I just spent a sweltering Sunday at Homebush completing a Level 2 Running coach qualification, with a view to training teenage boys. But there was quite a lot I thought would be useful for everyone. So here's a bit of a summary on what we learned:
A little bit of no pain, no gain
On a cellular level, fitness gains are quite an amazing thing! All cells have the ability to adapt and will happen in response to loading/training the body. After loading with exercise/weight, the muscles fatigue and the body adapts to an improved level of fitness.
A probable side effect is sore muscles which occur because lactic acid is a by-product of muscle loading. The idea is to load progressively with small increments to minimize the discomfort but maximize the results.
If you don’t use it, you will lose it
No loading means there is no need for the muscles to adapt and regression will begin with training gains lost.
If you are taking some time away from running and fitness, realize that you will lose a significant portion of your fitness fairly quickly, but your losses will taper off after several weeks, and you retain a portion of your initial fitness levels for a long time. When you return to your program, you will increase to the same level more quickly
You only need to watch Olympic marathon runners to see that everyone is built differently and there are many different running styles. Like our ideas on nutrition, the advice on style seems to have changed quite dramatically but the latest is there is no set perfect style. Some people are heel runners, some are toe runners and changing your style, particularly a lifelong habit, can lead to injuries. However a few fundamentals can still apply:
• Leaning back is like applying a hand brake so angle the body forward slightly
• Arms crossing midline will lead to over rotated shoulder movement and loss of efficiency so keep this cross over movement minimal
• Foot strike should always be under your centre of mass, not striding way in front or behind
• Some foot pronation (inward rolling of the foot) is necessary for shock absorption
• When running uphill, lean forward, don’t look up, run on forefoot, low knee lift, use arms
• When running downhill, lean forward, lengthen stride, land quietly on flat foot. Use arms for balance, run like a 3 year old!
• Wanting to run but getting injuries? You may need to see a bio mechanical physiotherapy (I am working on finding a new one after my guru left the country!)
• Getting niggles? Get a massage or do it yourself with a foam roller - I have plenty!
Energy Systems and fitness gains
It’s great to understand these systems so that you can understand why you are feeling a certain way when you begin to run (can’t breathe, can’t talk) and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (i.e. a comfortable aerobic state!)
There are 3 energy systems which we utilize depending on our levels of activity requirements, the first 2 being anaerobic (not requiring oxygen).
1. ATP/Phosphate for quick burst energy lasting less than 20 seconds or when we first accelerate into an exercise. Your body uses glycogen as its energy source. You have difficulty speaking when utilizing this system
2. Lactate System: Our back up burst system that can last up to 2 mins. Lactic acid is the by product of this system i.e. sore muscles. You can blurt out 3 words when utilizing this system
3. Aerobic System: used for sustained period of lower level exercise, the body is efficiently using oxygen for energy and can maintain this state almost indefinitely. In this system, you can hold a conversation easily
We utilize all 3 systems all of the time, but for improvements in speed and stamina, we need to try to lengthen the time we can tolerate the first level, hence longer short burst periods
Flexibility - how important is it?
Important for range of movement but can be counterproductive to power
How does this translate to our HIIT sessions?
The aim of sessions will remain the same: to condition the body, improve coordination (you may notice new and increased drills), improve core strength (for injury prevention, balance) and improve flexibility and range of movement
Let me know if a running/endurance event is your goal and we will together design a program to suit your needs