Through experience and in reading a variety of literature, I have found that by running more on NATURAL surfaces, such as dirt, grass and trails, you will decrease your chances of overuse injuries or stress fractures and, with time, become a more efficient runner than before. No human being or animal was designed to run on hard surfaces such as road or concrete. However the body can tolerate this in small amounts and can, if done correctly with the right amount of recovery time, make your bones and muscles stronger and thicker and therefore more resistant to injury.
Most of my athletes do nearly all their training on more natural surfaces and have since doubled and even tripled their total running week mileage while reducing and even eliminated continual injuries they previously suffered from. Once again a well-planned program under the guidance of a specialist running coach will incorporate different running surfaces to work to your benefit.
While free general training programs and gadgets such as GPS watches and phone apps can play a positive part in your training and in educating you as a runner, relying too much on any of these means can also work against you. I always say that your body should be, and can be, your best teacher and pacemaker for your running journey. It takes time to get to know your body and how you respond to each training session. There is NO gadget or set training plan or algorithm that can tell you exactly how you should be performing or training on a daily basis.
A training plan should be flexible and allow you to make changes on a daily basis, based on your body's responses as this changes continually. Learn to read the signs of what your body is telling you and with experience and education you can take advantage of this and adjust training plans accordingly to bring out your best.
You will get the most out of running sessions and enjoy them more if you understand what role the session will play in helping you achieve your goals. If you are a focused runner looking at achieving particular time or distance goals, than the program has to be constructed in a way that will build up to achieving those goals. Each session is done to get a desired affect.
Once you know WHAT it is that you are gaining from each run you are more likely to do it in the first place and therefore get more out of the session. A good coach should be able to explain to you exactly what each type of session is helping you achieve and WHY it is essential to you personally. Take the guessing game out of the sessions and know that you are doing what you need to be doing so you can focus on enjoying the session and gaining the benefits
You can improve your running performance by working on your ability to breathe more efficiently. The two main physical factors that affect your running performance are heart rate and breath. The faster you breath the faster your hear beats. Go on try it. Check your pulse while breathing normally and now increase your breathing rate and see what your pulse does. Now slow your breathing right down by breathing deeply in and out through your nose. See the difference?
When you run, the ability for you to stay in control comes down to your breathing. The faster you run, the faster your heart rate becomes and the faster you breathe. By breathing in AND out through your nose as much as possible, you will slow down your breathing rate, which also allows you to utilise more of your lungs and allow you to stay in control and more relaxed. Relaxation is the key to running well. Try smelling as many things as possible while you are running and just focus on the breathing and smelling and see what difference it makes to the enjoyment of the run.
Too often I see runners focusing so much on the end result of a particular race, or the outcome of an individual training session, that they do enjoy the training sessions along the way. It is the same scenario as somebody working in a job they do not like - at work they become preoccupied with the end of the day, week, year and even more to their retirement. Having a mentality that is focused on the future, or the end result, makes the destination less satisfying because you forget how to have fun in the moment. It is absolutely essential to enjoy your journey and celebrate milestones you have set, which can be as simple as giving yourself the time you need to run a session without thinking about what you will be doing when you finish. A Running Coach can remind you to be mindful while running and to create a positive attitude toward running. If you aren’t enjoying the run you won’t run well and it is unlikely you will continue to maintain your running fitness.
After you accept the fact that it will take time for you to become a better runner, you will be more likely to make running a part of your everyday routine. Rather than treating running as an extra task to fit into your day, it is a better perspective to view running as part of your life. Some of the most successful runners I have come across just run to work, or school or to the shops on a daily basis. Running can be your way of transport rather than driving everywhere. You will feel much better, alert, happy and alive by the time you arrive at your destination and you will have increased your overall running fitness at the same time.
To see the value of running in everyday life we can learn a lot from Haile Gebreselassie, one of the greatest runners of all time. Here is a link to a video about his life. This documentary runs for over an hour, but even if you just watch the first 10 minutes you will be inspired. If anybody is looking for the "SECRET" to running/performing like the African's then watch the whole thing and take note.
I love the running scene at around the three and a half minute mark into the movie where it shows Haile running, and I mean running effortlessly, over hilly narrow goat trails, perfectly in tune with his breathing and body. How he able to maintain such an even fast pace on such an undulating course is just incredible. Most of us would be tripping up and twisting our ankles just walking on these trails let alone run so fast over them.
