It wouldn't surprise me if the athletes I coach question whether I'm a running coach or a resting coach, and that doesn't bother me in the slightest. I harp on and on about the need to rest and recover, both within training cycles and post-/pre- training cycles, and there's a reason I do - training is the total of your work and rest. You can train like a machine, but if you don't allow your body to rest and adapt, you will never perform at your peak. It just won't happen.
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With the weekend right around the corner, I wanted to pass on my three tips for getting the most out of your weekend run. To preface the three tips, my weekend run/s is/are usually long runs with a focus on time-on-feet – but that’s not to say these tips don’t carry over to any run.
- Warm-up and Cool-down (WU and CD) // Nothing ground-breaking here, but how many of you get up on a Saturday morning and head down to your local parkrun, jump out of the car and belt out a quick 5km, before heading straight across the street for a coffee? More than a few of you I’m guessing. A WU/CD doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just 10-15mins of light jogging for a runner is usually enough to help the body make the switch from “running the body systems” to “running”. If you’re doing a long-run it’s even easier as the WU and CD can just be 15mins of gradually increasing pace until you reach your long run pace. For the record – static stretching IS NOT an adequate WU!
- Help your body recover // The weekend usually brings with it a little more time. Use it to your running advantage by making recovery a focus – spend some time with the foam roller, get a massage, cook some wholesome meals for the rest of the week. A weekend of active recovery doesn’t make up for a working week of crap, but it’s a step in the right direction. After your weekend run is also the perfect time to do a body checklist – how is your body feeling? what feels good? what hurts or is tired? Take note of this and consider it when planning for the week ahead.
- Enjoy it // This can mean whatever it needs to – run with friends, run somewhere new, take some time out mid-run to appreciate your surroundings. The weekend run is the time when I work out the stresses of the preceding week – it shouldn’t be stressful or a chore. Take some time to ‘stop and smell the roses’ as they say.
How do you get the most out of your running weekend?
See you out there – Juddy
With many GC runners recovering from Round 3 of the Gold Coast Trail Running Series, I thought the timing was right to share my Top 3 running recovery tips. And for those readers who aren’t on the sunny Gold Coast, these tips are universal, and can be applied to both training and racing.
- Eat as soon as you can after. And I’m not talking pizza and beers (although, IMO, this is better than nothing!). Your post-run meal should be a well-balanced plate consisting of lean protein, low GI carbs and some healthy fats (avocado or coconut milk/cream are my faves). I’m not of the opinion you need to be downing a super-dense protein shake; rather a balanced (are you getting the picture yet?), healthy meal will tick most boxes. That said, if I’m running a trail in the middle of nowhere and know that I won’t be able to prepare or store a healthy meal, I will turn to a pre-mixed recovery drink (something with a mix of carbs and protein).
- Make you recovery active – get moving. I will always (well, almost always) get moving after a tough run session. If I run a race or a long run in the AM, I will try and go for an easy walk or a slow cycle later that afternoon. Similarly, if I go for a tough afternoon/evening run I will try and perform a recovery run the next morning. You’ll be surprised how much difference it makes getting the body moving again, rather than just sitting in front of the TV.
- Sleep more. Sleep is an athlete’s best friend, and yet with our busy lives we often miss this crucial component of fitness and health. Many of us (myself included) would benefit more from skipping an early morning training session to catch-up on some much needed shut-eye. Quality training sessions are one thing, but sleep is a highly underrated training tool!
See you out there – Juddy