As a coach and reasonably successful ultra-runner, there are a few common questions which people do ask me. Over the next few weeks we will look at the most popular ones and do our best to answer, explain and provide what we have found to be the most helpful solutions so that you can take these away and apply them in your own goals, training and running.
If you have a question which you would like answering then send it in and we will see if we can feature it over the next few weeks. You can use any of the contact methods at the top of this page or post it on the Facebook page
We will keep the focus on one subject each week with a couple of bite sized blogs so you don’t have to wade through ‘War and Peace’ to get the information you want but we are going for quality over quantity here!
Some of these questions are ones which I may have already attempted to answer in the “Ask the Experts” Montane feature of Trail Running magazine that I seem to have been mistakenly added to! Though on here we can go into a bit more detail and expand on the solutions offered and we will give you lots of things to try for yourself.
To get things started this week we take a look at something we tend to overlook as runners, but I am a huge fan of. It is great to see more people taking note of strength and conditioning, and applying it more and more to their routine. As anyone who I coach will tell you, I believe this is one of the key parts to maintaining consistent and injury free training, as well as being a big help to running longer, higher, further and more efficiently. You don’t need loads of kit and there are loads of exercises you can do in your living room.
Question number 1. How do I add strength and conditioning to my routine and where should I start?
To start with, adding anything new to your routine needs to be done cautiously. Introducing any new stress takes a little time for your body to adjust to and if we hit it with too much too soon without having chance to recover and adapt, something will need to give; either injury, illness or some form of breakage!! Ouch.
Making sure you do the right exercises specific to you and your needs also helps. If you have limited time and energy you want to make sure that each exercise counts and counts in the best and most effective area for you. In the next feature we will set out a few exercises for you to try so you can work out which ones you may need to work on.
Start small and build up. Remaining consistent is the key: if you can do something for 10 minutes 5 times a week it will be much more effective in the long term than going mental for 2 hours 3 times a week for two weeks then getting blown out and doing nothing again for 4 weeks – a rather extreme example but hopefully makes the point.
Find a routine than is easy to implement. If you can implement a quick and effective routine at home that doesn’t take too long and can be done between getting up and waiting for your porridge to cool down, you are much more likely going to find less excuses to do it than trying to drag yourself off to the gym when you need to be at work 45 minutes after waking up!
Not that there is anything wrong with going to the gym: if you are not sure on technique or feel you need the support and motivation then get yourself there. Find one that you like and can get the support and direction from dedicated professionals.
Later in the week we will take a look at what you can do, until then here are some of my tips which found their way into Trail Running magazine courtesy of Damian Hall’s great article –“75 strength secrets from pro racers”. See the latest (Dec 2016) issue for the full low down. To subscribe to the full feature, please register below.