Marathon Training: Week 8

Self talk is useful

Duncan reckons he’s going mad,… talking to himself whilst training!


Well it turns out that it’s actually quite normal to talk to ourselves.


In fact, research shows that top achievers talk to themselves in a quite specific way, encouraging themselves with positive type of comments. And what’s more, it’s not just talk, there’s also the pictures they make in their mind, and other things they notice or feel such as reframing the effort of running up the hill as powerful, rather than painful.


I have a friend, Keith Murray, an awesome runner (and multisporter, he’s beaten me in the Coast to Coast and holds the fastest time). Keith revels in pushing himself very hard uphill. He re-defines the pain as enjoyable “pureness”. It’s different to the pain of a cut or injury, rather, it’s pure, self-induced, cleansing and refinement of his body, exercising the body as it’s naturally designed to do. He visualizes his body as a highly tuned machine that is going to transport him to victory in the next race.


Both Keith and Duncan talk to themselves, but the talk is proud and positive, encouraging themselves to keep up the good work.


Powerful, positive perspective

So it’s useful to notice what sort of self-talk we’ve got going on. Is it encouraging, positive type of talk? Early on in my sporting career, I used to find my self-talk was often critical, and negative. Things like “you idiot, why didn’t you get organized and go training before it got dark”.


The critical step is to notice the negative talk in a non-judgmental way, and then correct it to something like “well it’s interesting I was so negative about that, next time I’ll just remember to go out earlier and have more fun”. This simple change in my self-talk changed my entire attitude, which in turn made training more fun and powerful which of course got me more wins in my races.


Notice too how you talk to others in conversations about your running and training. Is it positive and excited about your new goal, perhaps in a child-like excited tone of voice? (Or do you often complain about things?)


Choose to go training

We may be currently challenged by the chilly winter climate, but we can always change the way we talk to ourselves, and the visuals and sensations we imagine. For example, instead I can clearly visualize next summer, and how good I will feel being fit again as the sunnier weather arrives, when once again I feel the warmth of the sun whilst out exercising.


We all find it motivational to visualize the benefits of our toned bodies as we emerge out of winter into summer, having done this schedule. This can only happen if we get out the door, making exercise an enjoyable habit, no matter what the conditions. In the words of Grahame Felton, “you don’t have to go training, choose to go training, because it needs to be done to achieve your goals


Determine your biochemisty

These may seem subtle and insignificant changes to make, but these simple adjustments to the way we represent in our head, determine the biochemistry that is generated in our bodies (eg different hormones and endorphins that are released), which directly affect the ease with which we do things, which directly affect the results we get. Results that can range between tight muscles and injuries, to record breaking performances, and anything in between.

What sort of results would you like to have, not just in your running goals, but in other important areas of life too?


And another way of thinking about it… people who think like this are much more fun to live with!


Week eight training schedule:

Thursday 7th Aug

45 minutes total, comprised of "accelerations" a little faster than last week.

  • 10 minutes warm up walk to a grassy jogging area (park or similar)

  • 5 minutes of "accelerations". Start with a fast walking pace, increase the pace one faster gear every minute until at the start of minute three you are jogging.

  • Keep increasing the jog pace slowly until you are jogging at a good old clip at the finish of 5 minutes.

  • Do a total of 6 accelerations

  • Warm down walk for 5 minutes

Friday 8th Aug

Rest day


Saturday 9th Aug

Time trial #5. Aim to beat last week's time.

Warm up 10 mins brisk walk or easy jog.

Warm down 10 mins walking.

Record your time.


Sunday 10th Aug

Long, easy walk. Between 90 minutes and 4 hours. Find an enjoyable track, take a wee backpack with 3 litres of water to drink, some food, a map, a raincoat, a hat, some gloves, and warm thermal layers, and a friend. Tell someone where you’re headed, check the weather forecast and have a back-up safety plan. Have some fun exploring!!


Monday 11th Aug

Rest day (optional swim or bike or yoga or gym 30 mins)


Tuesday 12th Aug

Jog 40 minutes at a medium pace on undulating, small hills


Wednesday 13th Aug

Walk / jog 43 minutes total as follows:

  1. 10 minutes easy jog warm-up, on the flat or hill, at talking pace.

  2. 5 minutes jog /run so that you’re breathing hard, (include a bit of a hill or stairs if available).

  3. 2 mins easy walk, recovery (could be back down the hill/stairs

  4. Repeat, (2) and (3) to a total of 4 times.

  5. Finish with 5 minutes warm down as easy walking, giving a total session time of 43 minutes

Thursday 14th Aug

45 minutes total, comprised of "accelerations", a little faster than last week:

  • 10 minutes warm up walk to a grassy jogging area (park or similar)

  • 5 minutes of accelerations. Start with a fast walking pace, increase the pace one faster gear every minute until at the start of minute 3 you are jogging.

  • Keep increasing the jog pace slowly until you are jogging at a good old clip at the finish of 5 minutes.

  • Do a total of 6 accelerations

  • Warm down walk for 5 minutes to finish the session


Stretches

Once we get jogging more you will probably find slight tightening of your calf muscles, the soleus and gastrocnemius.


Repetitive actions like running tend to gradually shorten muscles, so a moderate stretch is a good idea.


Do stretches after you are warmed up, or at the end of your session whilst you are still warm.


Don’t go into the pain zone with your stretching, just until you feel a healthy stretch. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds.


Gastrocnemius:

Find a sturdy object like a post or tree. (This stretch looks like you are pushing this object over, and you’ll probably get some “smart” comments).


Start by facing the post, and leaning against it, supporting yourself against it with your hands. Bit by bit, move your feet backwards, keeping your heels in contact with the ground, and knees straight. Keep your body in a straight line, hips forward and head/neck up and in line with your spine. You should feel that all of your weight is driving nice and straight down your spine and through your hips and legs to your heel. Keep your toes pointing straight forward, in line with your knees.


For more of a stretch move your feet further back, and push harder down through your heels, keeping your heels on the ground. Alternatively, you can stretch one leg at a time for more of a stretch.


Soleus:


Find a door edge, post or a curb. You will need shoes on.


Stand very close to the door-post/wall with your right foot toes up the wall or skirting board, approx 10 cm, so that the front of your foot is bent upward. Your heel is in flat contact with the floor, but your toes are in extreme dorsiflexion (lifted upward). Alternatively use a curb. Keep your toes pointing forward, in line with your knees. (Your left foot is supporting your weight a little behind the other foot). Next relax your right leg and allow your right knee to bend forward, very relaxed, toward the door post. As you sink into this position, you will feel a stretch deep in your calves, (the soleus muscle).


Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, swap legs and then repeat.

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