• JR

Sub 2 you say?


Thought I'd repost these from Spring 2015. Seems rather apt given what's gone on this morning... Some things a Kenyan runner told me part one... May 2015 They warm into their training runs and follow the rule that if you begin at a much slower pace than you would normally run at straight off, your runs will be more productive as you climb into them. This helps them stay injury free. They help their bodies kickstart their recovery processes at the end of every workout with an extra slow cool down for the last five to ten minutes, running five minutes a mile slower than their five km pace. They feel that the less you stretch and foam roll, the more you should spend time cooling down properly. This helps them stay injury free. Their recovery runs really are proper slow. As much as four minutes a mile slower than their five km pace. Easy days are easy days so that hard days can be hard days. This helps them stay injury free. Interesting stuff I am sure you agree. Some things a Kenyan runner told me part two... May 2015 The guys I spoke to race on the track and roads but all of them said that they do a quarter of their training runs on trails as they know it improves their leg strength and also their running form which in turn makes them more efficient when they race back on the track and the roads. I do the majority of my running on trails and it is tougher and you are a little slower than you would be on the road so start with your recovery runs maybe and build it up. As you learn the trails that you run on you'll get more confident and pick up your speed. The guys I spoke to always listen to their bodies and train with that in mind. If they notice something hurts or they feel really tired during a warm up they will end a session at the end of the warm up, simple as that. How many of us have carried on only to end up with an injury that could have been avoided? They talked about block training which I found very interesting given the amount of runners I work with who never have any time off from running. So these guys will build up their training for four months at a time which will include what they consider to be lower status races and then race hard for a month. After that they'll have a month off where they don't run but do other things such as swim to completely rest their legs and then the cycle will begin again. So effectively two A races a year in their eyes and considered build ups to both. They train in groups of similar abilities twice a week and truly believe that by doing so this really helps them to get the maximum out of each other and in doing so aids each others personal running development. I know of one Thursday night group that do this and I think they'd all say they've got benefit from running against their peers and seen their times improve. As long as the "climbing into a run" and "warming down from a run" that I talked about last week is observed by all participants and the racing element has a start and a finish, injuries can be kept to a minimum by doing this kind of training. Talk to people you know of similar abilities and give it a go. Some things a Kenyan runner told me part three... June 2015 Listening to these guys it became clear that they all truly believe in themselves. Whilst they are much quicker than the rest of us mere mortals all of these guys seem to believe that they can and will win their races and all of them believe that they will be the one to break a world record. So the thing I took away from this was that we should none of us choose to limit ourselves and talk ourselves out of things but instead get out there and discover our limits rather than guess or have someone guess for us. Whatever your dream is, make it big and then see what happens. It doesn't have to be running that you only apply this ideal to either. It strikes me that this can be applied to life in general. They never complain about anything. It's an unwritten rule within the group. One of the guys said to me that if you do complain your mind will become weak and as the body is controlled by the mind this is dangerous when racing. This is useful when living in the red as it were on an efforts session or in a race but he felt that in order to get the most out of your mind you have to have this outlook across everything. Interesting outlook. Is it that simple? These guys don't eat processed food at all. This didn't surprise me but what did was how much of an interest they take in their food intake. I had imagined someone preparing food to be consumed and dealing with all of the dynamics involved in that, and to be fair at training camp this is what happens. Outside of these environments however they look after themselves and it is always local seasonal veg and locally produced meat if as an individual they eat it. You won't find any of them in a supermarket. You will find all of them at the market. Next week will be the last part of this little set of notes on my conversations and I've saved the best until last as it's all about workouts. Some things a Kenyan runner told me part four... July 2015 You may remember I said in a previous post on this topic that the guys said to me that if they felt over tired or just weren't feeling well during a warm up they would call it a day there. Well guess what? Yes that is right, they all said that if they feel good during a planned go hard red zone training session, they embrace it. They said that getting to the point of exhaustion during a hard workout is always the goal. If they finish the session and they know there was more there, they've cheated themselves. How many of us go to the point of having absolutely nothing left during efforts? So I guess what I'm saying is don't moan during efforts or say you gave it everything when you know you didn't. That's the thing about this, only you will know. If you don't feel good you shouldn't be out there, if you are out there, you need to give it everything. You can apply this to all sports, you just need to be honest with yourself. So onto training workouts and the question I'm sure everyone wants the answer to. How do I get faster? Well there are many elements but they all said one word. Hills. Hills are part of all their training runs apart from slow recovery runs and once a week a whole session is all about hills with the climb being several miles long. As the prize for beating the hill the run in will be made up of rolling hills and the aim is to gather pace on the run in. They will also use hills for warm ups and use one that takes them a minute or so to climb at their 10km pace, jog back down and go again doing repeats of up to 15 one of them said but others were between 10 and 12 in terms of reps. The most important type of run they do is the tempo run. I mentioned in an earlier post about climbing into a run, racing and then backing off. These are what these runs are all about for them. There are predefined starts and ends to the race element and runners race hard during the race section but recognise the need to look after muscles by warming up and down during the session. Again there are rolling hills. They all said they do their fartlek session the day before they do their big once a week hill session and they do this to loosen their legs up ready for what is to come the following day. Interval runs they do both on the track and on trails and they generally go to exhaustion on this session. We talked about numbers and they blew me away with 20 x 400 metres but then they are a bit special I guess. The key is exhaustion, whatever your level is. The long runs we talked about were interesting as they talked about progression and I'm not sure I see too much of that going on with peoples training. I also see a lot of people starting fast and fading on race day. So they start steady and climb into it. Long runs generally tend to be anything from half to full distance marathon but the pace won't be flat out at the full distance end of the scale. Again there are hills. The last thing to mention is that they talked about two runs a day with a recovery run being one if the other has been hard. These are professional athletes however and with busy lives that incorporate families, work and other commitments this isn't always possible for the rest of us. To counter this they said to try it in the final push towards training for a race for say a week or two before taper. They all said to get agreement from your partner though if you have one rather than just heading out the door! #LookAfterYourBody



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