The video then goes on to demonstrate one of Haile's Olympic runs and while he is running it reverts back to where it all started - him running to school as a boy, barefoot each day with his book under his arm. His running style today still reflects this and he runs as if he is still carrying that book under his arm.
Basically THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES! Not your Garmin's and stats, and shoes, and gels and supplements and drugs, it is just pure hard, hard work and a dedicated running lifestyle for the long term. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did!
What is one common factor or ingredient that is absolutely necessary in every sport for individuals to be successful? TIME. The more time you spend practicing your sport, the better you become at it. Running is no different.
The more time you spend running the more improvements you will see in ways such as: conditioning (legs become used to the demands and build the ability to reduce or even eliminate chances of injury), improved efficiency (muscles and cardiovascular system become more efficient through adaptations, therefore allowing you to run faster for longer) and faster recovery (body becomes faster at recovering from each session).
Do not look for short cuts, “there are no short cuts to the top” (Arthur Lydiard the Legendary New Zealand running coach). Having a running coach will ensure you remain committed and motivated to achieve your running success.
If you live in the Sunshine Coast or Noosa why not join Norbert and Greg from Cyclo Sportif for a regular free group run? Check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Noosa-Runners/381263105388844?sk=timeline and give Norbert a call each week for details on
0434 397 674.
I can't emphasise enough the importance that your overall foot health plays in your ability to run at your best and your ability to stay injury free. Your feet are very easily overlooked and are usually not a priority when runners think of improving their running. This is one of the first things I look at when taking on a new athlete. Your entire skeletal system rests upon your feet and there is a lot of force and demand on them throughout the day, but especially when running.
The most important aspect that determines your overall foot health and function is the foot shape. Ask yourself this: do I have my NATURAL foot shape? What do you mean, I hear you ask? Have a look at a baby or young toddler's (less than 2 years old) feet and note the shape. If you were to trace an outline around the foot, you would note the widest part of the feet are at the ends of the toes. Now trace a line around the outside of your feet and note the difference. The widest part is at the ball of the foot, no longer at the ends of the toes. What happened along the way? Why is this a big problem? What can you do to correct this?
Start purchasing footwear that doesn’t constrict your feet and educate yourself by looking at some videos on the official Correct Toes website (https://nwfootankle.com/correct-toes). Correct Toes can be used by anyone, they are not just designed for runners, they are also popular with people involved in yoga, tai chi, martial arts and for people with common foot problems including plantar fasciosis, neuromas, bunions, recurrent tinea, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, hallux limitus and rigidus.
Here is a really interesting link showing a woman's before and after x-rays of her foot after using Correct Toes for just 4 months: http://naturalfoothealthandwellness.weebly.com/foot-press/my-progress-with-correct-toes-minimal-shoes
If you want to purchase Correct Toes in Australia or New Zealand have a look on the eRun Coach website or our Facebook store where we have free shipping. I became interested in selling Correct Toes in Australia after I personally starting using them and discovered they drastically improved my foot health and running fitness. They are well worth the investment if used consistently with the right footwear.
This is the most important factor that will determine your success as a runner. From my experience as a Sunshine Coast running coach working with athletes of all levels I have seen the main difference between somebody who runs to their full potential and somebody who gives up and stops along the way is all about the goals they have set for themselves. These goals will be your driving force, the thing that gets you up every morning no matter what the weather is doing or where you are, and it will make you work around all obstacles that life brings.
How do you know if you have set the optimum goals that will allow you to achieve your best running results? Only YOU can set goals that allow you to do this, but having a personal running coach will ensure you achieve those goals as quickly and as safely as possible. One of my favourite client goal is to help runners achieve better race times in races such as the Noosa Triathalon, Bridge to Brisbane, Noosa Winter Festival, Gold Coast Marathon and Sunshine Coast Marathon. My role as a running coach is to help you break down your goals and to celebrate and reset milestones along the way.
I hope you enjoy Part 1 of my Noosa Heads National Park Running video - this should be on everyone's 'To Do List when they visit Noosa!
I have been passionate about running for as long as I can remember and my goal as a running coach is to educate as many people as possible about "how to run smarter not harder" so that they can continue to enjoy running for the rest of their lives.
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