On an early morning in September we set out for our first coaching session. It was 6am, it was very dark and very cold, and Brian lives on a main road with no pavement. The idea was that at 6am there wouldn’t be much in the way of traffic, so we donned our reflective vests, luminous gloves, a light-up flashing water bottle, light-up flashing heel lights, and fully charged head torches.
Dressed up like fireflies, we set out.
The best place to start is walking. I reckon that walking is underrated in the running world. Walking at the start of a session is a brilliantly simple way of getting the blood circulating to all those muscles it needs to get to, it raises your heart rate gradually, and your brain switches on too. Even on a cold morning, see how quickly you get warm and energised!
We followed the walk with some dynamic stretches in a wooded lay-by where we could catch up on any niggles and chat through the session, whilst watching the dawn break and listening to the countryside wake up. We never missed this. It turned out to be a successful little routine that really got everything feeling flexible, alive and good to go.
Our first session was really to see what where our starting point was. Brian mentioned that he was already up to running 2 minutes, so that’s exactly where we started. “When you’re ready Brian, off you go!”
After 90 seconds he puffed out “Are we nearly there yet?”. (I’m not mocking, I think the same thing at some point in almost every run I do). We did of course get to the 2 minutes.
Here’s the thing. The real trick with endurance running and running for life is (mostly) to learn how to run more slowly. And the way to do THAT is to shorten your stride.
Try this at home…
Just try jogging gently up and down on the spot for a minute or two. When you’re ready, start to move forward, but keep that same gentle jogging motion. Easy.
And there you have it. My top tip for running a really long way. It’s tempting to break into a faster run, a different stride, and a pace which you can’t sustain for very long (just like being back on the school sports field). But if the aim is to keep going, this is a great tool you can use to reel yourself back in to that easy comfortable pace you can sustain and enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, 20% of training will be quicker, harder effort, longer strides etc. But for building up those long miles, go easy.
Brian has many passions, and one of them is rubbish. Specifically rubbish where there should be no rubbish. So our cool down walk included bagging every piece of trash from the hedgerows that we could find.
As I write this post, I can tell you that Brian has just completed his first TWELVE mile run. From a humble 2 minutes, at the age of 74, please feel free to be as impressed as I am.
He’s running the London Marathon to raise money for prostate cancer research which he believes is tragically underfunded.Please help in any way you can.
Come and run with us, it might just change your life.