So, last week was the first of the three England Athletics #ClubRun coaching sessions by Daz Reevell and we had a fantastic turn-out, beautiful weather and a good laugh. We also suffered mightily. It was far too hot for anything more strenuous than a gentle jog and we attracted sympathetic (or maybe just bemused) glances from passing cyclists and dog-walkers as we
staggered sprinted up and down the stray path. But, apart from some aching muscles, what did I take away from this first session?
How many of us actually do a proper warm-up before going for a run? I’m as guilty as anyone – I put my trainers on, press GO on my Garmin and set off. I might take the first mile a bit easier than the rest but I never stop to perform a proper warm-up. Daz had us do a whole series of warm-ups which (as well as providing much amusement to passers-by) help to activate running-specific muscles and which, if done regularly, help develop power.
Run according to effort – not pace
The advice here is basically that we shouldn’t concentrate on pace, but should instead judge our level of effort. This is a more flexible method of training as it allows us to compensate for the conditions (heat/wind), terrain (hills/trail) and physical well-being (tired/ill/hung-over!) Let’s face it, you’re not going to be able to maintain your usual 10k pace if you’re running up Roseberry Topping, or if it’s 30ºc outside, so instead aim for the same level of perceived effort.
This is probably the most important piece of advice Daz gave (at least for me). Most runners tend to run all their training runs at about the same pace – running in the grey zone. A quick look at my Strava reveals that I am guilty of this: with the exception of trail runs, all my times are in a very small pace bracket. As Daz explained, easy runs need to be very easy – about 2min per mile slower than race pace. If you run them too fast, your body doesn’t fully recover; as a result, you can’t get put in the proper effort on harder training sessions such as intervals etc. and so you don’t benefit as much as you could. This is one lesson I’m definitely going to incorporate into my running. Any excuse for a nice, slow bimble!
The next #ClubRun session is the 8th August – come along and get some free coaching. If nothing else, you can have a good laugh as we all attempt our lunge-walk warm-up exercises…