Running faster and better – coordination helps!

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When we think about running, keywords such as endurance, speed or strength often cross our minds. But one important piece of the mosaic for efficient and successful running is often forgotten: coordination.

Coordination refers to the interaction of certain muscle groups for the optimal utilization of available forces and is geared toward a resulting maximization of performance. Thus, coordination can help runners to channel the trained muscle power correctly and to achieve the highest possible speed with the smallest possible loss of energy. With better coordination you can economize your running style. Another goal of coordination training is injury prevention. The most beautiful and dynamic movement possible during running can help to prevent overstraining.

Now, how do you actually train coordination? For runners, running form drills are particularly suitable. Running form drills is the term we use to describe exercises in which certain parts of the running movement are more or less isolated and exaggerated. The aim is again to improve the interaction of the muscle groups needed for the various movements. In the following videos, multiple orienteering World champion and one of the best female mountain and trail runners in the world, will show you how:

Ankle drill

The basic exercise for your ankles. The whole movement in the ankle is important here. The ball of the foot hardly lifts off the ground. The heel is responsible for the whole movement from bottom to top and back again. A stable upper body is important. The hip should not move sideways and the pelvis should not tilt. Also focus on arm work.

Walk like a stork

The stork walk is the perfect basic exercise for more stability, good hip extension and conscious walking. Our showcase model, multiple orienteering world champion and active runner Judith Wyder, shows this exercise in two variations: 1) flat foot and 2) on the toes.

Pogo jumps

With this exercise you train a strong kick from the calves. The whole movement mainly comes from the lower legs. The knees are as straight as possible. The tips of the toes point upwards during the flight phase and provide an active pre-tension. Keep an upright posture during the whole execution of this exercise.

Butt kicks

Being a popular running drill, this exercise promotes an active knee stroke and a longer stride length while running. Make sure that the foot is pulled under the buttocks and that the knee is slightly raised in front of you. The faster the cadence, the better the exercise.

With this exercise you can also play around a little and change the rhythm at will. You can find an example of how to do this here.

Skipping

Make sure your body’s center of gravity remains upright and that the knee or thigh reaches the horizontal. Try to stay stable in the torso and use your arms. The higher the cadence and knee height, the harder and more effective the exercise. This exercise can also be varied like the butt kickers exercise for example with several repetitions in a row on the same side.

For advanced users, the knee lift-hopper run and the heel-knee lift combination exercise are also recommended.

Pogo jumps with knee drive

This exercise is quite demanding in that it requires high concentration for the correct timing. The legs land at the same time, but the left and right leg are lifted alternately. The main work comes from the calves. This exercise can be done in a first form with only slightly bent legs (towards the skipping position). Then the height of the skipping can slowly be increased. Make sure that the ground contact is as short as possible.

Straight leg bounds

During this running form drill, we generate propulsion below the body’s center of gravity. The effort comes from the buttocks, the rear thighs and during an active running step also from the calves. Run this way over a distance of about 20 meters and then bend the legs a little more from step to step until you are in a brisk pace with high knees and a high cadence. Keep the pace up for a few seconds and make sure you have good coordination! When you hear a kind of dragging of the shoes on the ground, you’re doing it perfectly.

Jumping jacks

Again, here goes an exercise that needs a little sense of rhythm and, depending on the situation, a little bit of mobility. The height of the leg can and should be adjusted individually. The leg should only be lifted to a height where the upper body is still stable and does not bend. Also, make sure the arms do not move and that the shoulders are relaxed. At first sight this exercise may not have much to do with running, but we promise you it does!

For this exercise, we present you two variations as well. On the one hand there is a variation in which the jumping jack is moved forward and sideways (Link DE) and on the other hand there is a variation in which the arms are moved in addition to the legs (propeller).

In your running.COACH training schedule, some of these exercises will be suggested to you on predefined days and displayed in the form of training videos. That way, you are provided with both ideas and clear instructions for exercises in the fields of strength, foot gymnastics, relaxation or stretching for your training.

Those who have not yet been convinced by the arguments of an economizing of the running style and injury prevention should at the latest let themselves be persuaded by the following: It makes your running look better! When was the last time you asked yourself who this worn and slumped creature with your starting number on their chest is supposed to be on your finisher photo? Right? Told you… 😉 So, let’s go!

Have fun trying it out!

 

Composed by: Marion Aebi (Content Manager), based on inputs from Gabriel Lombriser (running coach and running.COACH product manager)

Burning fat – but how?

