Goal Setting

Setting goals is very important in all aspects in life including running.  Goals must be realistic, specific and attainable.

Many times people begin training and set very big goals.  Big goals are great. However, you cannot expect immediate gratification for these long term goals. We live in a society of instant gratification.  If you want something you order it online and it is there the next day. You don’t have to work for it. When you set big goals, you need to recognize they will take time and you will need to work for it.  It may take a months or even years to achieve a goal. You must commit and invest in the entire process.  You must be willing to do what others are not doing. Many endurance athletes spend their entire lives working towards a big goal. You must have the patients and be willing to make sacrifices for those goals.

 Are you willing to make sacrifices?

Do you get your run in when it has been a long day?

What drives you?

Running is not an instant gratification sport.  

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Why does it take so long to see results?

There are many physiological processes that go into training.  As you introduce a new stimulus to your body, it will take time for your body to adapt.  When your body makes adaptations, you become better/faster/stronger.  As your body adapts, you can increase the stimulus to go to the next level.  Everyone’s body is different. Some people adapt much quicker than others. It is important to not introduce more than one stimulus without allowing adaptation to occur. You should not increase your mileage and increase your intensity at the same time.  Too many new stimuli additions without your body’s adaptations could lead to injury.

It is also important to keep in mind that training must be progressive.  It is important to hit benchmarks to your goals along the way. In order to run a 4 hour marathon you must first be able to run low 1:50 for half marathon. It is important to work to develop speed in the shorter races in order to become most effective at longer distances races.
The longer you work at it and the more you invest the more rewarding it is to reach the pinnacle.  But remember there is always another mountain to climb.  No one said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.

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The Benefits of a ‘Cut Back’ Week

One of the most common training errors I see is the lack of cut back weeks. Sometimes I hear “Won’t I lose fitness?”. Absolutely not. Cut back weeks are a critical part of every training cycle.

How to incorporate cut back weeks

Athletes should have roughly 1 week with a 20-30% reduction in mileage every month. If you are running 50 miles per week, you should cut back to 35-40 miles per week. Along with a cut back week, should be a cut back long run. If you are at the level of running 90+ min long runs, I recommend cutting back the long run to less than 90 min at a minimum of 1 time per week.

Benefits of Cut Back Weeks

💥Allows glycogen storage to restore.

When you run for over 90 min, your glycogen storage start to get used. You don’t want to run out of this glycogen stuff. Why? Because once your glycogen stores have run out, your body begins to break down muscle proteins to provide energy and to maintain blood sugar levels. This means your body will break down your muscles to keep you running. This is not how we want to train our bodies. We want our bodies to fuel off fat and glycogen. When you allow these glycogen storages to restore, you get to keep your muscle and your body has the proper fuel to keep running 🙂

💥Reduces risk of overuse injuries.

Most injuries in running happen because of under-recovery. Many athletes do 2 workouts per week with a long run on the weekend. This is A LOT to ask of your body. When there is not adequate recovery time, fatigue starts to build and build. When fatigue compounds on top of additional fatigue, it can lead to chronic fatigue or scar tissue build up. Most injuries in running occur because there is not enough time for your body to recover. You want to take a cut back week BEFORE you feel like you ‘need’ one. This will allow you to stay fresh and completely avoid the pesky injuries or flare ups.

When you cut down the mileage, your body is not as ‘stressed’, so it allows muscles, nerves, bones and connective a chance to repair from the building weeks. This process only takes place to this when the body has a decrease in stress.

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💥Reduces mental and physical burn out by giving your immune system a chance to rest from the constant repair activities.

Let’s face it, running can be hard!  When we grind too hard for too long, we can get to a place where running becomes too much of a ‘routine’. We lose our fire for the sport. This is something we can to avoid. By placing a cut back week in training, we are switching up the daily routine, and we are creating a desire mentally to get back out there and a desire to run more. It’s like the only saying, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’.

When your body is training, it creates micro tears in the muscles which creates a small an inflammation response. This inflammation response requires your immune system to go in and repair the damage. When you have too much stress on the body, it takes a toll on your immune system. This is why if you are sick, it is important to take a break from training and allow your body’s immune system to take care of the illness instead of the muscle inflammation. By training through sickness, you are putting your immune system working on overtime!

💥Allows body to have better sleep cycles by brining your resting HR and adrenaline levels down.

When in a build period, your body is actually going through a period of ‘stress’. As a reaction to this stress, sometimes the body produces adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones can lead to interrupted sleep cycles. When we decrease the stress load, we allow our body a chance to destress and relax. This is important in training because it keeps our stress levels under control which will lead to better sleep cycles

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I hope you enjoy these tips. Yes, I am giving you permission to give your body a break once a month. You deserve it!

 

 

Tips to stay mentally tough during a run

Running is so much a mental sport. It can be just as important to train the mental part as the physical part. Putting a ton of pressure on a goal or specific paces can cause us to under perform because the pressure is too high!

Here are 4 tips to incorporate into your mental training:

1- Ignore the garmin

Pace based on how you are feeling instead of having the garmin dictate how you should feel at “x” pace. It is good to be internally focused on how you are feeling rather than externally focused on your garmin data. A few decades ago, garmins did not exist. Sometimes it is better to cover your watch. Your body is the best judge of pace.

Starring at your garmin during a race or workout can also cause a runner to ‘surge’ the pace. You might read a pace slightly slower then you want, so you speed up. Then your pace is slightly faster. These ‘surges’ will lead to a decrease in energy and performance. Let your body do it’s thing & check the garmin data after the race or workout 🙂

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2- Training Smart- Make Adjustments

Anytime you go on out the door, be ready and confident to give your best effort.  Giving your best effort does not always mean leaving everything out there every day. The two biggest focuses here are:

1- Training Smart

2- Digging deep when it counts

Some days our paces feel effortless. Somedays they feel harder. Ignore your garmin and put forth your best effort.

Other days, something might be ‘every off’. When you recognize that things are feeling ‘off’,  you can adjust the plan accordingly early on. Instead of forcing yourself to hit “X” pace even when it feels wrong, you can modify by moving the workout to another day. Part of training smart is allowing your body time to rest and recover and not forcing yourself to grind through a workout just because it was ‘on the schedule’.

3- Positive Self Talk/Expecting it to be hard

Racing and workouts are NEVER supposed to be easy or feel easy. Nothing about racing is comfortable. When it hurts and you are in pain, embrace it & understand that you are strong. You are ready for the pain!

Every day you race/workout, you can look in the mirror and say “this is going to be a really hard run, but I can handle it“. Let yourself know it’s going to be hard! Set yourself up for success by expecting it to be hard. Sometimes when it starts to get hard, we panic and think “if this feels hard then how am I going to do XYZ”. Don’t overthink it. You are capable. If your mind starts to doubt, your body will be unable to perform. You cannot let your mind control your body. Body is much more capable than the mind allows it to be.

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4- Read a Book/Self Reflect

What is really holding you back? Have you ever thought what is the event or reason for the negativity in your mind? I think we all have a different ‘dark place’ we go to in our minds when things get tough. Instead of letting that dark place victimize you, make it work for you. Use those negative events or ‘dark spots’ in your life/mind as fuel. Someone said something mean to you? Use it as fuel to show them how strong you are. Someone hurt you in your past? Take out your anger on your run!

If there is no enemy within the enemy outside can do you no harm.

Good Books:

1- You are a Bada$$

2- How bad do you want it

Hope these tips can help you can channel your inner strength