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Jogging Group Tip of the Week - Running is Simple
Running is not something that is difficult to learn. It's not like tennis or golf. If we were trying to play golf for the first time, we'd probably lose about 30 golf balls. But we WILL run this week. We all know how to run. Just put one foot in front of the other. The challenge is doing that for a longer period of time. This training program is designed to steadily help us increase that running stamina.
There's nothing fancy about running. You just have to make a commitment to do it. One good piece of advice - pick a routine and stick to it if possible. Pick a certain time of day for your workout. Don't wait until after all your errands or "to do" items that day, because... you'll never get to it. For instance, do your run early in the morning or right when you get home from work. Don't wait! Likewise, try to pick the same days each week. Shoot for 3-4 days/week of exercise.
It helps to have a goal - like the Crazy 8's 8k in July, and the Eastman 10k in September. It's motivating. It also helps to have a group to help you through the workouts. Take advantage of your group leaders. They have lots of experience!
If you want to get faster in your road races, you should incorporate track workouts into your training routine. Many road racers don't like the track because it's brutally honest and often monotonous. But it's flat, round, and the surface is usually ideal for running. Therefore, no excuses!
The monotony of the track can be a beneficial thing. On the track, you're much more interested in your distance and time (i.e. pace) during your workout. This isn't the time to listen to the birds or gaze at the sunset. The lack of distractions on a track can allow you to focus on your task at hand. Just you, the track, and your watch.
The track not only trains you for faster leg turnover, but it also helps you learn how to pace. Many of us go out too quick in a road race, running the first mile much faster than we should and we end up struggling the remainder of the race. Once you establish a good feel for your pace (i.e. 8 min/mile) then you'll be more likely to run evenly throughout a race.
Track workouts also allow you to develop your ability to handle "oxygen debt". We all breathe a little faster when we jog. But speed training causes temporary periods when our bodies are consuming oxygen much faster than we're breathing it in. Our leg muscles complain by becoming heavy and sluggish. Our brains react to the low oxygen, causing our eyes and mind to feel like we're in a haze. When the interval is over we catch our breath and regain our senses. If we're lucky, our legs may almost return to their original state. But not likely! Repeating this series of effort & recuperation will train our muscles, heart, and lungs to work more efficiently in the future.