/ Basic running training - distance vs technique

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Stig - on 04 Jul 2014
Hi,

Been taking my running more seriously recently for the first time in the last few years and am quite pleased with my times so far and would like to push a bit more and see what I can do (and I'm incorrigibly competitive ;-)

My training time is very limited - I rarely run more than once in the week and often more like once a fortnight, with a park run every few weeks and a mid week race maybe every couple of months. Climbing is by far a bigger priority and I do a couple of rides a week as well.

Been flicking through a few books about running and I think I would like prefer to work more on technique to see improvement given the above and also as I feel I tend to get injured more with longer distances. In any case I only want to perform well at 5k (park runs); 5/6 mile road or trail races, and more occasional 10k s. Not sure I can even be bothered to do a half but wouldn't entirely rule it out.

So in terms of technique I was looking at front foot running/Evolution(?) - is this bobbins or worth looking into? I am completely ignorant about training techniques. All I know is to do basic speed work (not sure I do it right) and to just go out and stick to various pacings. Should I do more volume?

ow arm - on 04 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

I used to over stride which caused me lots of knee and calf pain, I now take shorter steps which also means that I land on the ball of the foot / midfoot rather than heel striking.
As for cycling its more importance to get the cadance right rather than just pushing it to the max each step. Shorter faster strides should also tire you out less and improve your technique if you are anything like me.
WolfBoy34 - on 05 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

Hi, form is a good place to start, dig out a site called Kinetic Revolution, lots of tips about form. Can be very interesting. Don't believe everything you read but it is interesting.

Some things which work for me, mid foot/forefoot strike, definitely. As has been mentioned, not over striding, standing tall when you run, being relaxed.

Running more often, but shorter distances, to build good form is a good way to go about it. And building distance gradually to build the strength and conditioning to tolerate more distance.

One thing which has helped me to reinforce, the shorter stride has been running with a metronome, set to 180bpm, which is regarded as being 'ideal'. The short stride and quick cadence gets ingrained in your system and feels very natural.

Hope that helps.
The New NickB - on 05 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

You should do more volume, if you don't want to run more than once a week, don't, but you won't see much improvement.
Stig - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to WolfBoy34: (and ow arm)

Thanks - that's the gist of what I had read: not over striding, not heel striking. Years ago my trainers always seemed to wear most at the heel (though that might have been as much from walking) - now I notice my trail shoes are going most on the outside-ish of the front foot.

I don't *feel* like I overstride, but its hard to tell without video etc. I don't know if this is really making a difference but I haven't had any of the injury problems I had when training for a marathon 6 years ago. I have had problems with ITBS in the past - but then I also rarely run on roads any more so that could be a factor too.

The cadence thing was what I was thinking of trying. As you say using a metronome to increase to 180bpm. I just think this would be an interesting experiment if nothing else. Increasing cadence also makes intuitive sense coming from cycling of course.

Re. volume: I'd be happy to increase volume in principle but it should be obvious why I'm a bit loathe to do more runs. Basically I could commit more but already juggle work, family, climbing and cycling not necessarily in that order. Running is great because I can go out at no notice when I'm feeling good and I think the advantage or running relatively infrequently is I get a natural taper effect when I do race.

Nick - if you added more runs per week would you prioritise volume or speed work to get faster 5k or 10k times?
tony on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

> Nick - if you added more runs per week would you prioritise volume or speed work to get faster 5k or 10k times?

Volume. If you're only running once a week, you're not really getting any benefit - you might get a bit fitter, but you won't get much faster. If you really want to be able to run better at 5k and 10 races, you should probably be running 3 times a week. Speed work on its own is a bit pointless.
DancingOnRock - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

> You should do more volume, if you don't want to run more than once a week, don't, but you won't see much improvement.

Yes. Volume.

Running once a week will get you nowhere. Just maintain your current level.

Get up an hour earlier and do a gentle 4mile run.
Mark Torrance on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

> and I think the advantage of running relatively infrequently is I get a natural taper effect when I do race.

