13 Jun Stuck in a rut
In a plateau
Can’t see a way to improve.
It’s not uncommon for me to get emails like this on a daily basis.
Asking the simple question of “what can I do to improve”
The answer though – isn’t quiet so simple.
And if you hang on in todays post I hope there will be some key things you can take on board going forward if you find yourself in a similar situation (it happens to all of us – don’t worry).
There are mixed thoughts out there about how to “improve”.
– Just add more mileage will be one typical response
– Add more intervals
– You need to do a tempo session each week
– Focus on your recovery
All of the above will work differently for each individual.
I’ll give you a couple of options.
Lets say you are currently over 40, and have been running for a couple of years. The key advice here is to keep an eye on INTENSITY.
Put your hard/interval runs on grass to reduce impact, long miles can be on a mix of trail/grass/tarmac. Ensure adequate recovery between hard sessions (maybe even adding in active recovery days on the bike) and including a good proportion of strength training too.
The latter point I’d recommend getting a routine of exercises together (check out the Run365 challenge for some ideas).
Past it at forty…? Far from it. In fact I know plenty of 40+ guys that will regularly beat me, and I know from talking to them and grabbing their thoughts about training is that you need to be more careful.
Those niggles hang around longer and you need to focus on the recovery between sessions. Which means spending time on the foam roller, grabbing a massage every now and then and focusing on what you eat too.
Notice I’ve not said DO MORE RUNNING. But this depends on your background. I work with some runners in their 50’s who have been running for years and their bodies can handle higher mileage, but this isn’t a strategy for everyone. Sadly there is no strategy that will fit everyone.
Lets now imagine you are a brand new runner, you’ve got a 10k on the horizon and you can run about 10 minutes currently and are building up to your 10k in a couple of months time.
This is an entirely different scenario, and the focus for many individuals in this situation is just to hit the distance required. Speed isn’t necessarily the goal (for some).
So the focus changes on gradually building up the distance they are running. For many beginners (and indeed some intermediate) there is only one speed.
Or maybe that should read only one PERCEIVED speed. Pacing is a learned skill and one that takes time to master.
Building the distance up gradually week by week. For this group, the risk of injury is quite high as the body adapts to new challenges. So simply running won’t be enough. Again, I’d aim to include some strength routine in the plan too to condition the body in its new challenges.
You might not have found yourself in those two short examples, but hopefully it might have given you a couple of ideas?
When it comes to training plans and structuring sessions we are going to have a great seminar session on it at our RunCamp Weekend (which is just two weeks away!) with Coach Phil.
June 24th-26th. We only have three places left for the whole weekend and a few day tickets too.
I’ll be releasing the final itinerary this week too so you’ll be able to see what we have up our sleeves!
P.S. We had a huge number of responses to our RunCamp Kids Coaching questionnaire we sent out a couple of weeks ago. So much so that we will be getting a trial date off the ground in the next few weeks.
If you haven’t yet filled in the form (only those who fill it in will be notified of the dates) then get involved here:
Ant is the creator of RunCamp. Everyday his goals are to educate, motivate and inspire runners and triathletes to make themselves better than they were yesterday.
Running in his eyes is a journey, and through his coaching he aims to make everyone’s journeys more enjoyable.
As well as running, you’ll find Ant regularly taking part in triathlons, from sprint distance up to full Ironmans.
He also has a big weakness in the forms of Papa John’s pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so if you ever want to get an easier session, thats one way to get one!
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