Running is just running?

    Unfortunately not…

    I’ve written before about running too much as I think it can leading to injury, particularly in us older folks. As with all things it’s a simple reason - over use. On the other hand running too little will obviously lead to a lack of progress.

    The balance must be struck by running for purpose. There is no point running if it is not getting you nearer to your goals. Arnold Schwarzenegger applied this to his training… different “sport” but same idea.

    “So you gotta go to the gym and feel like every rep that you do is getting you one step closer to that goal, to make that vision that you have turn into reality.”

    Yah! Due to this lots of different names are given to runs…

    These include:

    Tempo - A run where you run at your best pace for a sustained stretch of the run.

    Base or maintenance run – An achievable mid-distance run just to keep you ticking over for distance and pace.

    Race pace - A run where you try to gauge or sustain a pace needed to achieve a race time PB.

    Marathon pace - Running at a target pace for the Marathon so you can judge when you are faster or slower on the day.

    Intervals – Fast running that you can only sustain for short periods. This is twinned with rest. Often used in a track or treadmill session.

    Fartlek - Swedish for Speed play – like above but less structured. Sprint to a tree, jog to a lamppost Etc.…

    Easy – Just running not stretching yourself just adding some miles to the bank… I NEVER RUN LIKE THIS.

    For all of these runs a useful tool is the perceived effort scale pictured.
    Intervals or fartlek for example should be right up at 8-9-10 on the scale for small stretches. Tempo could be at 7 but for a longer period maybe 20-40 mins of the run depending on fitness. Clearly what pace is 7 for one person is different to another but this method relies on being honest to yourself.

    Finally there is…
    Long – The aim is just to cover the distance pace doesn’t really matter. You may run the whole way at 5… even stop and have a break.

    Long runs however can be with pace. Mine now are but only because I now do them regularly. If it is the first time you’ve run ten miles just soak up what it feels like. Leave that watch at home as the distance is the achievement.

    During my last marathon training I did two twenty mile plus runs I blogged about them as I was scared of them. The long run had killed me the marathon before. So I took it mega easy. I stopped for 20 mins somewhere nice and chatted to people. I took my shoes off aired my feet, got my pic taken even stared in a video and set off again refreshed.

    Another thing I do on long runs to try out nutrition. For the marathon gels are a necessary evil as they’re not natural. I’ve tried other things but I simply cannot take on solid food or large amounts of drink. It is best in training not to over use gels. They are the running equivalent to wearing your coat indoors.

    They won’t give the lift needed if you’re basically taking them all the time.

    You also actually need to feel that empty feeling and be able to deal with it. It will come in the marathon. I also often run with no breakfast to make things harder too it forces your body to call on its reserves.

    Anyway I left hanging – “I don’t I do easy”. This takes us back to the start – purpose.

    What is the purpose of an easy run?

    Frankly none. If you’re doing easy runs your running too much. Get an imagination do something else! There is other ways of getting your cardio which is all running is. I walk to work and home most days that’s an hour of cardio.

    Why go for a slow jog to nowhere?

    I enjoy skipping and bag work at the gym. Punching is great cardio much more intense than running and builds upper body muscle and core strength.

    Having said that easy does do one thing. It makes sure your consistently going out the door and that is enough to get started…