The coming and going of a running coach that runs

Mental Health

Sometimes we forget that we have to watch our own mental health. It's really important to sit down and think about how you are feeling. Don't let thing go too far and talk. This is a nice take away by the English Institute of sport.

Believe in your preparation

Last weekend saw a return to championship running for most of our athletes and this Sunday sees  a second day out for a lot of our athletes after a long layoff due to Covid 19.

If you are prepared this isn't daunting, in-fact its very exciting. A young athlete told me the other day she can't wait for the hills and another said I'm just gonna go for it.

Good preparation gives you the confidence to make definite decisions, even when you are not sure of the outcome.

Always believe in your preparation  and what you can achieve.


What we are missing

I had the great opportunity to look at the Monaco Diamond league and it made me question what performances we are missing by the postponement of the Olympic Games. There were so many records broken, between World, Area and National that is was amazing to see athletes perform at the highest level.

I also wonder has it something to do with the release of pressure associate with performing at the highest level or just the opportunity to compete that has allowed the athlete the freedom to perform at this level.

What ever the answer, I’m really looking forward to Stockholm next week.

Keep the Faith

It’s been a while now since we had any certainty around training or racing. But it is more important than ever to keep the faith.

If you’re confined to your house or apartment its and excellent opportunity to improve your core strength and physical conditioning. You don’t need a huge amount of space or equipment. A 2 litre milk bottle can make an excellent 2kg kettlebell when its full of water.

My first trainer on my fitness instructors course always maintained you only need a couple of metres squared to have a full training session.

If you can get out like myself and can you 2km from your house its great and you really don’t have an excuse. It may not be as entertaining as you normally make your running but its only for a little while more.

The more we avoid people the less time it will take to get back to normalityand don’t forget to…

Keep the Faith!

Get your Baseline

We’ve had a busy two weekends of performance testing and I’ve really enjoyed talking to athletes about the importance of analysing your progress no matter what level you are at.

I have come to regard performance analysis as a key feature of my coaching. Whereas we all do it, through looking at our times, thinking about what happened within a race and how much we have improved in the gym, are just a couple of examples, but we don’t tend to record it.

Before you start dissecting your performance you need a baseline of where you are at this moment in time, and if you can take a baseline over a number of weeks then even better. A baseline will allow you to make informed opinions on where your training is. Whether you are using lactate testing in a lab or field tests for VO2max you need a starting point to record where you are and determine where you want to be. A 30min 5k runner will get as much benefit from doing this as a 15min 5k runner will get. Our ability is individual to ourselves but our ambition to improve is something we all have in common. This is just one way to do it.

This is only a brief rambling but there’s loads of info available and if you ever need advice just contact us and we will get back to you. Another great resource is Brianmac.co.uk, where you can find a large variety of tests that you can follow up on.


5 Common Running Mistakes (in no particular order)

Too Much, Too Soon

For many runners, when they become consistent, they see improvements very quickly. This then can cause them to increase their training (mileage) too quickly and start to overload themselves before their body has fully adapted to their training level. They can also start to race more than they should, entering 5k’s every week or twice a week and then jumping straight into a marathon too early. All of this can put a strain on the body and lead to injury.

Remember baby steps and plan your training to see the best results long-term.

Over-striding

Some runners think that a long stride  improves their running speed and efficiency. Unfortunately, this not the case. One problem with over-striding is, there too much impact on the heel on impact and the foot lands too far forward of the centre of gravity and in doing so it can cause a braking effect and put a lot of strain on the lower body.

Increasing your cadence to 180 steps per minute or above will help reduce the stride length. Placing some running drills in your warm-up can also be effective.

Not Drinking Enough

 Dehydration can cause cramps during running, increase your heart rate and severely reduce your performance during training and racing. A well hydrated body will perform and recover better. So, make sure you take on plenty of fluids, but not too much caffeine.  

Over-training

Over-training is a common name for what is really over-reaching. This can be a big problem for new and experienced runners. If you train at too high a load consistently over a long period of time, it will take its toll on your energy and immune system.

Increasing your training load/ mileage gradually and give yourself a rest day after a hard day and put an easy week into your schedule regularly, will help to prevent this.

Going out Too Fast

Going out too fat in your training or racing can ruin your day. Everyone hears about the runner that did the first half of race too quickly and suffered for the rest or lost a massive amount of time and didn’t reach their goal. This is a very avoidable problem that can easily frustrate the best of athletes.

By starting off at a pace that allows you to build into the race, you will have the energy and motivation to increase the speed and knock those seconds off.

It is as important in training as in racing, to pace yourself. By completing one or two intervals too quickly you increase the chance of not hitting the times later in the session and train the wrong energy system. This is also the case in your long and easy runs if you go out too fast, you are ruining the benefits of the run.

So, don’t forget to pull back when you must. Slower is often better.

Remedy All these errors are easily avoidable by following a good training program adapted to your ability. Don’t be afraid to talk to other runners and look for advice. Running is an evolving sport with training improving all the time. More is not always better and don’t forget to rest a weary body


When we last spoke I said I had a good cross country with no problems. Well that changed quickly when my good old injury flared up again. So a week off is called for.

As with all training programs it better to rest than to allow an injury develop and become serious enough to keep you out of the sport for a prolonged period of time. In the long run it pays off being adaptable. We can only improve through training and hard work, if we’re injured and not training we’ll never improve. The bonus of having a coach is that he will advise you to take a rest at the point before a full on injury occurs. But even without a coach it’s always important to listen to your body and don’t try to fool yourself into thinking things are alright.

First installment

So for my first chat, I'm going to talk about my continued return from a longterm injury. In 2015 I suffered from Pubis Osteitis and to make a long story short I have tried to return to competitive running on a number of occasions since then and for the last 5 months I've been building gradually to a point where I'm running 17:44min for 5km and have had nearly a full cross country season albeit without being anywhere near as competitive as I'd like to be.

Today saw another step in the right direction, by getting through a tough Leinster Masters Cross Country. It was a wet, very muddy, tough 6k course that really tested the strength of my body and the work I've been doing over the past few months. I didn't suffer any niggles which is really good considering the fact that I was physically exhausted afterwards.

The last time I ran this event was 4 years ago and I almost broke into the top ten this time I was mid 30's and the plan is to be challenging for a top 15 the next time I run it. For me my longterm goals are what dictate my shorterm goals and my year will be designed in such a way that I will be in condition to perform at the standard required.


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