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The ideal fat burning pace does not mean that you burn the most fat at that speed. Myths and facts about fat burning.

It is easier than you think: With slow trainings the economy of the fat metabolism is trained, with intensive and fast units most calories and therefore the most fat is burned in absolute terms. There are two different forms of training with two different objectives.

No weight loss without a negative energy balance

Let’s start with weight loss. If you want to reduce fat, you have to work on your energy balance. What you put into your body also has to go out again, otherwise the fat pads will swell out of the trousers. Unused calories are stored by the body as fat. The energy balance is therefore the decisive criterion for losing weight. Only when input (calories consumed with the diet) minus output (calories burned) is negative, i.e. the energy consumption is greater than the energy intake, only then do we lose weight.

One can increase the output with increased exercise or decrease the input with a cleverly planned diet. There are two starting points when it comes to contributing to weight loss through sports. Either you can try to burn as many calories as possible in a short time. The motto here is: Whoever wants to burn as many calories as possible also has to put in their maximum effort. Or one increases the duration of sports and adjusts the intensity to become able to sustain a pace for as long as possible, which is possible only with a middle intensity. Here, not predominantly the carbohydrates are needed for the energy supply, but – by means of oxygen – also fat is used.

In percentage terms, the less intense the physical activity, the more fat you burn. Therefore, this intensity level is often referred to as the “fat burning zone”. However, this only applies as a percentage, because due to the low total energy turnover, the absolute amount of burned fat in the fat burning area is still lower than when you are doing intensive trainings.

Fat metabolism for more economy

The training mode in the low “fat burning zone” has another special meaning in endurance sports. The burning of carbohydrates (= glycogen burning, sugar burning) provides about twice as much energy per time as the burning of fat, but the fats burn for much longer and are practically available without limit in the body. The glycogen reserves are only sufficient for a strain of about 90 minutes.

A regular training in the moderate fat metabolism zone is therefore the essential foundation the other trainings can be built on. In addition, less intensive training sessions require less regeneration time and can be repeated more often.

By accessing the fat metabolism, our body improves the more economical of the two main metabolic processes in endurance sports. This can protect the glycogen reserves, which are only available in limited quantities. With the fat metabolism, one can run for hours to days – with the glycogen metabolism in the best case one to two hours without refilling carbohydrates. The better the fat metabolism is trained, the more it helps to preserve the carbohydrates from the start and to maintain the desired speed longer at the end. And the less you will fall into that dreaded “bonk” from one moment to the next.

What are the benefits of metabolic training?

The training of fat metabolism makes sense not only for (marathon) runners, but for all endurance athletes who perform during long trainings. Cyclists and triathletes also explicitly train their fat metabolism during the preparation for the upcoming season. The longer the strain during competition, the more important it becomes. Fat metabolism training improves long-term endurance. The organism forms more blood in order to transport oxygen more efficiently, the number of energy power stations of the muscles (mitochondria) increases, so that the cells can gain energy even better. By adapting the organism, the body can process training strains more quickly. And last but not least, in addition to the muscles and blood, the cartilage surfaces, tendons and ligaments also develop, so that the training can be better coped with and is better protected against overloading.

When does metabolic training start?

The fat metabolism is demanded at almost all intensities. But only when the duration of the strain is long and the intensity is chosen to be low we can actually speak of a classic fat metabolism training. Long units from 60 up to 180 minutes (depending on your goals) should be planned once a week in running. In combination with other extensive endurance runs, this builds the necessary foundation. The extensive units are supplemented by intensive training in a ratio of 1:3. Every third extensive unit is followed by intensive training.

If you want to be successful, you should invest in fat metabolism training all year round. The positive thing about this is that these training sessions are not very intensive and are only challenging due to their long duration. In order to break through the monotony somewhat, it is recommended to do the long round with training colleagues or to do a new round every now and then.

Examples of fat metabolism trainings

  • Long jog: Long slow run up to 3 hours if the goal is to do a marathon. Otherwise you can also do “only” 80 minutes up to 2 hours. Motto: The slower, the better!
  • Long run: Long, brisk run (90% of the marathon speed) up to 3 hours or a maximum of 38 kilometers in the specific preparation for a marathon. In the case of shorter distances up to 2 hours or a maximum of 28 kilometers.
  • Cross-training: Long strains in one or more alternative sports with low intensity. Example: 3 hours cycling or 5 hours hiking. Ideally, a short running workout of 30-45 minutes is added at the end to enable the transfer to the target discipline (running).

