So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ask Coach: What Do I Need to Change To Stay Injury-Free?

I have been suffering from an overuse injury. What do I need to change to stay injury free?

Overuse injuries are caused by not listening to your body (or to your coach). You need to be smarter than your ego. You can do this by:

SETTING A GOAL that is specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, & time-specific (in this case, performance in a particular race). Every training plan, regardless of the author, begins with a specific end in mind (which, by the way, author Steven Covey says is the first habit of highly effective people).
DEVELOPING A PLAN once you have the goal set. This means walking backward from the target race week anywhere from 18 to 24 weeks; 18 for 5K, 24 for marathons. Divide the plan into four phases. The first phase, Foundation, is where you establish the training routine, with lots of easy (aerobic) pace running. The second phase is where you begin to work on the mechanics of faster running; learning to run as efficiently as possible with a minimum of stress. Phase three is where you begin to stress different energy systems (the anaerobic & ATP/CP) & begin to challenge yourself with hard(er) efforts. The final phase is where you take care of the final details which prepare you for that goal race.
FOLLOWING THE PLAN but adapt your training as necessary. When I talk about adaptation, usually I mean to the more kind & gentle…rarely, if ever, does a workout get ramped up in intensity. It’s more likely to be scaled down. If you’re beat-up, take a day off. I CANNOT OVERSTRESS THIS: IF YOU ARE BEAT-UP, SORE, OVER-TIRED OR INJURED, TAKE A DAY OFF.
RECOVERING FROM THE GOAL RACE (or any race, for that matter) is included. The rule of thumb is a day of no activity for every hour of racing, followed by a day of easy running for every mile of racing. A person who runs a 40-minute 10-kilometer race should take the next day off completely, followed by six days of easy running. If it’s the goal race, it’s time to set a new goal & develop a whole new training cycle from the beginning. Plugging in periods of easier running, active rest or complete rest altogether between training cycles will keep you from getting injured, & from getting burned out.
Specific goal-setting & laying out a plan in macro will keep you from going out & running on the wrong surfaces, or the wrong terrain, or at the wrong intensity for too long a period of time. Even if your race focus is on early September 5Ks, the first week of aerobic-paced running in an 18-week training cycle would commence this week.

I’ve been working on “plug & play” training plans which focus on specific distances, which I can adapt to the individual athlete’s personal schedule. Talk to me so I can help you fill in the details.

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