Monthly Archives: January 2013

From General to Specific: thinking through your yearly training plan

OK. Gut check time. a few weeks ago, I asked you to take a look at your past, and identify your performance limiters.  While both “Type A” and “Type B” training plans can be incredibly successful, even the most open minded Type B person takes a step back to look at their needs. After all, you’ll never reach your goal without a road map to guide you along the way.

To help you organize your road map, I’d like you to keep in mind a general plan: “from general to specific.” What does this mean? Well, if you are a cyclist, the best, most specific way to train leading up to your competition season is to pedal your bike…..often! But if you are 4 months out from your season, there are about a million other things you could be doing besides biking, that will still help you pedal well come competition season.

There’s no substitute for working hard, but there’s also no reason to work hard at the same thing. I know some of you say, “sure – I do this. I lift weights in the offseason.” Well, if you know anything about modern training theory, weights, plyometrics, and drills aren’t just for the off season (another topic for another time). When I say general, I’m not talking about all this kind of stuff. I’m talking about other kinds of stuff.

When you are 4 months out from race day, your body doesn’t really care if you did 2 hours on the trainer, or 2 hours XC skiing out in the woods. But your brain just might be a whole lot happier shushing though the snow covered trees instead of watching another 15 yr old Spinervals video. If you feel like going to a rock gym – go for it. The balance, coordination, and muscle stabilization you gain from rock climbing will improve areas of your body you never existed. And so what if you aren’t good at it? You aren’t a professional rock climber, its just something fun to do while you’ve got time, and all-cycling-all-the-time isn’t the sole focus of your day.

Me? I’m tackling my nemesis…..trying to ride my unicycle. Previously, its been successful at tacking me instead. But this is all supposed to be fun right? We do this stuff for a challenge. Repeat after me: “It’s January.” You know your friend who is putting in 20 hr training weeks right about now? He’s in for a massive blow-up come about June, and will be spending the peak of race season burt out and destroyed. So expand your skills and expand your mind. This winter, what are you doing to work on your “general?”

UVA Running Medicine 2013 – join us!

Calling all MD’s, PT’s, ATC’s – the premier Clinical Education event for Running-specific education is coming around again. Come celebrate our 10th year at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, this March 8th and 9th.

Although we’ve had many coaches and guru’s attend this event in the past, the aim is to enrich the minds of the clinicians who will be guiding your care as a runner. Dr Robert Wilder, Eric Magrum, and myself have been hard at work over the past ten – yes 10 years! – to assemble the brightest and most relevant content to help you perform.

This year’s keynote presentation features Dr. Rodger Kram from UC-Boulder. Dr Kram’s research, presentation style, and findings have made him a true authority. It’s tough to find a journal article on running that doesn’t cite his work. After seeing him speak many years ago, I had a paradigm shift in the way I thought about running injury and performance. And we’ve got a host of other excellent presentations from leaders in the field. You’ll be in for an exceptional treat. Brochure link is below – Hope to see you there!

RunMed2013

 

Think backwards to go forwards

So its the second week of the new year. Did your 19 New Year’s resolutions you had planned make it through week #1? This time of year, we all get caught in a trap: “Im going to do more base training, more speed work, more intervals, more weights, sleep more, eat healthier….the list goes on and on. While it would be great to have the luxury of time to make us all into training animals, we have this thing called life that gets in the way sometimes. And then a lot of us become discouraged when things don’t work out the way we planned, and we don’t achieve “more” of everything we set out to. Instead of doing “more” in 2013, let’s ask a simple question to help you do “better” in 2013.

Hard questions = best answers

When I work with a patient or athlete, I always discuss THEIR goals for the upcoming season. There really isn’t any right answer here – it may be to make the Olympic Trials, simply to PR at your half marathon, or just be able to get to the point where you can train consistently – your goals are your goals. My job is just to help you achieve them. After you tell me your goals, I ask one simple, but humbling question:  “what’s the biggest thing that stood in the way of your goals the past season?”

Ouch. This is typically the point where eyes roll back in your head. Every day you hit snooze and didn’t get up to train is flashing before your eyes. Why you didn’t dig deep for a finishing kick in your last race becomes more painful now than it did when you got passed with 50 feet to go. However, this question is not meant to punish you, its to get the the root of the problem. You don’t drive to grandma’s house aimlessly, you have directions and a plan to get to your destination. Training is the same thing.

Think backwards form your previous season. What went well? What were the defining workouts for you? Were you rested properly going into big races? How was your pacing? Did you do a good job of timing your weight sessions in relation to the rest of your workweek? Was your total volume of training time realistic with everything else you have going on in life? Did you pick the right races? Did you start oyur intinse training at the right time of the season? Wish you would have done more basework in the off season? Wish you would have taken more time off in the off-season to avoid burnout? What things stand out that didn’t go well? Were your goals too ambitious given your current life situation? If so, can other things be altered to allow you to train appropriately? Did you have fun?

