Feeling good, being uncomfortable and suffering

To me, the three choices a runner has when running a race or a hard workout is to feel good, be uncomfortable or suffer.

You can’t suffer in every workout or you’ll either get hurt or start the process of overtraining.  But don’t deceive yourself when it comes to races – you’re going to suffer if the goal is to run to your fitness level.  You might feel good through 3k of a 5k, but the next 1k is going to be tough and that last 1k you’ll suffer…if you run to your fitness level.

Learning to run fast when you’re uncomfortable is a skill that takes time, but it’s an essential skill if you want to reach your potential as a runner. [Read more…]

Podcast 013 – Mike Smith Interview

Mike Smith is a good friend and one of the biggest influences on my coaching.  Obviously you can go straight to the podcast and learn from him, but you might want to read this article he wrote for USATF on the concept of Building a Better Runner first, an article I’ve read and re-read many times.

He has worked with Olympians, NCAA DI Champions and NCAA DI record holders.  He also is one of the current instructors for USATF Level II Endurance.

Mike is the brains behind the Building a Better Runner series from RunningDVDs.com.

As always, you can listen to this podcast via iTunes.

Work on your Butt then get off your Butt

Quick story. I read a post on Vern Gambetta’s blog sometime in the last year where her criticized football players for doing core work on the ground, the thought being doing a plank or even a crunch isn’t useful when you play the game on your feet. Makes sense, right?

…and it also made me think, “yikes – I’m assigning the wrong training when we do some of our work on the ground.” With that in mind I give you the following two videos. The first video shows the Athena Routine (exercises listed at the end of the post) though you have to fast forward to the 4:40 mark. I like this routine and I think it’s a great thing for me to plug in after hard GS and before the flexibility stuff we’ll end the session with. But you’re on your butt for some of it and since you don’t run on your butt it begs the question, “Is it a waste of time?”

Let me ask you two things. How much did you run this week? How much GS did you do this week.

The answer for the second question is important. I just spent 5 minutes looking at the amount of GS Renee and Brent did from Jan 1st to Jan 7th, the last big week prior to the Houston Half Marathon. I didn’t count any of the work before the runs/workouts, i.e. the LM, LL, Myrtl Wall Drills (MWD) and the Aerobic Work Warm-Up; in the evening I didn’t count restorative things like Sleepytime. It’s a TON of time…and I was shocked by the number…and now that I’ve calculated it I think I’ll not share it here because if we run well in 4 months or 12 months or 60 months maybe Jan 2010 had something to do with it.  And the first question, “How much did you run this week?” is important because the more you move in the sagittal plane the more you need to work in the transverse and frontal planes…or at least that’s my view of sound running training.

But the point, even without the number, is simply this: Renee and Brent need to be on their butts so they can get off their butts; the trained hard for 5 years and 7 years respectively running hard and training well before working with me (not counting their HS training). That running training built their engine and while they didn’t lose all of their athleticism, they lost some, yet they can’t go back and get it 6 months. But now that I’ve worked with Brent for 5 months and Renee for 14 months they are ready to get off their butts and they’re ready for more single support (i.e. single leg) work. And that’s the point I’m making in the second video – Brent is now ready to get off his butt, but in my view of training he had to be on his butt for a while before he could get off his butt.

Athena Medicine Ball Routine (go to 4:40 mark)

Medicine Ball Work on Magnolia Road

Athena (MB rotational routine). Much if this is similar to Mike Smith’s Atlas Routine from Building a Better Runner Vol.2

1 Big Turns x 20
2 Long Snappers x 10 (aka Around the World)
3 Straight Arm Rotations x 10 (nice and gentle…no need to go fast)
4 Haybales x 10
5 Bent Arm Rotations x 10 (get into a rhythm, engage the core and be quick)
6 180º to 90º Toe touch x 20
7 Seated Swinging x 5 each way
8 Single Leg Scale, LMR x 6 on each leg
9 MB Clock – 9:00 to 3:00, 3:00 to 9:00 on each leg
10 Haybales x 10