Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I'm out of the rut! Yay!

I allowed myself some time 'off', took the pressure off, came back from holiday, started looking into training plans, started ramping up on running again... and bam, I'm back in the game!

Running thoughts and other related items...

1) So what training plan should I use?
I'm reading Run Faster by Brad Hudson and playing around with what my plan should look like. I may have already mentioned before that I've adjusted my goals slightly for the year - taking into account the number of times I've been ill this year and the niggling issues (right SI joint and left hamstring/knee), I've decided to push back my virgin marathon, but still work on a HM and maybe a couple of 10km races this year (hopefully with PBs in both!). I had originally thought of doing a combo of the usual Runner's World plan and the FIRST plan (of Run Less Run Faster fame) - that would mean alternating between weeks of 3 and 4 runs, with 1-2 hard workouts (hard = tempo or speedwork), as well as long runs at quicker paces than I'm used to (the FIRST plans actually suggest paces just 20-30 seconds off race pace... which I am unsure I can do week on week, and I certainly cannot achieve on the hilly roads around home).

But the more I read, the more confusing it all gets - you have plans advocating 3 days of running, others that say 6... and then add in tempo, speedwork, progressing, hills, sprints, fartleks... heart rate, all types of suggested pacing, effort based training... oh my goodness! So now I'm thinking that I may need to review...

So this is where I am at:
  • Choose the number of runs per week - I'm probably going to settle for 4 as an average, with more 3/4s at the start and then working up to 4/5s later.
  • More variability - up to now, I've predominantly based my training on the Runner's World type of plan which is quite repetitive. I'm going to mix it up a lot more with my speedwork especially. Also, 2 new things that I'm going to add are - Progression runs and hill sprints/intervals.
  • Paces - don't know about this one. FIRST paces are killer. I can probably do a bit better than the RW's suggestions. So right now, I'm hitting somewhere in between. Haven't quite gotten to that bit in Run Faster.

2) Cross Training and Strength Training Joys
Just ordered a bike trainer and looking forward to doing more cycling. I'm also squeezing in at least 1 full (1 hour) yoga session at home weekly and may even go for classes again.

My core/strength training has also gotten a bit stale, so I've upped the ante with this a bit and think I could still dial it up another notch. So if you're thinking of that too, then enjoy these killer training vids by Coach Jay - check out in particular the videos he did for Running Times, as well as the ones featuring the lunge matrix, Core H routine and running-specific Swissball work.
Just like running plans, there are just so many different things you can do - the trick is to balance time, simplicity, practicality with need, outcome and specificity.

3) And just to keep things complicated...
More thinking to do?!?! Isn't running touted as the simplest of exercises, just lace up and go?

Still, I thought it would be good to mention this study comparing barefoot and shod runners and their injuries over a period of time.

This study, like most others, are not without limitations but it does bring up many salient factors. In my mind, though, there is almost too much variability in the exercise of running and in the history of runners to make it possible to ever draw a final conclusion.

If anything, it just highlights the fact that it's good to have this debate and an alternative viewpoint, but that with running and shoes, as with life, it's never one-size-fits-all. Like my training plan and strength work gets pieced together from a wealth of choices, so my shoes and how I use my minimalist versus 'normal' shoes will be something I trial over time - I won't hit jackpot immediately, but will learn and adjust along the way... hoping for wisdom and patience as I find the way to self-improvement with minimal casualty.

4) and some YUMS....

Try this if you have a sweet tooth (or are in need of reward!) - I found this fantastic banana bread recipe over at Runner's Kitchen!!! Tried it and approved!

So with this, I shall leave you! Happy running and experimenting!

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