TRAINING: Full steam ahead

Training is truly gathering momentum for me now and see is the evolution of my stride. Yesterday, our “injury free running” group did the usual Monday night circuits. This was the toughest session yet and I could not help think of the ways in which it differs from traditional circuits.

Whenever I have tried traditional circuits there are plenty of movements which hold no relevance to running or which, as I can now see with the filter gained from learning from Tony, create false movement patterns that actually will work against the runner – overactivity in the wrong muscle groups, poor rhythm, too much muscle action and simply incorrect movements.

For instance, I remember doing one-legged jumps across the room and seeing both myself and others jumping very far and high with tons of muscle actions (because we see this as desirable) when it flies completely in the face of what you need for running. Then there’s the tough “mountain-climber” and I remember hammering my calves with the hard pushes off the ground – another thing you don’t need to practice for running. Or the static planks, which we thought were so beneficial, especially for runners, but now know to be giving very poor education to the core muscles on what they are supposed to be doing while running.

Life is learning, of course, so on the one hand it’s easy to look back and feel stupid about having put heart and soul into training that was actually damaging but on the other hand, this knowledge is not readily available at the moment and the entire fitness industry, nevermind the rest of us is in a state of imminent re-education.

Running back on track

On the running side of things, I felt nothing of our 80 minute trail run on Sunday, nor the circuit, today as I finished my fastest training run since going “purist” running for 60 minutes and doing 12.7km with the middle 3km being barefoot on hard tarmac (these were covered at 13kph interestingly) and all the rest being sockless in my VivoBarefoot Aqualites. The stride feels very fluent now compared to earlier. There’s still improvements to be made but I feel it’s getting close now to a where it needs to be and the test now is to just keep cranking both volume and then speed back up to where it was before. There was no particular tiredness after the run and I’m looking forward to a fartlek tomorrow and a 65 minute similar run on Thursday evening.

Wonderful and encouraging is the only way I can describe the last 5 days. As often, when things click, they really click. The key now is to keep applying greater challenges to keep building the momentum and not revert back into any old habits.