Mike came to me the October before last, seeking my help. 56 years old, he had taken up running a few years ago for general health and fitness – specifically to destress from his busy but sedentary business life and to lose some belly fat which had been growing steadily for the previous 10 years or so.
Mike loved running and had improved quite a lot over the first year or so and had a good level of cardiovascular fitness for his age. He had even run a couple of marathons, but ended up having to walk towards the end both times, as ‘the wheels came off’. This meant that his best time remained around 4 hours 25 minutes. He knew he could do better than this and dreamed of going under 4 hours.
We talked for a while about his running and lifestyle habits, then took a look at how he moved on the treadmill. This enabled me to get a very clear picture of why he had been falling short;
- He was overtraining – Mike ran virtually every day, over the same course at the same pace – there was hardly any variety so his body had become comfortable with running the same 6 mile route at the same 80-85% effort level. Ask it to run a fast 5k or a sub 4 hour marathon and it clearly wasn’t prepared in any way. True, he had done some long runs before when preparing for his marathons – following a generic, ‘one size fits all’ training plan from a running magazine.
- Although he told me that he ate a ‘healthy diet’, the reality was that there were a lot of refined carbohydrates and very few vegetables in the diet. This meant that he was not adapted to burning fat for fuel, which cost him dearly once he got to 2-3 hours of running, so a marathon PB was unlikely.
- Mike often worked late and got up early, sleeping only 5-6 hours most nights, apart from the weekend, when he tried to ‘catch up’ his missed sleep.
- He ran with his right foot pointed out, which had led to recurring knee, hip and back problems that constantly interrupted his training.
- He was stiff and tight everywhere and regularly simply went straight from sitting down most of the day into a brisk run, with little warm up, if any.
- Finally, he only liked running and did no other sports at all. He didn’t enjoy gym work because he had been there once before and had been given a strengthening programme by a trainer more interested in flexing his own muscles than addressing Mike’s specialist needs as a runner.
Six months later and Mike was proudly displaying his medal, along with a certificate to prove that he had run a 3:54 marathon. There had been no brutal training, only easy, enjoyable running 3-4 days per week. He no longer suffered from any knee or back pain and his hips were no longer locked up. He admitted he actually enjoyed coming to his twice weekly gym sessions where he worked, not on horrible painful sit ups and weights machines as previously, but on movement practice. He learned about biomechanics and how to move safely and efficiently. His 3:54 marathon actually seemed a hell of a lot easier than his previous longer, slower attempts.
Want to follow in the footstep of Mike and others and enjoy all the pleasure of running fast and free, whatever your age?
Call me now on 07504439555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.