The two metabolic systems fat metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism are always both involved in endurance strains, but not to the same extent. During intensive exercise, carbohydrate metabolism is primarily used; with increasing training duration and a lower pulse rate, fat metabolism makes up the largest proportion of the energy supply. Training in the ideal fat burning area does not mean burning a maximum of calories (more calories are burned during intensive training than during loose training) but improving the economy of the fat metabolism with low intensities so that it can also participate in the energy supply during more intensive training.

This blog post by Andreas Gonseth was provided by Fit for Life. Fit for Life is the Swiss magazine for fitness, running and endurance sports.

New Year’s Resolutions Light: Start 2019 with Joy

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Year after year… The year 2018 is about to end, 2019 is awaiting and everyone is shooting for the moon. People have their resolutions – fair enough. However, lots of them are unrealistic and almost impossible to achieve, which, eventually, only leads to frustration and despair. We therefore plead for less resolutions and more fun! We would here like to provide you with a couple of tips, which should spice up and facilitate your running routines without major effort. This should help you to switch focus to what you have achieved and to preserving it, instead of pursuing unrealistic goals. It is only as soon as you have managed this that you can go on to setting up new resolutions.

Run for fun

Due to all the planning, all our goals and stressful everyday lives, it is easy to forget why we run: for pleasure (at least, that’s what we hope)! Before training, try to consciously reflect on your personal motivation for running.

  • Is it moving out in nature and in the fresh air? Then enjoy it! Consciously breathe the air in and out, take in the surroundings in which you move and let the good feeling spread in your body.
  • Is it the tuning out of the stress in everyday life? When this everyday stress is especially present, we sometimes have trouble to switch it off. BUT: This is exactly when we need it the most! The time spent on running will be gone anyways, so, what’s the use in being concerned about time running away? Instead, try to consciously draw a line when tying your shoes and to tell yourself “this is a treat for myself”. We are convinced that, after this personal timeout, all the other stuff will be a bit easier, too.
  • Is it, after all, mostly knowing that it gets you closer to your goals? Then try to formulate that in a positive way: instead of always thinking where you want to go, you should also pat yourself on the back from time to time and look at how far you’ve come already.
  • Is it for other reasons? No matter what they are: keep reminding yourself of your personal motivation and formulate it positively, so that, even in 2018, you can say with conviction: I’ll keep on running!

Recovery

Even longer, even faster, even further… Runners have numerous goals. However, we often forget that progress only comes with recovery. We therefore encourage you to invest enough time in it. The following tips should help you with this:

Stretching

Yes, it is sometimes annoying if you have to take your time for stretching after training. I mean, really, you should do this and that, too. However, try to take your time for stretching 1-2x a week. It helps you to relax your muscles, to stay flexible and to recover more quickly. In our online running.COACH training plan, ideas for stretching exercises are displayed automatically. Here are two ideas, which may make it a bit easier for you:

  • Multitasking: You are desperate to check your Facebook and your Intagram, too? There is a journal article you have been wanting to read for a long time? One thing does not necessary exclude the other! There are a lot of stretching exercises which can be executed while reading or writing. Here you can find an example of such efficient stretching.
  • Music: You think it’s boring to just do stretching? Well then, spice it up with music! Compile your own playlist or listen to radio. Watching TV works, too, of course. For the jokers amongst you, we here have a refreshing example of a musical backdrop. (ATTENTION: For stretching after training, we normally recommend to keep the position for 20-30 seconds. More serious stretching tips can be found directly in our training plan.)

Blackroll

Another evergreen is the blackroll (or foam roller). It is used in order to massage and to unblock your muscular fascia. This can cause quite some pain at the beginning. However, you get used to the pain from time to time. In this video you can see how to use it the best way. Here, too, it might all become a lot more endurable with accompanying music or some other kind of entertainment. You don’t need to use it everyday! But aside from the 1-2x stretching, there would theoretically be around 1-2x a week left for the foam roller, wouldn’t there…? And if you fail to get used to the pain anyhow, then treat yourself with a massage from time to time. Pain gets more endurable if you don’t have to inflict it onto your body yourself.

Bath

Your muscles will thank you for it! Especially in winter, it can be nice to treat yourself with a warm bath after training, in order to get warm again. Okay, if you already have to cover stretching AND foam rolling, there is really no time for a bath. We understand that, of course. BUT: Just see it as a reward, which you give to yourself from time to time. For example, after an especially tough or an especially long session. You decide for yourself, how often this should be!