I love this! I'm going to steal it.

tony on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:
> Running is great because I can go out at no notice when I'm feeling good and I think the advantage or running relatively infrequently is I get a natural taper effect when I do race.

You don't really need to taper for 5ks and 10ks.
Steff - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

I don't think it is possible to improve technique running once a week. You need a certain volume to get moving more efficiently. That's what volume does, it makes your stride better at the neuromuscular level. It's the same as with acquiring other skills, repetition is key.
Stig - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Ok I get the message! What is the aim of a gentle or steady run? Is it aerobic fitness or muscle strengthening or something else? I had sort of assumed that the cycling I do is fairly good for aerobic fitness - I tend to do hilly 20ish miles or 10 miles flat and steady as my bike commute, maybe twice a week - but maybe they don't transfer that well.

I *have* seen steady improvement in my park run times to date, as I say without specific training, but it's a bit hard to say what makes the difference: partly just trying harder, bit more running, generally a bit fitter than I used to be. I can understand of course that this improvement will tail off pretty rapidly as I get closer to my potential, hence thinking a bit more strategically. It was doing sub-20m in PR that prompted this, that time seemed fairly impossible to me when I did 20:45 (started out at over 22m)... I then managed 20:15 in the following one and then I thought I could do it. I'd like to do sub 40m 10k which again seems like a big challenge at the moment - holding 6:30 pace for 6 miles.

Sorry for the fairly clueless questions - I really don't know much about running training. Would doing a steady 10mile flat run as part of my commute benefit my 10k time?
Stig - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to tony:

Sorry, that was sort of a joke. I just meant the advantage is I never feel jaded when I run!
Mark Torrance on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:
> I really don't know much about running training.

Perhaps, but you are also really quite quick!

I think I'd want to know why you want better times. If you ran 40 miles per week and included some speed work, then you'd definitely bring those down quite substantially. You probably still wouldn't win anything, but your satisfaction would be like "I've put loads of effort into my training and I can feel really pleased with myself 'cause it shows in my times" i.e. the training is the thing.

However, if you improve your times without much effort then, apart from being able to brag about times (which you're clearly not into or you would have mentioned it in your first post) then I'm not sure what the point is. Maybe just enjoy park run and feel smug about the fact that you can come in the first ?15% based on all round fitness (and a bit of natural talent).
Post edited at 13:00
Stig - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Steff:

Thanks - that makes sense I hadn't really thought of it like that. I guess it's like engraining better efficiency. I can see why shorter runs wouldn't really do that.
Stig - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Mark Torrance:

Cheers - that sounds like the basis of a plan. 40miles sounds pretty intimidating but a clear message is to up the volume which I will try to do.

In terms of my motivation it is basically to set target times and then progress towards them - precisely as you say I like the journey and the analytical work - and the hard work - so the training approach appeals. It's exactly the same with climbing for me - I get a buzz from clear improvement and structured training. Problem is I am going backward in my climbing now as I don't have the time to put into proper training (for sport climbing) that I have in the recent past. Training for climbing was c. 4 short sessions a week and at least two outdoor trips.

The other thing is age (I'm not 31 I'm the wrong side of 36) - I want to see what I can do while I'm still relatively young and I wouldn't mind being more competitive with the 45+ guys who regularly beat me. I have considered joining a club for the social side and training advice but when I mentioned it to my wife she shot me daggers.

Finally, yes I am keen to do better in local club races/fell runs. No specific placing target and no certainly not to win. Maybe a few age category podiums when I become a vet??? ;-)
The New NickB - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

What times are you doing now? I always think V40 is as tough as Open, especially on the fells.
andy - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to The New NickB:
I think the OP said he'd run one sub-20 5k - to get an age group "podium" in 5k round here at V40 (or even V50) you'd need to be running solid sub-18, probably significantly quicker. A sub-40 10k would be nowhere either - sub-36 would be nearer the mark, I'd have thought.
WolfBoy34 - on 07 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

The cadence thing is dead interesting, I picked up a beeper metronome off amazon, seiko one I think, and it beeps at the right speed and I concentrate on picking up my feet to the beep. (if you time it so your foot lands to the beep it feels like you are landing heavy..) and it feels right. Well for me!

