you set yourself a goal to complete a particular event or do a
particular time for a given distance, it is not just about getting
yourself to peak physical fitness to compete in the event. There
is another side to completing your goal.
you ever watched somebody doing a race? I have seen so many people
miss their time goal because of poor pacing; aiming to break 25
minutes for 5km for example, by doing the first kilometer in 4:30,
and then quickly fading because they spend their energy too early.
there are injuries. Injuries don't just happen. They are generally
a result of poor training technique or lack of recovery, stability
article will hopefully give a head start to all beginning runners,
and even answer some of those mysteries for the so called experienced
General coaching or training principles are divided into 5 basic
rules. While these rules do not provide all the answers, they
do provide a solid base
knowledge that will help all runners when applied correctly.
of Overload - for any training adaptation to occur, the body
must be stressed in some way. If you are just starting out running,
then obviously you will need to overload your body by running
in order to get better. If you are an experienced runner, you
will need to do training periods that overload you by manipulating
volume or intensity, if you are to improve. As a beginner runner
you do not want to have excessive overload. As a general rule
of thumb, don't increase weekly training volume by more than
10% from one week to the next. The best method is to gradually
apply overload by increasing training volume by 5-10% per week.
of Reversibility - this is plain and simple. If you stop
training, then detraining (a decrease in fitness) will occur.
This means that during a training period overload is required
to improve fitness; maintenance training is required to hold
current fitness levels; and a lack of training will result in
a decreased performance. This does not mean that rest periods
aren't important - they are. You still need to allocate periods
to have a break from training- this is important to allow both
psychological and physical recovery. It is recommended that
you have a full break from training for 2-4 weeks after a major
competition or a long period of training. The good thing is
that after your break you will get back to your previous fitness
levels faster than it took you to get there originally.
of Specificity - if you do not run, you will not become a better
runner. Your training has to be specific to the demands of what
you are trying to achieve. The best method of improving your
running fitness is to run. There can definitely be value in
cross training, but the majority of your training time should
be spent on your principle sport, and if this is running, then
run. The principle of specificity also refers to the energy
system (or intensity) used during competition. For example,
if you are training for a shorter event, you will need to do
more intense training than if you are training for a marathon,
for which longer endurance training is required.
of Recovery - you need to allow recovery time so that your body
can adapt to the training you have undertaken. If you train
too much and recover too little, you will become run down and
fatigued. Performance will deteriorate, not improve. This principle
works in conjunction with the principle of overload. To get
optimal results you will need to overload and recover. This
needs to occur on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly cycle.
It is important to design your training to accommodate these
important aspects of training. So try having at least 2-3 easy
days per week, and a minimum of 1 easy week per month.
of Individuality - perhaps the most important principle to remember,
and the one that is most often overlooked. Have you ever wondered,
if I did Steve Moneghetti's training program, would I run like
him? Well unfortunately not. The principle of individuality
is the same reason why you and your training partner perform
differently despite doing the same training program. Everybody
adapts and responds to training differently; recovers at a different
rate; experiences different work and family commitments; responds
to environmental conditions differently; and the list goes on.
Basically, you are an individual, and need to customise your
training to suit you and your commitments.
Up and Cooling Down
Preparing yourself adequately for training or racing is important
if you wishto achieve your best performance and prevent injury.
An adequate warm-up will increase heart rate, body temperature,
blood flow, loosen up muscles, allow greater muscle contraction,
greater economy of movement, and ready your aerobic energy system
for further activity. This is just a few of the physiological
benefits of warming up, there is also the psychological aspect
of preparing yourself for the training session ahead.
warm-up should be undertaken prior to any long, or intense training
session. If you are just going for a short easy jog, then the
warm-up is probably not required as the whole session is of low
warm-up should begin with at least 5 minutes of light and easy
drills should then be completed to take your legs through a greater
range of motion (dynamic stretching). Static stretching is not
ideal during the warm-up but if you feel more comfortable doing
a bit of stretching in the warm-up then after a period of easy
jogging would be best. You should then complete a couple more
minutes of easy jogging before doing a few short surges with an
easy jog between each. All in all, the warm-up should take 10-20
minutes depending on your training background. If you are just
starting running, then don't do any more than 10 minutes, otherwise
you may be too fatigued before the session actually starts.
as a warm-up is essential prior to a running session, a cool down
is important at the end of a session to ensure recovery from the
session. A light active cool down such as 10 minutes of easy jogging/walking
will facilitate blood flow- preventing blood pooling, and flushing
elevated levels of catecholamines and lactic acid, etc, allowing
for improved recovery. The cool down should then be completed
by having 10-20 minutes of static stretching. This helps to prevent
muscle soreness, as well as aiding in improved flexibility.
