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SFTC Summer Training Program: Training Tips - Week 4
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Jogging Group Tip of the Week - Injuries

If you are active in any sport you will invariably get injured.  Running is no exception.  In fact, injuries stop many well-intentioned prospective runner from progressing to the stage where they can run on a regular basis.  As we've said before, when you run, something is almost always going to hurt.  The trick is to identify when that pain is the result of the routine aches and pains from exerting yourself, or if it's truly an injury.

Most running injuries involve the foot, lower leg and ankle, knee, or sometimes the hip.  They're often caused by overtraining or doing too much too fast.  However, an injury can be caused by other things - less than ideal stride mechanics, worn out shoes, uneven road surfaces, or even something as simple as yard work (try bending over and digging for several hours and see what it does to your daily run!).  No matter what the cause, the treatment is usually pretty similar - rest and ice!

First, if you determine that you're slowly developing an injury, then take a day or two off.  It's a tough call, but if you have to err, be the side of conservatism.  It's better to take a day or two off than to risk weeks or months of recuperation.  Second, treat the injury with ice.  Usually the pain is coming from an inflammation in the muscle or tendon.  The first thing you have to do is get the inflammation down. Avoid the temptation to soak a painful area in warm or hot water. It might feel good, but it tends
to make the inflammation worse rather than better.  When in doubt - use ice!

A couple of ice tricks - if the problem is in the foot or lower leg, you might be able to fill a bucket with icy water and soak it for as long as you can stand it.  Ice it several times a day, even when it's not hurting. Another trick is to fill up a paper cup (Dixie cup) with water and put it in the freezer.  Once it freezes you can use it as an ice massage.  It works great!

Track Group Tip of the Week - On your mark, get SET...

Up until this week we've been concentrating on track workouts.  I'd like for us to put together all the ingredients for a complete weekly workout, which in turn are all the things you need for a fast race.  I call it SET - or Speed, Endurance, & Tempo.

Speed - you get speed from running faster.  That's what we're doing with the track workouts.  As we've talked about before, the track also helps with pace, stride mechanics, and mental toughness!

Endurance - you can only get this from running further.  Ideally, you should do a weekly run that is twice as long as your target race distance, but you can get by with running just a few miles beyond if that suits you better. Don't worry about your pace on the longer runs, just get through them. Remember, you are working on endurance, not speed.
Tempo - What the heck is a tempo run?  It's where you pick up your pace in the middle of a training run, probably somewhere around 10k race pace (actually a little slower), and hold it for an extended period of time.  I like to run about 2 miles easy as a warmup, then find a measured area and pick it up for 2 miles (tempo), and then jog the final mile or two of the run.  The tempo portion of your run should NOT be an all out effort, but it should be faster than your normal running pace.  The Greenbelt is ideal for a tempo since it's measured and flat.  The tempo helps you hold an increased heart rate longer and longer and avoids that dreadup buildup of lactic acid in your legs.

Combining SET - Speed + Endurance + Tempo into your weekly schedule will put together all the elements you will need for a race.  Any runs other than SET are for maintenance or "rest."  It's difficult to do SET on back-to-back days so you might want to schedule your week so you have easy days between your SET days.