Can I also recommend some coaching? Just to get your form moving in the right direction. You sound like a fit lad, but having someone who knows there onions have a look can be interesting. I don't mean gait analysis, that has mostly been pretty ar*se, IMHO. But something like..

http://www.mountainrun.co.uk/natural-running-courses/

Someone who can analyse your whole body as running involves your whole kinetic chain.

It also sounds like you are pretty logical and analytical, I can understand the pushing to achieve thing, but to be honest, just enjoy it. Just run and enjoy the process and the experience and the places. Honestly the fun is what makes it worth doing :-)

mbh - on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

>>Finally, yes I am keen to do better in local club races/fell runs. No specific placing target and no certainly not to win. Maybe a few age category podiums when I become a vet???

The social side of joining a club attracted me too, but the time commitment always puts me off. Strava has been good for letting me see who is around, what they are doing, how much and how fast, while also allowing a little competition if I want it. It has been quite heartening to see myself near the top of leader boards on which almost everyone else is years younger than me, this on the back of lots of volume, lots of hills but not enough speed work.

Whatever you do, include enough of what you enjoy so you keep doing it.
The New NickB - on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to mbh:

I'm always interested when people state time commitment is a reason for not joining a club, unless work gets in the way, as it will today, I go to every club training session, but many members don't and I train much more with friends I've made at the club, but outside of designated club training sessions. There is no minimum time commitment to club membership, but if you find a club that is right for you, there are loads of advantages to membership.
The New NickB - on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

> Sorry for the fairly clueless questions - I really don't know much about running training. Would doing a steady 10mile flat run as part of my commute benefit my 10k time?

Something that worked for me was a fairly hard 10 miler, a couple of times a week, as part of the rest of my programme. I was focussing on distance, so did little speed work, the 10 miles were generally on hilly roads and at my target marathon pace. They did not improve my 5k times, but made me strong and meant I could run 10k at close to 5k pace.

Others would say I do too much running in the too fast / not fast enough zone.
mbh - on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to The New NickB:
Each to their own, I suppose, and I can see the benefits, which must be there or so many people wouldn't do it. i did feel somewhat the loner wen I turned up at a fell race last year and almost everyone else was in a club top. Perhaps, rather than the time commitment so much*, it is the loss of freedom that puts me off. I actually like mulling over in my head what I am going to do tonight, then changing my mind at the last minute, or even mid run. You can "meet" people through Strava too, and get running with them that way.

* although I also imagine that being in a club means putting something into it, like marshalling etc, as well as taking from it, and that would take extra time. That has put me off, because you can't do one without the other
Post edited at 08:48
Mark Torrance on 09 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

Sorry, I wasn't suggesting 40 miles per week as a target. You definitely see gains with less than that. My point was just that, ultimately, the satisfaction comes from having trained to run fast, not running fast per se.

Running with a club doesn't need to be time consuming. I get a good session in twice a week and on neither occasion do I need to be out of the house for more than 90 minutes (though it is very local).

Commuting-by-running works well for me, and costs no time at all. With a bit of creativity its surprisingly easy to amass good mileage.
Liam M - on 09 Jul 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Indeed, I didn't find improvement until I learnt to run slowly in training. By taking my average training pace from about 7.30/mile to 8.20+/mile I knocked about 80s off a 5k and 90s off a 10k over the course of a year that had barely moved in the previous three.

Earlier in the year, despite three months with only about four sessions faster than 8.30/mile pace I managed a 5k averaging 6.10 pace. I think easy running is the unglamorous answer for a lot who want speed improvement.
IainRUK - on 09 Jul 2014
In reply to Stig:

I'd ignore technique..

Just run more and your body will change its gait to what works best for you. I think short sprints/efforts (100-300m) are really good at that as well.

I run very forefoot, but I had heal/achilles issues for years in my teens so just ran on my toes and thats stayed.

Don't try to change your gait suddenly.. that just leads to injury's. If you are running in the 6 min miles then you probably have no real gait issues.

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