Image

Note: this image is for figurative purposes only. If you see a lion in the mirror, you should probably run away.

This simple question can help you identify important things that often get lost in the shuffle. If you want to improve as an athlete, you need to train. Period. But your training should be focused for you, and “more” training is rarely the answer. Everyone wants to have some voice come along and say “just do this and you’ll achieve what you desire” Well, if you are honest with yourself, you’ll find that voice is you. With your limiters in front of you, you can now focus on specific ways to attack it. Looking backwards helps define where we need to move forward in 2013.

Looking ahead to 2013

20130102-135706.jpgSo it’s the New Year. As a reader, you’ve seen every blog out there flaunt their “top posts for 2012!”   Well, since there are less than 50 posts on this blog, making a “top 10 posts” post is a little ridiculous.

For writers, wordpress sends us these snazzy year end reports to see how you are fairing in the e-world. And one thing is interesting in my summary. While the reader base is still growing, the most popular posts on this blog aren’t new. In fact some of the most popular content on here is from last year. This means that people are coming to this site as a reference for quality information. Or it could mean that the “tight pants” video I linked from Jimmy Fallon turned everyone off…..

In any case, I’m not going to discuss the past, because there’s a search engine for that. But looking forward, what’s planned for 2013? More help for you.

  • Expanded Focus on Athletic skill: My book has been embraced by runners, but its also been embraced by non-runners. Every athlete needs to know how to keep their chassis in tune as they train their engine. Well rounded athletes recover faster from training stress, better prevent injury, and slow the effects of aging on your body. Better foundation = better performance. And a lot of it is just plain fun!
  • More content on other sports: Guess what? No one knows everything. Looking at other sports can help you learn more about other training strategies and tricks that may help you. And if you are a cyclist or swimmer, you’re really going to be happy looking forward. And we are even going to discuss weights, strength, speed, and power. We are going to make you better.
  • Current information: I’m speaking at 10 different conferences between now and August. I believe that knowledge shouldn’t stay in the hands of the teacher. I’ll be looking to post relevant new findings being spread around the conference circuit to help us all enrich our exchange of information.

Video: A word is a word. A picture is apparently worth a thousand. Well, sometimes words and pictures still aren;t worth as much as seeing something in realtime. Expect to see more video content on here.

So it’s the New Year. As a reader, you’ve seen every blog out there flaunt their “top posts for 2012!” Well, since there are less than 50 posts on this blog, making a “top 10 posts” post is a little ridiculous. But wordpress sends out these snazzy year end reports to authors letting them know how they are doing. And one thing is interesting in my summary. The most popular posts on this blog aren’t new. In fact some of the most popular content on here is from last year. This means that people are coming to this site as a reference for quality information. Or it could mean that the “tight pants” video I linked from Jimmy Fallon recently turned everyone off…..

In any case, I’m not going to discuss the past, because there’s a search engine for that. But looking forward, what’s planned for 2013? More help for you.

  • Expanded Focus on Athletic skill: My book has been embraced by runners, but its also been embraced by non-runners. Every athlete needs to know how to keep their chassis in tune as they train their engine. Well rounded athletes recover faster from training stress, better prevent injury, and slow the effects of aging on your body. Better foundation = better performance. And a lot of it is just plain fun!
  • More content on other sports: Guess what? No one knows everything. Looking at other sports can help you learn more about other training strategies and tricks that may help you. And if you are a cyclist or swimmer, you’re really going to be happy looking forward. We are even going to discuss weights, strength, speed, and power. We are going to make you better.
  • Current information: I’m speaking at 10 different conferences between now and August. I believe that knowledge shouldn’t stay in the hands of the teacher. I’ll be looking to post relevant new findings being spread around the conference circuit to help us all enrich our exchange of information.
  • Video: A word is a word. A picture is apparently worth a thousand. Well, sometimes words and pictures still aren;t worth as much as seeing something in realtime. Expect to see more video content on here. Warning: hair and make-up budget is zero dollars.

Here’s to getting out of your rut, and exploring your world – Happy New Year!!!

Runner’s World likes Anatomy for Runners…. now on Kindle

Call me a retro grouch. I got my first cell phone (kicking and screaming) in 2011. And I like having a book in hand to fold pages, highlight, and scribble. But I’m not the majority. People have been asking for the Kindle version, and its now live. And if you are nostalgic like me, the print version is still there as well.

And if you’d like to see what others are saying, Eliz@beth Maiuolo, a blogger for Runner’s World had a nice review of the book here.