It’s 6pm. You’ve just got home after a hard day at the office. You feel stressed and stiff. You know that a good run in the fresh air is the only way to put this right. After you will feel better, more relaxed, enjoy a good meal, maybe a drink or two and fall asleep easily.
So you head straight out the door and, after struggling to adapt your breathing for a few minutes, you relax into your normal steady pace. Towards the end of your habitual 5 mile route you want to feel like you’ve pushed yourself to your current limits so you ‘put the hammer down. You arrive home drenched in sweat, breathing heavily, down some fluid and head for the bath or shower, still sweating profusely.
Afterwards you feel amazing, wonderfully relaxed, stress gone. A large dinner – after all you’ve earned it – maybe something sweet to follow and perhaps a couple of beers or a few glasses of wine. Life feels good and you’ve ticked your exercise box for today. You relax in front of the TV and then off to bed.
This feels right and is the way most recreational runners ‘train’. However, it’s not that healthy, it won’t help you to improve and it’s not the way good runners train.
What’s the problem? Well, apart from the obvious problems like no warm up or cool down, no low intensity movement recovery etc., you are training in ‘black hole’ territory. You are running too hard to build the proper aerobic base necessary for long term distance running success or proper recovery from harder training. But you are also not training hard enough to effect real change in speed and power.
Elite endurance runnners typically spend around 80 % of their training time working at an easy conversational intensity. But when they go hard they go very hard or heavy for optimal power. They spend very little time in that middle zone, the ‘black hole’ where you are most of your training time.
Time to ignore all of the nonsense of the fitness industry – ‘no pain, no gain’, ‘go hard or go home’ and the like. This is posing and posturing and marketing to your macho instincts. Train and nurture your body, don’t flog it. The former is the path to long term development. The latter is the way to injury, burnout, under performance, health problems, possible future heart problems even. Work with your body, not against it – it’s a miracle – don’t abuse it.
Train smarter, not harder.
Contact David on 07504439555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an assessment of your current training regime and methods.