The Daily Runner Blog: New shoes, showers and sprint training
So after much faffing, I have finally managed to get my act together and run into work – hey, we only moved offices nine weeks ago, what’s the rush?! I fondly imagined that I was a pretty dedicated runner, but oh boy – the excuses not to have come thick and fast this last couple of months.
Childcare drop-off, childcare pick-up, meeting first thing (can’t be sweaty), sore foot, toothache, the day’s got a ‘Y’ in it…but by far the biggest barrier of all has been that there is no shower at the new office, and when you come from a family of shower-obsessives as I do, that’s a problem. After dropping my fourth pleading missive into the suggestion box to no avail, I finally have accepted that a flannel and soap at the sink will have to do. And it did – I made it to my desk (reasonably) fresh and clean and can’t think for the life of me what I was making such a fuss about (#lifehack1: enough with the over-thinking).
The Richmond Half (http://www.richmondhalf.com) is March 22nd, so Browne at Equals Results (www.equalsresults.co.uk) has stepped up the training. I’m keen to get the miles under my belt but he reminds me that without strong legs I’ll be struggling to make the distance.
Sprint training (yuck) also boosts fitness to such a degree that it can shave minutes off your time – one of Browne’s trainers, Duane, knocked 10 minutes off his 10K time simply by supplementing his longer runs by sprinting up and down outside his house for 20 minutes a couple of times a week. ‘You get funny looks but you only need to spring flat-out for 10 seconds or so, with a minute recovery jog back to where you started, so theoretically you can do this anywhere you’ve got 100m of clear road,’ he says. Just watch out for wheelie bins (and your neighbours).
The other thing that makes a difference is kit. Full disclosure: those lovely people at Saucony (here) sent me a pair of trainers to try, and they’ve made so much difference. I’m normally to be found speeding (relative term) around woods in my oldest trainers because I can’t bear to get new shiny ones muddy, but on the road, the clever ‘powergrid’ cushioning under the heel really helps the miles peel by without feeling too hard on the legs.
And finally, I have rediscovered the enormous fitness benefits of the humble foam roller. They are all too easy to ignore in favour of more gentle stretches at the end of a workout, but dismiss them at your peril. ‘The massaging effect helps release the fascia tissue that connects and supports all the muscles in the body, helping it to cushion and disperse the impact high intensity activities such as running has on the body,’ says performance coach David Hastie (twentytwotraining.com). ‘It helps muscle recovery and overall performance so don’t skip it!’
Grit your teeth and get foaming, fellow runners – I asked David to show me how do this properly (slowly, focusing on rolling over knots and sore spots until they give up and beg for mercy) and my legs felt really good and loose afterwards. Didn’t try that in 50 Shades, now, did they?