Breathe easily, run faster, write freely and practise

I cannot overestimate the value of keeping a regular training diary in the weeks and months ahead

Posture is vital, so keep yourself tall and use your skeleton

Posture is vital, so keep yourself tall and use your skeleton

 

As we embark on Week 3 of our Stay on Track programme, I’m going to start with a little lecture. I see it all the time: people have great intentions of keeping a training diary, but never get the time to do it. By the time they put pen to paper, they have forgotten what runs they did and how they felt during and after them. I want to make certain that you have followed my advice from last week and made a start on it. Whether you log your runs online with our template on irishtimes.com/getrunning, or use your own paper or notebook version, I cannot overestimate its value in the weeks and months ahead. It may seem tedious, but a training diary helps so much with your running routine. Write all your nonrunning plans, dates and event between now and Week 8 into the training dairy and schedule your runs around your life.

In the training video this week, I explain some great ways to make your running feel easier. If you have taken part in our previous programmes, you will have seen how Chirunning techniques make your running more efficient and have less of an impact on your body.

One of the most important points of the technique is running posture and learning how to run tall. So many of us are slouched over when we are running. It’s important to remember to keep yourself tall and use your skeleton, core muscles and upper body to take pressure off your legs. As an added bonus, running tall will expand your lung capacity, so making your breathing easier.

The video explains the steps to getting your body into the correct position for efficient running. We show you how to take the pressure off the lower body and help you breathe easier and feel stronger. Try out the tips from the video and practise the technique when you are standing and walking, and then it will be more likely to happen when you are running.

It does take practice – and that’s what I want you to do in your midweek runs, run tall – but remember also to relax the shoulders, arms and legs when you are running. The only place you should really feel any slight tension is in the core muscles.

This week we try out a new approach to speed in our runs. Scattered throughout the midweek runs, there will be some faster minutes. Varying the pace of the run will make your usual 30-minute route more interesting and a little bit more challenging. The change of pace adds so much to a run, challenging the body both physically and mentally, thus helping your body to get fitter more quickly. Your body will be using the slower sections to recover from the fast spurts. It’s up to you to decide on the faster pace, but even with a slight change in pace, this is really one of the best ways to improve your overall 5k pace.

Last week was the first week some of you tried picking up pace as you approach the end of your run. At first, it can be a shock to the system. Some people take off much too quickly, and then fade towards the end and lose confidence in their ability. If this happened to you, I would suggest bringing up the pace a little bit, slightly faster than you normally run, and even with that you will feel the difference in effort. Three minutes is a long time to run fast; you have to remember it’s not a sprint, just a gradual increase in pace.

This week we also share a bonus video to help with stretching. I know some of you are cutting corners on the stretching. Try playing the video at the end of your run and follow the instructions to help loosen out your muscles. From the lower back to the shins, legs and hips to shoulders, you will enjoy the few minutes of relaxing stretching at the end of each run.

With the added tips on posture and breathing, you will find your running starts to feel a little easier this week. In this week’s training plan we still run three times but add more variety to what we do in the runs. Enjoy the changes in the training plan. Check out your homework in the weekly email and on the website. Make a special effort to do the stretches, and you will be all set for Week 4 next week. Best of luck.

Get Running: Stay on Track is designed for people who can squeeze a 30- to 40-minute run into their busy life three times a week, but who needs a kickstart to get going, and support when they run out of excuses. To sign up to this, or to any of our running courses, see irishtimes.com/ getrunning. You can also keep up with us on facebook.com/irishtimesrunning, @IrishTimesRun and email us at fitness@irishtimes.com nOur next live Q&A with Mary Jennings will be on Monday, September 29th, from 5pm to 6pm. If you have any questions relating to running, please log in to irishtimes.com/getrunning then. You can email questions in advance to fitness@irishtimes.com, or tweet us using the hashtag #GetRunning, and we will answer them during the liveblog.

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