DISTANCE

IT'S CROSS TRAINING TIME!

This is very similar to our endurance cross-training.

Essentially we want to train our bodies to keep doing the thing we’re doing (whatever that exercise may be) for longer and longer.

So when we talked about Mo Farah and compared him to Ussain Bolt we discussed how one has longevity – his muscles have bee trained to keep him going for longer and longer VS power and speed – so short bursts of incredible power that don’t last very long.

We need to imitate this in our training.

Working with the principle of overload and repair/recovery.

Key points you MUST include in your training:

  • Hills
  • Zone 2 (heart rate training)
  • Energy efficiency

HILLS

MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE HILLS

Hills

Yes we all have a complicated relationship with hills. One thing I hear quite often when talking about races is ‘how hilly is it?’ some people LOVE hills (yes some people really are that tapped in the head!) other people really hate them. Most of us, I like to think, are firmly in the “I really don’t like hills but recognise that they are necessary to improve my training so I’ll take out all my frustration and stress on the uphill and celebrate all the way back down!” camp. Ha ha.

My friend John used to say “make friends with the hills” and I try to carry this on with my coaching.

Some of these friends you see often, some you see occasionally and at first you’re like “it’s been too long” and then after you think – “yeah I’m not going to hang out with that friend again for ages!” And that’s ok.

If you’re planning a long distance run factor hill running into your training.

Hills have exactly the right type of overload that your body needs to grow your muscles. Play with the following:

  • Run uphill as fast as you can without stopping, then try to beat that time
  • Pick a very long hill (think 1-2 miles of incline) and try to run it continuously each week. Keep going until you no longer have to drop down to a walk – then find a harder hill
  • Intervals – run uphill for a set time, then run back down for a period of active rest and repeat.

ZONE TWO

HEART RATE TRAINING

Zone 2 (heart rate training)

This is where the science happens! Zone 2 training is a massive part of your training and should make up 2/3 of your training each week.

Zone 2 means training deliberately (not just mindlessly jogging or walking) but practising with an intent in mind – and that intent is to keep your heart between 2 numbers. This can be quite difficult at first and often you find that you’ll have to walk to keep the numbers down. This is often very frustrating BUT stick with it! As the more you do, the more you’ll be able to do and your body will reward you by adapting so you can run more miles!

Zone 2 training is very low in heart rate and aerobic effort. It’s basically just above resting! When we work out in this area the muscles adapt and create more muscle fibres -there’s a lot more to it than that, but I am crap at explaining. Essentially all you need to know is that there are more mitochondria which means more muscle fibres = more running capacity.

You can incorporate zone 2 training into other training – so you could start each run with 15-20 mins of zone 2, or you could finish with some zone 2 as a cool down. It is entirely up to you!

Zone 2 is approx. 60-70% of your heart rate max (HRM) and there is a handy Zone 2 training calculator in the files section in this group – so please download it and work out your numbers.

If it’s been a while since you did this – do it again – because as your body adapts your numbers WILL change!

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Energy Efficiency

No I’m not talking about whether you have solar panels!

I am talking about your body’s energy efficiency. So time to get cracking on perfecting your form! Film yourself running – both out and about and on a treadmill if you can. Look at what your body is doing. Are you legs flicking out? Are your hips dropping?

Look at your shoes – this can be a great way of figuring out ways your body might be leaking energy to poor form. Are your soles worn down on one side? At the heel? At the toe?

How do you stand? How do you sit? Try to be aware of how you sit – are you slouching? If you sit “properly” what starts to ache? THAT’S the muscle you need to work!

Running distance means running for longer in terms of time and being on your feet longer. You need to fuel up correctly (see previous article) but WHEN you’ve fuelled up you need to ensure that you using that fuel the best way possible.

Where are you looking – down at the ground in front of your feet? Or ahead to where you are going?

If you start to sag forward and your back is bent and you’re shuffling (what I like to call “old lady mode”) you’re leaking energy all over the place. This is exhausting at a time when you NEED all your energy to be powering your lungs, heart and limbs. So ANY time you feel like you’re in danger if slipping into old lady mode CHECK YOURSELF, pull up, stand tall, engage your core and your glutes. If you have to do this every 10 steps I DON’T CARE keep doing it!

If you’re running with a friend tell them and check each other. Your mate will thank you for a gentle “you’re slipping into old lady mode!” when it means they can get to the top of the hill and have energy left to go up the next one.

 

Remember:

  • Head supported by your neck (your head is the heaviest part of your body!)
  • Glutes active and working FOR you (largest muscles in your body don’t just drag them around!)
  • Core strong and engaged (keep that back straight)

I hope you found this information useful and any comments or questions you have please post in the Facebook group!

GOOD LUCK!