Top running tips from Adam

It occurred to me Adam, my running trainer, tells me some pretty useful things while I’m training. Of course he’s a sports rehab lecturer, he’s trained professional footballers for a living and so he talks pretty technical sometimes.

Fortunately a lot of my job involves taking really techie, jargon-packed language and moulding it into words everyone can understand.

So I’m going to pass on some of his advice, telling it like I can get it.

Why you shouldn’t run every day

I was telling Adam today how I’d run four miles on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, to ‘toughen up’. I don’t normally run every day but I thought I should think about upping my sessions and that would mean running on consecutive days. I should try to get used to it.

Adam asked me how the second run had gone. I said I was slower, although only by 20s, but the effort felt greater. I had felt like I should have been faster, I was really trying hard, and I was disappointed to be slower. ‘Hmm,’ he said. ‘So your perceived effort was greater than your results?’ Then he explained to my why back to back running isn’t such a bright idea.

Controversial. I know. Lots of people do. But the things about running; it is repetitive movement, really repetitive. And that means you’re at a very real risk of injury as you repeat the same movements over and over again.

Now if you’re not bothered about getting injured fair enough. But I’m a wimp. I hate niggling injuries that stab at you when you’ve just about forgotten about them. I am sick of my ITB issue and the stiffness round my left hip irks me greatly. I want to be out running and having fun, not wincing when my body wants to remind me it’s not happy. This advice is good for me. Maybe you too.

The reason why you shouldn’t run every day is this: when you run, the activity creates tears in your muscles. Just a bit, but the fibres get torn with the effort and are therefore looking to rebuild. What your body needs is time to mend. Time without more activity. If you run the day after, instead of taking time to mend yourself, then your body will have mended the muscle a little, but not as much as it needs to to build stronger, larger muscle. Then it gets torn again and weakened again. Yes, it does rebuild, but not to where it should do.

Keep that up and you have a slow but steady decline in your muscle’s strength and its strength to do the work you are asking of it. Sooner or later – injury. Being out for a week or more is not going to help my training.

Maybe if you’re an elite or professional athlete it’s worth it, but I’ve got my sights set on the Manchester 10k and finishing in an hour – I am not Paula Radcliffe!


Relaxed running

You know, I got up this morning, I made a cup of tea and I thought, ‘Wow, I am really relaxed’. I felt calm and serene and quite post-yoga chilled. What a difference some time to ourselves makes. And lots of sleep.

With no work until the new year I can run when I want to too. In daylight, even. It was a brightish, sunny morning with a stiff breeze, which seemed to be constantly blowing at me. Why is the wind never behind you, eh 😉

Paula Radcliffe; she’s the same height as me – 5ft 8in but there the similarities end. She runs twice as fast as me, for 26 miles at a stretch. Today I ran six miles in 1h 12m, a 12:07 pace. The last half hour was bloody murder but I got there, which is the point isn’t it. Small but significant steps forward in the right direction all add up to giant strides in the long-term. If running teaches you anything it’s patience – and how to endure pain.

I’ve got a niggling tight muscle in the top of my left thigh that nags in that irritating way that makes you grimace when it’s bad and limp slightly till it warms up. A sports massage would no doubt do me the world of good but I can soldier on with paracetamol until then. Elite athletes are an inspiration, but I don’t envy them. I bet Paula can’t curl up on the sofa with a large slab of Christmas cake in the afternoon and I shalln’t be plunging myself into cold baths, I don’t care if it does aid muscle recovery. Give me steaming hot bubbles, a cup of tea and runner’s world every time. I know, rank amateur – and I love it! 🙂


Christmas running

In spite of consuming my body weight in roast potatoes on Christmas day and waking up feeling feverish and weak as a kitten this morning, I perked up at lunch time and decided it was time for a run.

Previous to today’s canter, I was out Christmas Eve, sliding about in the mud for four miles, but today, Boxing Day, I decided to take the river trail and try for some decent times.

Blimey, there must be something to be said for catching up on sleep and eating food that has to be cooked from scratch and isn’t called a sandwich.

My first mile came in at 9.40 which is my fasted mile ever. By miles (pun, sorry) – my fastest previous was 10.26. Second mile a lot slower, but then I picked up again on the third mile and came in 33.44. Very pleased with myself, though the conditions were good and I’d had a decent lunch (though I’m not sure Paula Radcliffe would advocate eccles cakes as a training food, but I did have an omelette as well so not too shoddy).

It’s been a grey old day today but I can’t think of a better way to spend my holiday time than jogging through fresh air. Plus the fact I’m almost keeping up with my Christmas chocolate calories consumption. Though may be a long, long run might be a useful bank – I’ve got New Year’s Eve to think about yet.

As we know, Santa came early with my Garmin. I hope Santa bought you all some cool running pressies too.