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!
This time of year many Adelaideans are in the final stages of their preparations for their big running goal for the year. The City to Bay is only two and a half weeks away- and The Yurrebilla and Operation Flinders Ultra-Marathons will be following shortly after.
If you are having a crack at one of these, I wish you the best of luck! I also encourage you to relax, and enjoy yourself. I train a lot of runners and help guide them to the start line for events like these.
I have noticed a trend in recent years which worries me a bit. The fun seems to be evaporating. These days it is very easy to track your running progress. GPS watches are getting cheaper and yielding more and more info.
Smartphones with Strava or RunKeeper or Movescount or any number of tracking apps are easily attained alternatives. These are great tools. They can give you objective data on your progress and can also log your training sessions- which is great for accountability.
But I am noticing more people evaluating the quality of a run, or of themselves as a runner based on what their numbers say. ‘I can’t wait to get home and download the data to see if that was a good run’ is a paraphrasing of a mindset I see often.
When I go for a run the criteria I use to judge it on are:
- Did I feel good?
- Was there a fun descent that I ran well?
- Did I see anything beautiful?
If my average 1km splits are 7 seconds slower than the same run I did last week, so be it. That is not one of my quality criteria. It is nice to see progress. And if you run regularly and are training appropriately you should see a trend towards improved performance.
But improvement is not linear. Sometimes you run after a stressful day at work; or a bad night’s sleep; or you are fighting a bug that is lingering just under the surface. If you don’t reach your standard every time your run, cut yourself some slack about it! And in the end, why do you run?
If you run the City to Bay in 61 minutes and you aimed for 59 minutes, who really cares?! You just ran 12km, give yourself a pat on the back! Unless you are aiming to win the bloody thing, the aim should be fun, I reckon.
Many of us lead busy lives and we juggle multiple deadlines from multiple sources constantly. Don’t let your leisure time become just another pressure you place upon yourself. In the end, no-one except yourself really cares about how well you run. So relax and enjoy the ride. That way, you can’t lose.
In eight months I will be riding 1000kms over 7 days, from Melbourne to Adelaide, as part of the Leukemia Foundation’s Ride-as-One event, representing the iNform team. Actually, it’s closer to 1100kms, but that didn’t have the same ring to it for a title! That’s an average of around 150km and more than 5-6hrs on the saddle per day!
While I obviously stay fit and active, I am conditioned to mountain biking and trail running, and haven’t ridden a road bike consistently in a VERY long time; I have never ridden the average distance that we will ride each day (150km); I have never exercised at that volume on back to back days, let alone 7 of them! So I can confidently say that I will be going from an average of 0kms of road riding, to 1000kms (+) in a week!
This blog series is our desire to share this journey with you. We have decided to participate in this worthy event as a business, and share the journey with you along the way, for a number of reasons:
- We believe businesses should give back to their community and contribute to the well-being of others, in ways that extend beyond their normal day to day activities,
- We want to use this opportunity to create a training diary, warts and all, to hopefully inspire you to do something similar.
- This will provide you with an achievable and realistic idea and training plan for you to achieve a large event.
- As my background is in training high level athletes, we will make sure that the training advice is also translatable across performance levels. The foundation of what I’ll be doing should be done whether you want to achieve your first 100km ride, or you are an elite athlete looking to improve performance.
I look forward to our journey together. I would like to invite you to connect with me along the way – Feel free to post comments and ask questions! I’ll be posting a weekly update, with training tips, program progressions, thoughts, and answers to your commonly asked questions.
Above all, I would love you to sponsor my ride, so we can join together in helping the great work that The Leukaemia Foundation does!
How many times have we heard the saying ‘Preparation is the key to success’? Similarly one of my favourites is ‘In failing to prepare we are preparing to fail’. These sayings can be applied leading into any event in our lives from an up and coming job interview, to a 4 year olds birthday party, to painting the walls of your house. Preparation is crucial, however what comes before preparation???
Identifying the goal
Without establishing what it is we are setting out to achieve we have nothing to prepare for. And on the flip side, without establishing where we are now compared to that goal, how can we direct and design our preparation plan to ensure we are on the right track.
Each year in Adelaide the City to Bay fun run comes around and 35,000 people run, walk or wheel their way either 6 or 12km to the Glenelg. What a fantastic event!!! But every year during July and August we hear people say ‘one day I am going to participate in that event’ or ‘I would love to be fit enough to join in with the team at work’. If your goal is to participate or compete in this event then let’s start setting you up for success. Preparation for an event can:
- Improve your aerobic fitness and physical capacity
- Improve the time and ease at which you complete the event
- Increase confidence and self esteem
- Greater sense of achievement at completion
- Reduce injury risk
At iNform we are launching an 8 week training and race preparation program leading in to the City to Bay for 2016 to be held on the 18th September. The program will allow you to adequately set goals for what you want to achieve out of the event, establish your current baseline level of function and fitness and then plan and train for the event from there. For those interested in participating in the program they will receive:
- Baseline aerobic fitness testing
- Coaching around goals and behaviour change
- Weekly 1:1 individualised exercise sessions focusing on running/walking economy and corrective exercise
- Individually tailored running/walking training program
- Support and guidance leading up to the event
If you would like to know more about this 8 week program please call iNform on 84312111 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This summer, become a better runner!
Chances are that if you had a running-goal for this year, you have probably had a crack at it by now. City-to-Bay, Trailblazer, most of the SA Road-Runners club events and the various big-ticket state marathons have now been run and done for 2014. If you did have a go, I hope you achieved what you set out to.
So what now? Well for me, I’m going to make myself a better runner for next year!
That starts in the gym. Well technically it actually starts on the floor of my study.
The foundation for a running strength program consists of exercises aimed at getting the muscles doing their job properly, complemented by specifically chosen stretches, foam-rolling and other methods for improving the mobility of the joints where unnecessary restrictions reside.
This phase of training doesn’t require much equipment- just a floor, your body and a foam-roller- hence why I complete this phase in my study! The main purpose of this phase, which we call the foundation phase, is to do the best we can to get our body working properly, at least at this low-load level.
I will probably spend a month or so doing this work, maybe less depending on how it is going. I will still run but I will run solely for enjoyment, with the weather, how I feel and the mood of our local snakes dictating what I do.
I have some pretty ambitious running-goals for 2015 crystalising in my mind. I am going to give myself the best chance of achieving these by having an awesome pre-season. Heck, if it is good enough for the pros, it’s good for this mug too!
If you want help creating a running pre-season specific for your needs, drop me a line!