Today we start a new blog series, one very close to our heart. We strongly believe that running, and especially running trails, is one of the most beautiful expressions of a body that functions well. And so to get the most out of this beautiful activity, you need to make sure that your body is up to it!
Don’t run to get fit, but get fit to run!
This is a mantra that we believe in strongly. It really annoys me when I see posts on social media promoting running as a way to get fit… why? If we are honest, we know that running is an inherently hard activity to do. In fact, it’s one of the activities with the highest metabolic demands out there, primarily because your whole body is working while you ‘pound the ground’, only to be outdone in ‘aerobic’ demand by cross country skiing. We also know that over 50% of runners will get injured any given year!
So if you are unfit and deconditioned, running is not going to be an enjoyable activity at all! Needless to say, this is going to severely affect your chance of sticking to it. So we focus a lot of our professional work-time helping people get ready to run and make the most of it. Because when you are fit to run, you won’t want to stop!
So, every week we will release a new instalment to this series focusing on the many different aspects that can help you get the most out of your running, including:
- The effects of weight on joint loading and running time
- How to structure your weekly running to avoid injury and maximise enjoyment and gains
- How to program towards your event
- The importance of your running technique – is it capacity or skill?
- Myths and tips
- Does your Foot strike matter
- Cadence and the effects of modifying it
- The key areas of your body to focus on for improved running
- Feet and ankles – mobility and strength
- Knees – capacity to absorb gravity!
- Hips and pelvis – stable for power transfer
- Rib cage – a shock absorbing spring ad rotational controller!
- Arms – swinging for power, efficiency and direction
- Head – your rudder to success!
Plus I’m sure other topics will spring up as we hear your comments and questions!
In addition, we’d love to invite you to our online running community on Facebook – The iNform Running Studio where we can have discussions, Q&As, and we’ll share regular video clips with ‘live’ running tips while we hit trails!
Looking forward to chatting with you as we evolve this series. If you would like to have a more specific look at your running or discuss your training etc, feel free to contact us!
Ok, a true behind the scenes post coming up. I promised that this series was going to be a “warts and all” look at my training journey. So here’s the first big wart!
I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to this… but this morning I really didn’t want to get on my bike. In fact, when I saw that it was raining, and obviously “unsafe” for me to be riding through the hills, a bit of a weight lifted off my shoulders… “WHAAAAAT??” but I love riding my bike. In fact, that’s all you hear from me on Facebook, right?
Well, it’s true. I certainly do love riding my bike, and when I’m out there, there’s very few places I’d rather be. What I have worked out though, is that I’m a bit too competitive for my own good. And this translates into knowing that every time I go out there, I’ll want to ride harder and faster than the previous time. And sometimes I just don’t look forward to that pain… It’s not unusual for me to dry-retch (sorry about the details!) at the top of a hill. And this is not because I’m too unfit to get up it, as I could certainly easily spin the legs up most climbs in Adelaide… it’s the fact that I feel I need to get a PB (personal best) time every single time!
This is not a good place to be on two counts:
- It’s unrealistic to expect that every single session (of anything!) is going to be a ‘best ever’ session! This applies to the intensity of it, the speed of it, or even the enjoyment of whatever it is you are doing.
- I don’t want to lose the joy, and the WHY I do what I do.
How to avoid that mental ‘overtraining’
So, to be clear, the issue is not that I was physically dreading the ride, but rather, mentally ‘pre-fatigued.’ While this concept is not new to me, and one I have been working on personally and have coached others through, today it really hit me that I have let it get away from me. So, here are a few things I plan to do, and if this resonates with you too, hopefully this also gives you a strategy:
- Firstly, I need to focus on the WHY: I train primarily because I love the feeling of exercise – of being outdoors and feeling my body working.
- The second reason why I train is that I enjoy the feeling of being fit and healthy. There are no medals or million dollar contracts at the end of this. It is simply for my well being.
- Considering the point above, constantly pushing oneself is never a good thing for health. It drains the body, it creates hormonal stress and increases the chances of injury and illness. I know this… so I just need to coach myself through it!
- I need to learn to just head out, be it running or riding, and get back to the joy of movement. Part of this is to disconnect myself from the tools that tell me how fast I’m going and how hard I’m working! While numbers are a good thing, and they help plan training in a clever and scientific way, they also need to allow for ‘easy days’. My best way to achieve that is to leave my GPS watch at home!
- I need to remember that everything needs cycles (not the bike kind! haha!), but waves and rhythms of work and play, challenge and recovery. This applies to life in general as well as physical training.
- Lastly, I will take advantage of ‘variety’. So to break the mental burden of riding today, I will go to the gym and do a mixed session, which will provide variety to mind and body.
Ahhhh… I feel better already. Thanks for hanging around and chatting. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Don’t feel bad if you need an easy day in your schedule!
Too much of a good thing is never good.
Well, this also holds true when it comes to training for a specific event. While specificity of training (that is, training specifically for the event one will compete in) is very important, specialising too early, or being too repetitive in training is a sure way to develop injuries down the track. So laying a solid foundation, one that will be the base for the highest possible peak of success, requires well planned variety.