorly is also tremendously innefficient.
Running is a motor skill, and motor skills require time, repetition and accuracy if they are to become an ingrained pattern or program, and hence natural. If you have put pressure on yourself by giving yourself a time-based goal, like running a marathon in 6 months time when 5km currently is a struggle, you will not run with the cognition and feel that is required. Instead, you will be consumed by your heart rate monitor and runkeeper to the detriment of the process.
Exactly what a truly efficient running gait is is still subject to debate, but the research into this area is starting to really elucidate what it might be. More on this to follow. But in the meantime my experience tells me that making adjustments to running form- largely for the purpose of improving force transferral and shock absorption; will result in an improved perception of the running experience by the runner and hence more enjoyment. If you are comfortable with the act of running you can then use it as a tool to achieve a great number of things.
If a client tells me they want to run, my first question is ‘why?’ Ask yourself this question too.
Each waking day there is a battle between our internal physiology and our external environment. In the modern western format, the advantage often lies with the external. Many of us who walk into an office (of varying description) experience the pressure of a tight schedule to fulfill where the expectation of a work-day is grafted around constant output.
I’m going to indulge my AFL bias, and suggest that if our work day were a football game, the match report might go something like this:
Heading into opposition territory, bottom placed Internal Physiology were always going to have a tough day up against ladder leader External Conditions. With the roof closed on External Environment Arena, the home side took early ascendancy with Caffeine and Email goaling in the opening minutes. Ringing Mobile was busy around the packs and provided further scoreboard pressure while Caffeine asserted dominance up forward slamming through a second goal before quarter time. (more…)
Let me preface this by stating that your goals are yours, and yours only to choose. Also, you are free to change your goals at any point in time without any need for justification to anyone but yourself. Ok, now that is out of the way lets talk about goal attainment.
Literature on goal setting and goal attainment consistently talk about the five, seven, ten or whatever stages that exist. Words like ‘precontemplation’, ‘readiness’, ‘implementation’ and ‘evaluation’ permeate this language and provide us with convient compartments to place ourselves. This means that even if you are not actually making progress, you fall into a category within the scope of goal setting, so you should feel pretty satisfied about that.
I on the other hand believe there are two states of being in regards to our goals- you are either on the path to achieving your goal, or your aren’t. I have run this through my mind a number of times, and I fail to see any other category that could exist. If you fall into the latter category, I ask you, is your goal really a goal, or is it a fanciful dream? (more…)