Training Tips - "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger " said Friedrich Nietzsche & our Coach Dave!
As I write this the rain is pattering against my window. Oh great!
I have a run scheduled for this afternoon and the weather forecast is rain all day…
Do I still go out? Of course I do, I’m a runner!
For me the question has always been about “when” rather than “if” as my main consideration is always the length of time since I last ate. I try to leave at least two hours before I hit the road so that I have optimal energy for the run, rather than precious body resources being diverted to digest food.
As for the weather, that’s just something that has to be handled.
In my opinion tackling challenging weather, be it drizzle, raining like stair rods, tempest, sleet or even a heat wave – is a matter of what is going on in your head and what you put on your body.
So, what do you do when that seductive voice in your head is telling you to dump the session and treat it as an extra recovery day?
You should be asking yourself two questions at this point.
Firstly, what are the consequences of getting out and doing the session?
Secondly, what are the consequences of not completing it?
Doing the session, even if it is unpleasant, will be of more benefit than you realise. It will build up your mental and physical resilience. You’ll be able to say as you return home, “Hey I did it!” Even if you cut it short at least you got out! To triumph over adversity is so satisfying!
If you stay at home, you’ll feel guilty and you know you’ll put on at least a stone and add 30 seconds to your race pace!
That’s why hooking up with a training buddy is of massive benefit. You are under pressure to get out and turn up for fear of letting someone else down. Of course they are probably thinking the same thing so it creates a powerful dynamic to support you both in getting out.
The Right Gear
Once the nights draw in and the temperature drops into single figures, I abandon my shorts and vest and bring my other gear out of hibernation.
As Chris always says at our event seminars, you should dress for mile two onwards and these wise words certainly apply to your training gear for this time of the year.
My starting point is a base layer, preferably of merino wool. Short sleeved graduating to long sleeves if the conditions are colder or the run is a long one. This would be topped with a brightly coloured vest. There is no such thing as being too visible!
If slightly colder a technical t-shirt such as those handed out at the finish line of our events is ideal. All this will keep your core warm as toast and, most importantly, allow the moisture you create to escape. It’s for this reason I try to avoid waterproofs as they can trap the moisture in and you end up getting wet and uncomfortable after all.
I have to emphasise here though that it’s all about personal choice. It’s what works for the individual. There is so much kit out there that with luck you’ll find a brand which gives you just the right amount of protection, comfort and breathability. This could be a vital factor in you having the confidence to get out there in bleak conditions.
Also, some people swear by backpacks. These are very handy for long runs or if you are going off road and can be used to stow alternative gear to cope with changing conditions.
Running leggings keep the leg muscles warm and at their most efficient, though I must confess I find them a little restrictive and opt for shorts if I can get away with it. (Could be a bloke thing!) Gloves and neck warmer complete the ensemble. Neck warmers are very versatile because they can be used to protect your neck or folded to wear as headgear in a variety of nifty ways, that for me, provide just the right amount of insulation, as opposed to a wool/bobble hat that will make me feel red hot after a few miles.
Compression gear can be a divisive topic. Some people believe that exercising in compression garments creates less muscle vibration and reduces muscle fatigue, as they keep all your muscles efficient and focussed on the task. Another theory is that they aid blood flow by increasing the pressure in your muscles and squeezing improving circulation around your body, increasing delivery of oxygen to your muscles and clearing away waste products like lactic acid.
Something to consider and experiment with until you find what works for you.
Importantly though, a warm muscle is a happy, more efficient muscle and it will be less prone to injury.
The autumn and winter months will throw challenges at you. Embrace them because they will prepare you for race days with less favourable weather and are all part of the great adventure that is running.
And yes, I did manage to get out in the rain. A decent six mile session with efforts.
Now I’m soaking in a warm bath and feeling good.
It’s great being a runner!
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Charlie Hulson in 2018
Elizabeth Renondeau in 2021
|1st||Dean Howlett (Kirkby Milers AC)||1:36:19|
|2nd||Jonathan Kettle (North Wales Road Runners)||1:36:50|
|3rd||Tom Dunlop (Derwent AC Cockermouth)||1:37:27|
|1st||Elizabeth Rendondeau (Cheshire Dragons)||1:42:13|
|2nd||Lucy Tilston (Chester Road Runners)||1:52:33|
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