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Notes to myself (part 3)

Part three of a four-part series of my top ten training tips I’ve picked up this year. 

Part one can be found here. Part two here.

Lesson 6: Active recovery 

The least said about this the better. I’ve never done a recovery run – I’ve written about doing a recovery run, but if you’ve read the post we can all agree I still haven’t done one. 

This is a gap in my training. Perhaps it’s not a big gap, I don’t know. Maybe it’s an important part of training. At the moment I am not confident in running more than three times a week. This is all about avoiding injury through over-training. I should explore how active recovery can help me with this, both through increasing my training levels and building that confidence back up.

Lesson 7: Focus on the basics

Running form is vital for efficiency and the avoidance of injures. Running form is the first thing out of the window when the going gets tough. 

Mentally focussing on form isn’t easy, but is part of the basics to get right. Similar to breathing (lesson 2), we all need to breath, but do we breath correctly?

This year I’ve looked at foot strike pattern and ground reaction force, vertical oscillation, stride patterns, posture, and my overall running cycle and it has all helped me to focus on what I want to do. Every detail is part of the goal to beat my previous best time around a specific 10km course. Every detail is making me a better runner.

It’s also over-thinking things, and I’ve said I want to get back to the free-spirited running with music playing, tuning out to the world once the race is done. But let’s focus on that race first…! Details, details, details!

Lesson 8: Go long or go home

Long runs are a staple of training plans. They build up time on your feet and are a great marker of progress as watch the additional miles build up over the weeks. 

I have a psychological barrier around the maximum distance I’ll go. I mainly run 10km and half marathon races, so my training plans are in accordance. I’ve run long distances running up to a half marathon, but leading up to the 10km this month, I’ve only managed to run for an hour – getting up to around 12.5km.

It would be good to focus on longer incremental distances at a slower consistent pace, whilst using other runs to build up different parts of my training programme. I think my problem is that I get impatient with slower speeds, so this combines well with lesson 3 – be consistent before being fast. 

Not something I’ve managed this year, but something to consider as part of my training arsenal in the future.

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