There are 3 elements to running coaching which we help our members with.
Strategy is to do with pace. We have helped many people improve their PB just by learning how to pace themselves. Most people have no idea what pace they need to hold and how they can lose time later by going too quickly at the start.
Fitness is how your cardiovascular system copes with the demands of running so you can run further and faster with less effort.
There are many miles of blood vessels that make up your vascular network and delivering oxygenated blood to working muscles, while taking deoxygenated blood back to the lungs.
One element of fitness is how much blood your heart can pump per beat. This is known as your cardiac output. People who are very good at endurance type exercises, tend to have a good cardiac output, since your ability to sustain effort is directly linked to how well your heart can supply oxygen to working muscles and transport Co2 and waste products back around your body. Most unfit or people new to running will feel a lack of energy or a sudden feeling of fatigue when trying to exercise for longer periods and this will be one of the main reasons they want to give up.
As your heart gets better conditioned, exercise will feel easier.
So what’s going on? The left ventricle adapts by stretching (due to the demand placed on it during exercise) and in some cases becomes larger.
Your heart is a muscle. A larger muscle will tend to be able to pump more blood than a smaller one. This will create a lower resting heart rate since it needs to beat less due to the increased blood it is pumping out per beat. Your resting heart rate should be around 60. A trained heart will be in the 50s and an elite resting heart rate will be 40 or under.
If you are new to exercise, I would test your resting heart rate at the start of your programme and you should see it drop as your heart gets more conditioned. I always advise people to find any form of exercise to train this element of fitness. It doesn’t have to be running.
If you aren’t used to walking at pace, running will feel like a big leap up. So your route to becoming a runner always starts with walking briskly. Take regular walks that are fast enough to leave you out of breath. As a guide to intensity level you should be able to hold a conversation but need to remove a layer of clothing or get a slight sweat on.
Conditioning is to do with how your body resists the forces which impact the body when you run. This also includes technique which helps you to become more efficient when you run.
Most running programmes only look at running fitness and gradually increasing your distances.
The problem with plans that focus only on distance and fitness is progression is never perfectly linear for most people. Everyone goes on their own journey. Some get injured. Some can do more while others should do less. Also, neglecting conditioning is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Why is conditioning so important?
The amount of force generated when you run is roughly 2.5 x your body weight. This force goes somewhere and this is what either helps or hinders your running.
There is a science to running. Parabolic arcs. The path of your centre of mass moves. Gravity, centre of mass, foot strike and technique all contribute to the speed and efficiency of your running. For a more detailed explanation check this article out: Physics of Running
Poor running conditioning will inevitably lead to injury, since your weakest point will break down. Especially when you try to increase the distance you run. For many people, this tends to be your knees, hips or ankles. For some less fortunate people, it creeps up to their back.
If you aren’t disciplined to do a basic running conditioning programme lasting 8-12 weeks, then you really need to get to a group who will do this, before you decide to increase your volume of training.
Find out more about our Run Club