As we approach another RV Beginner’s Graduation course I am reflecting on the key stock phrases that I use as I stand before a group of nervous often frightened would be runners on Week 1.
Often in the vocabulary of new runners, and in my experience, it’s usually “running friends” that give them this vocabulary of
“you need to smash it” “you’re not a runner if you walk” “if you’re talking and running you’re not working hard enough” “why would you pay someone to learn how to run, you just run” “what’s your PB? Seriously, I could walk faster than that” “Oh I saw you out jogging”
I could go on, as I’ve heard most derogatory “myths” that have influenced people who would like to run, who would like to give it a go, but feel that they are not fast enough, good enough, built the right way or they aren’t crushing their PB week in week out so they either don’t do it or give up; and this goes for experienced runners as well as beginners.
Some of my well known phrases are “I want you to finish the session today feeling like you could have done more” “It’s ok to walk, we are at the start of our journey” “It’s ok to talk, we’re working on our aerobic system” “slow it down” “your training age is still very young”. And I’m sure you could think of a few more as well.
Before I was a coach, and up until recently, I have never been coached, I used to turn up to my running club week in week out and run as fast as I could, I was told I wasn’t working hard enough unless I was physically being sick at the end of a session and this school of thought was that this is what it took to be the best runner that anyone could be. This mindset couldn’t be more wrong, not only did this training impact my short term and long term goals but I was constantly exhausted and over trained.
Patience is a dirty word to most runners as there is this myth that you should run faster, run more miles and achieve your pb right NOW or even yesterday.
The problem with this way of thinking is that runners who do too much, too soon, too quickly (do you remember the terrible too’s?) can end up in the injury cycle which inhibits long term progress because for every two steps forward, you take one step back.
So back to my stock phrases;
Why should you walk?
Walking gives bones, muscles and tendons the foundations your body needs to become a runner without getting hurt. Walking puts the body through the same range of motion as running just with less impact. Having walking breaks can make the difference between being able to run for 20 mins or 60 mins.
Slow it down,
If one foot is off the ground, even if you think you could walk faster, it doesn’t matter, one foot off the ground is running!! The World Record for Race Walking is 37 mins so yes some people can walk faster than I can run but they have to keep both feet on the ground at all times.
Elite runners conduct 80% of their training at a low intensity level and 20% at a high intensity level. It works for them, they don’t “smash it” or finish every work out exhausted with PB after PB, they become skilled at learning when to train hard and when to train smart. Research has shown that “normal” runners fail to divide their training in the same way as the elite.
Surely we should be learning from the elite? this is one area that I get my coaching knowledge from and this is what I am passing onto you.
"Research has shown that when coaches wanted an effort level of 1.5 out of 10 from their runners in an easy session most of their runners ran at a level of 3.4. Conversely when coaches wanted an effort level of 8.2 from their runners on a hard session they only gave 6.2" Sound familiar?
With any training plan and it doesn’t matter if you’ve just graduated from the beginner’s or have been with RV for 4 years, when the run says easy then run easy, and I mean run easy, not out of breath, easy so that you feel you could run forever.
Enjoy it but when you need to train hard, then go for it, challenge yourself, run out of breath, see what it feels like, these hard sessions never last for very long but they are fun and spice up a training plan.
You can’t “smash it” on every run; you have to be where you are right NOW and not where you think you should be or ultimately where you want to be and that goes for everyone experienced and beginners alike.
Let’s follow in the footsteps of the elite, you never know what might happen and remember in RV world patience isn’t a dirty word ;)