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Summer running – having a blast


Summer running – having a blast

By Steve Manning, intraining Podiatrist, Coaching Director, Coach, Associate Lecturer QUT school of Podiatry

The running season is concluded and the marathons and halves are completed. Days are getting brighter (and Hotter). As the festive season approaches you may think that it is the perfect time to have a break from running.

Don’t do it! Consistency is the key to long term improvement. One season builds on the next and each training phase should be considered as a step up the ladder to stronger, easier running and faster times.

You should look at summer as an opportunity to change your training and racing focus. While you might want to cut back on the total kilometres you were running during the specific training phase you should not cut it out completely.

The heat of summer makes long runs particularly hard even if you are starting them at 4am. Perhaps it is better to change your focus from building endurance with kilometres to trying to get faster legs.

With the Intraining running program our speed sessions become shorter but we up the intensity. We also try and do speed sessions where the pacing and time is not important. This comes after pacing was the key to speed sessions during the specific phase.

But it can be hard to stay motivated and change your training unless you have a new goal to train for. I have 3 challenges for you to consider adding to your training plans over November to January.

Challenge 1: Improve your 5km Personal Best

When you are maxing out your mileage it can be hard to race a fast 5km. Marathon training is about the long runs so even if you are doing Parkruns regularly you will not be running them as hard as you might otherwise. Without the worry of an imminent long race you can really try to gun that 5km on Saturday morning. Try a few different strategies like doing the last kilometre or half faster. Try and go out hard and hang on. Run without a watch and just try and run hard all the way. You might just surprise yourself with a 5km PB.

Challenge 2: Try a track race

Track races are open to any runner but often people are put off because they think you have to be fast to run on the track. In fact the Qld Masters hold regular track meets on Saturday mornings and on some nights during the week. Qld Athletics also holds track races and some are graded and open to runners of different abilities. The 1500M classic is at the UQ track on 1st November, the state 5000M champs is on 17th November and the 1000M Qld Relay championships are on 24th November. All heaps of fun and an opportunity to get a “track” PB. The great thing about running on the track is that it is a consistent flat surface with great traction. That is a recipe for fast times.

Challenge 3: Do a trail race

It is always a bit cooler running under the trees. That makes some of the summer kilometres a bit more bearable. Another advantage of trail running is hills. Summer is the perfect time to work on your strength. Hill running is the best way to develop running strength that can carry you through the next marathon season uninjured. The strength also comes from the uneven surface adding variable stress to your muscles, ligaments and bones. Road running has a similar stress every step you take and you can end up becoming weak when an unaccustomed stress occurs. Trail running gives you a more wholistic strength that keeps on working right through the next season. Times don’t matter when you are just trying to get over the hills so it again gives you a break from worrying about your pace. Plus they are lots of fun.

So this summer rather than having a break from running why not do these three challenges so you can start next running season faster and stronger.