Putting it all into practice

Ray SieveyWednesday, 18 January, 2012
Hello all, bit of a long blog this week and for me quite a serious one. I am sure you have gathered from mine and the other Spartans and GIRLS’ blogs, last Saturday’s Training day was very enlightening and I am sure that I speak for the others that we are all now doing a lot more than just ‘running’. I decided to have a little think about the information, knowledge and advice I have received over the past month or so and how this has had an effect on my training and me. These are not necessarily in any particular order of importance as I think they are all key components of successful marathon training. Gait analysisLet’s face it, most of us are not brave or mad enough to run bare footed like fellow Spartan, Justin, so due to the amount of time we are on our feet, the right footwear is very importance. I won’t go into the details of pronation, supination, heel striking etc here. But an effective Gait analysis will discover all these elements. I must admit that I have had Gait Analysis’ in the past at retailers (no names mentioned) where they literally ask you to run on a treadmill and that is it. When I went to Up and Running in Sevenoaks earlier in the month, I was asked to stand on one foot, walk with no shoes on, squat on one leg, the arches of my feet were looked at, all before I was even asked to ‘run on the treadmill’ Their conclusion was that I am a neutral runner and a mid to forefoot striker. PhysioAfter running my first 15K run in October last year, I began to have problems with my left hamstring. I rested and did numerous stretching. I have also been wearing compression shorts, but couldn’t get rid of the niggle. After spending 10 minutes with Paul of Physio & Therapy he identified the problem. The source of my problem is my glutes, too tight which in turn were putting pressure on my sciatic nerve. Paul has given me some stretching exercises and some nerve flossing (his words not mine) exercises to do and already the niggle is feeling better. As part of the bio-mechanical analysis that I had, Paul also confirmed that I am a neutral runner and mid to forefoot striker. I will be receiving his full report this week. It will probably be along the lines of ‘Ray, you are a lump and about a flexible as a mahogany sideboard’ StretchingI think most recreational/enthusiastic runners know the importance of stretching, yet I expect most do not spend anywhere enough time stretching. Also I must admit I have probably been doing it wrong for years. Stretching cold muscles before a run and also not holding stretches long enough. I am now taking a lot more time and effort to stretch properly after my runs and again I am definitely feeling the benefits, especially less soreness the day after long runs.In fact I have been getting some funny looks from my 2yo boy as I do my one legged squat flamingo impression or perform the stretches prescribed to me. He tries to join in and help by pushing and pulling my limbs, so whilst I do not think Paul’s job is in jeopardy just yet, this could be the start of a potential career for my boy. It has also helped his vocabulary, he already said “Daddy running” when I put on my running gear, but now he also says “Daddy stretching” when I start my routine. I think I will wait a while before I teach him to say “Daddy performing core strength exercises” Core strengtheningTo be honest I would have never considered core strengthening to be part of a marathon training programme, but after having a session with Nick & Phoebe (Runningwithus.com) and understanding the benefits, I am now reguarly doing planks, bridges, finger crushers to name a few. Variety of runningWhen I did my previous marathons in 1998 & 1999, I just went out and ran. Same pace, different distances and that was about it. Now I am doing long runs, recovery runs, progression runs, hill running and the tough one, threshold runs. In the past after a long run, if I ached the next day I would not run, now with a short recovery run, the legs feel a lot better. Sport SupplementsI think that most people has heard of Carbo loading. However, it was interesting to learn about how much carbs your body can actually digest per hour (especially important whilst running) and also the importance of actually replenishing after a run. So during my last two long runs, I have started taking the High5 energy gels. More than anything to make sure I can get on with them, as my long runs haven’t been too long yet. I have to say they are easy to consume, no water needed and no horrible sticky texture in your mouth afterwards. Well worth a try in my opinion. I am also making myself a 4:1 carb/protein drink after tough sessions to make sure I am refuelling. Conclusion So in my humble opinion, Make sure you have the right trainers, if you have a niggle, see a good physio and get it sorted quickly, vary your running, ensure that you stretch and work on your core, and make sure you are properly fuelled and refuel. You can only benefit from all of this! Now I know it is easy for me to say as I am getting this professional advice and service as part of Project 26.2. Maybe with the exception of physio & sports supplements, the rest is free. Even if you don’t have a personalised training plan, there is enough advice and plans that can be found in Men’s Running to ensure you have a complete and varied training plan. There is no guarantee that I will run a Sub4 marathon, but at least Project 26.2 and all the advice I have received is giving me the best possible chance. Quick review of my training for the past weekFor Monday my training plan had me scheduled for a 30-45 min recovery run. However as I had run further than planned and been on my feet for almost 2 and a half hours on the Sunday, I decided to just to do 20 mins as a bit of a loosener. Well the experts on the Training Day said to listen to your body, and as I am now a performance athlete! Tuesday was PWR (Petts Wood Runners) club night. Did just over six miles, the first 3 were a steady pace approx 10 min mile , but the last 3 miles the pace was upped a little, with a 8:51, 8:30 and then I went for it in the last mile and managed to put in a 7:10 min mile, definitely threshold pace for me. Wednesday I did some gym work and core strengthening. Thursday was a progression run, 15 mins easy, 15 steady and then 15 threshold. I managed to fall arse over tit early on (tree root) so there is now a large indentation on the pavement! Friday was a rest day. Saturday: When I went to my car at 08:30 in the morning to drive to the Bromley Parkrun, the thermometer registered -5. I thought my Sub4 running gear was in reference to my target marathon time, not the temperatures I would be running in! Anyway, by taking on-board the advice from Nick, I did a ‘proper’ 10-15 minute warm up, so I was primed from the off. I had forgotten to charge my Garmin, so I was running ‘on my own’ but I had consciously made a decision to go for a PB. Despite not having my watch to guide me, I managed a new 5k PB of 22:18 knocking a 1minute, 1 second of my previous best. Well chuffed! Sunday: I was out with Petts Wood Runners for a 11.6 mile easy run. A beautiful crisp morning and very picturesque as we ran through woodlands, across farmland and the edges of a golf course (all on public footpaths by the way). So that’s it from me for this week, normal service of me just making up random stuff will be resumed next week. The Hippo

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