Spring is coming! It’s just not quite as hot as we’d like it to be yet, but as the layers start to come off it feels amazing. This week we were discussing whether London Marathon will be warm next weekend, and how that’s going to be a shock for runners if it is. We were a reduced group again this week, as it’s still school holidays, but lots of the runners are working towards spring races – from 10K up to marathon.
Technique: leaning forward
When you run you should aim to be ever-so-slightly leaning forward. This is the most efficient way to run. After a slow one-mile jog to the beach, we started with some ankle mobility drills. We started really opening up our ankle joints, first with a short walk, then a jog. Think of folding your ankle joint so it opens and closes. We tried our grapevine (again!) as it helps with agility, coordination and flexibility – this week really stomping our front foot down, which helps you raise your front knee. This drill remains a work in progress! Finally, to help get a feel for how we should be leaning forward, we did some high knee drills in pairs. One person stood in front of their partner, hands on their shoulders, resisting them, while their partner did high knees as they pushed into the resistance. After a few metres, the resisting person steps away. This allows the person running to feel what it’s like to run at the right angle.
Intervals and tempo
The first part of the session was 4 x 1min at a fast pace. One of my runners, Sandra, said to me before we started that she hoped there would be a runner who wanted some company at the back as she was tired this week. She did three hours of training yesterday! By the time we had warmed up, she seemed pretty much on fire for a tired runner.
Sandra is the matriarch of the group. She keeps us all in order, and if you need any advice, whether it’s about sport or life, Sandra will probably have been there. She has years of experience, especially in multi-eventing, as she likes triathlon. She’s also a cancer survivor. Whenever I have any issues, I’ll always run down to the beach at the back of the group with Sandra, and ask her what she thinks. She’s both wise and balanced.
After our 4 x 1min of effort, we had a short recovery, and went straight into 8mins of tempo running, at roughly 10K pace. You can run these sections at the pace that suits you; as we ran out for half of the time, then turned, the fast runners got to chase down the slower ones on the way back.
Challenging our core
Now, obviously all my runners are fastidious about their strength and conditioning work, as they realise how essential it is to both improving, and injury prevention. Well…sometimes I’m not so sure they do their homework! So after our tempo stretch we hit the shingle for five minutes of core work, ending with a plank off (that finished with press-ups – young Beccy taking the plank princess crown today), straight into our final 4 x 1min efforts. I may have been shouting a bit during the strength section – only to encourage everyone to achieve their best, of course.
There were brilliant efforts from everyone today; we ended up back at our start point, which was perfect. Yes, there were a few groans during the core work, but sometimes it’s hard to know how you should express the love you feel for your coach. We finished off with our cool down jog back, then stretching. It’s so easy to go straight home and neglect your stretching, but it only takes a few minutes. Work through all your major muscle groups and use it as a chance to chat.
Did I mention Sandra is world champion for her age group in triathlon? Not only is she pushing the boundaries in her sport, refusing to reduce her training and constantly setting herself new goals, she often wins races. It’s all the inspiration any runner, or coach, could ever ask for.