Pacing and the judging of running intensity is one aspect of running
that takes a lot of time, practice and thinking. It is important
to be able to associate your perception of intensity with a pace-
ensuring that you don't go out to hard, or too easy during intervals
or a race. The difficult aspect of this is that as you get fitter,
you will be able to run quicker at a given intensity, and essentially
this is why it is so important to get a feel and understanding
of the intensities you are running. This requires thought and
need to think about how long you would be able to hold a given
intensity, what sort of distance you could hold this for, to what
extent you are fatiguing while running at this intensity. Then
you need to associate this understanding of intensity with running
speed. The reason for this is that at the start of a race you
will generally be feeling fresh and ready to go.
it is easy to get carried away early and run faster than you should
because it feels easy initially. However, this will catch up with
you at some stage of the race, and the small amount of time that
you save by going out too hard can quickly be lost when you start
to struggle towards the end of the race.
best race tactics for most sub-elite runners is to attempt to
maintain a steady state, even pace throughout the event. While
elite runners are racing to win, and thus surging and recovering,
this will just cause excessive fatigue for the sub-elite runner
trying to run their best time.
As the principle of recovery highlights, recovery is as important
as actually training in the overall enhancement of performance.
Recovery can be either active or passive. Passive recovery is
the type of recovery most people are happy to do; sleeping, resting,
and general lounging around. However it is active recovery that
really enhances the recovery process. Examples of active recover
include stretching, massage, completing hot/cold water submersion,
re-hydrating and replenishing glycogen stores. These activities
should be undertaken during periods of heavy training to enhance
will lead to a greater training response, and better preparation
for the next training session.
Tapering is the period of training before an important race, during
which training is backed off allowing you to be in peak shape
on race day. It is the icing on top of the hard training cake.
It can often make or break a good performance.
simple rules to follow when tapering include:
maintaining training intensity but reducing volume during the
taper period so that you stay sharp, but freshen up
should be a gradual linear reduction in training load
duration of the taper is greater for those who are:
training for a longer event;
o have less of a training background;
o have been doing a higher volume of training.
you have these general rules to follow when undertaking your taper,
it is important to find the type of taper that suits you best.
This often involves a lot of trial and error. So when something
doesn't work, refine and try again. Tapering will allow you to
go into a race with no muscular fatigue, while being fresh and
Flexibility training or stretching is something that is generally
overlooked by runners until they become injured, and stretching
is recommended as one of the methods to overcome the injury and
prevent future problems.
truth is that stretching should be used an injury prevention tool,
not as a means of cure and rehabilitation. Being proactive is
always better than being reactive.
what is the benefit of being more flexible? Well to mention just
a few, improved flexibility will potentially reduce muscular fatigue,
make movement more efficient, and economical, and reduce injury.
The best way to introduce flexibility training into your program
is to firstly make it an essential part of weekly training, just
like your running sessions are. By setting at least 3 twenty minute
periods aside each week, as well as stretching after each running
session, you will give yourself the best long term chance of improving
flexibility. As with any form of training, it takes a while to
see the improvements, so it is a matter of being patient. During
each session complete at least 3 sets of each stretch on each
side of the body, and include a wide range of stretches.
muscular tightness varies between individuals, it is important
that you try a wide range of stretches in order to find those
stretches that give you the best stretch and the most benefit.
recommended areas to focus on include:
- Calves (gastroc and soleus)
- Lower back
- Hip flexor
by using this information to guide you through your running, you
will have a more successful and enjoyable experience. The information
provided is only a summary of some key issues, and will need to
be adapted or further investigated on a case by case basis.
more information on how improve your performance, please email
Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org