Friday, January 3, 2014

Top Winter Training Tips to Gain the Edge in 2014

People think that it is easy to run and natural… yes, it is! However, as we begin to get older, we spend more time sitting than we are designed too; it shortens muscles, weakens out buttocks and core, all causing us to run in a less effective and efficient way – and become prone to injury…

 So, as January rapidly approaches, we have summarized a few top tips, let me know your thoughts…

 * Progressive Training and Quality Rest Days: adding no more than 10% to your training volume and speed per week, ideally with every 6th week (and at least 1 day per week as a quality rest day) as easy week to allow the muscles to adapt and recover. 

 * Start Slowly & Build from a Strong Base to Avoid Injury: enhance performance and enjoyment – break your big goal down into small manageable steps. Do the same if you are changing from road races to off road cross country season, remember stability and core training.

 * Mix the Sessions Up! Make sure you do long and steady, easy, short and quick, hills and intervals to challenge your body, vary your training and improve your overall pace! Joining a club or agreeing a training day will really help with motivation, especially if it is dark & wet. Once you are outside, you will feel revitalized and refreshed.

 * Listen to Your Body: never run through an injury or flu/chest infections – it will only get worse and it is there as a warning. A couple of easy sessions, extra stretching and a good sports massage will limit long term injury or recurring illness. Boost immunity and recovery with quality nutrition and avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates which will drain your immune system.

 * Include Core Sessions: the more your run, the more core sessions you need to do – the stronger your core muscles, the less likely you will be injured, the stronger you will run and you will be more efficient. All too often athletes do less core when the training increases – however, it is vital that you do more Core sessions. Core sessions should be varied and include lots different exercises using cables, medicine balls, bosu and swiss ball – working the front, side and back muscles.

 * Stop at the First Sign: most running injuries are caused through repetitive use, (not sudden impact such as rugby) so it will have been caused over a number of weeks and possibly months. So the day you get ‘the niggle’ is not the first day of its appearance – so make sure you do listen to your body to prevent the niggle becoming a limiting factor to your training and racing!

 * Have regular quality sports massage sessions: if you stretch and do core sessions you will need one about every 2-4 weeks … Possibly more depending on your goals and bio mechanics. If you find a good sports therapist they will get used to how your muscles feel, pick up on injuries before they become a problem, reduce fatigue, speed up recovery time and enhance your training sessions. When Olympic athletes were asked what compliments and benefits their training, 97% responded with sports massage as number 1 as well as compression socks.

 * And Finally ENJOY Running: set some clear winter goals from now until March 2014, and have FUN – the more your relax, breathe and listen to your body the most effective and fun your training will be!