Running food

Running makes you hungry. Therefore, it is important that we always keep our energy storage well filled. What does well mean? For us, this means with wholesome, healthy and delicious food. However, in our everyday lives, it can be a challenge to find the time for coming up with new recipes all the time. We therefore recommend you the following:

  • Make a plan for the week! On the weekend, think about what you would like to eat the upcoming week. You don’t have to plan for each day, since this might possibly stress you too much. Pick the days on which you have the most time and plan certain running menus for those specific days. If you already know what you will be cooking later in the week, you can consider that in your shopping at the start of the week. These specific days for running food do not provide you with running food menus for a whole week, however, it should make it easier for you to get your own ideas. You could, for example, simply swap certain ingredients in a recipe with different ones and thereby create something new in no time.

You can find some ideas for recipes here:

Runner’s breakfast

Runner’s lunch

Runner’s dinner

Last but not least…

… stop comparing yourself to others! Your best friend runs at a lower average pace than you do? Your younger brother has started running later than you have, and still, he can already keep up with you? SO WHAT? There are always people who are faster than yourself. Except, maybe, if your name is Usain Bolt or Mo Farah. We can get inspired by those people, but we should not let ourselves get too wound up by it. Do you belong to the people who tend to start cursing themselves if someone runs past them? Then let us tell you: DON’T! Be proud of what you have achieved and focus on your own progress!

And now, we wish you the best possible start to 2019 and a Happy New Year! And don’t forget: Keep on running!

 

Running according to training plan: 10 reasons

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Fancy a new challenge? Maybe you already have a big running goal for 2019 in mind. You might want to master a certain distance. The finish of a certain run is important to you or you even want to reach a certain target time. Or you simply want to run regularly and – above all – in a structured way.

Whether you are a beginner or want to improve your personal best at running, we have training plans for all distances – from 5km to a marathon. Our training plan is now available in five languages. With our training philosophy, we have moved up to 100,000 runners in recent years and accompanied them on their way to achieving their goals.

“A GOAL WITHOUT A PLAN IS JUST A WISH.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

#run4goals – so tackle your goal. Are you already training according to a plan? Why does such a plan enrich your running training? With running training according to a specific training plan, you can improve your performance and become faster. But have you also considered that a training plan offers much more and can spice up your running training in various areas? We’ll show you the ten advantages of training according to plan.

Guidance in the confusion of advisors

The flood of tips and good advice in the running area is huge: Here a book, there an online article, there a Facebook contribution and not to forget the well-intentioned collegial advice. All this can be a bit too much, right? That’s why it makes sense to rely on a plan that gives you a red thread in your everyday training routine and is reliable.

Goal-oriented and individual training

A main goal cannot be reduced to a day X, but accompanies you in your preparation during weeks, months or even years. A training plan can be specifically tailored to a particular goal and accompanies you on your way to that goal. In order to end up at the starting line with the optimal conditions, the running units are specifically aligned to this goal as well as the individual conditions. Intermediate goals, for example in the form of test or preparation competitions, are small stages on the way to a big goal. At the beginning, a plan takes up the actual state – is individual – and then adapts to the changes over time. Accordingly, it is very dynamic.

Correct training areas and sequence

Often, you run in the same training area without a plan and, generally, too fast as well. Neither very slowly, nor very intensively, but at a medium speed and if possible still the same house round. Caught red-handed? The body gets used to this quite quickly and at some point no longer reacts to these training stimuli. Performance stagnates and progress stops. If you want to get ahead, you should train in different training areas (regenerative area, basic area, medium speed and intensive area), which use different energy systems. The distribution, the sequence and the dosage of the trainings play an important role. A good plan takes this into account.

Alternation

Such a running plan brings momentum and variety into your training. No week looks exactly the same as the other – there are more intensive and less intensive ones. In addition, there are also suggestions around the actual training: Warm-up exercises, tips for uphill and coordination runs as well as hill sprints, stability exercises and catering information. Individual units can also be practiced in alternative sports (cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, inline skating, aqua-fit, walking) at any time. Even for those, the plan specifies the appropriate duration.

Commitment and gentle pressure

Sometimes you just don’t feel like it and prefer to spend the evening on the couch – who hasn’t been there? But the plan accepts no excuses. Gentle pressure like that can’t hurt to get yourself ready for a workout. In retrospect, you’re usually happy about it. In addition, one also conducts trainings which one would otherwise perhaps do less gladly or never at all and postpone. From time to time, you have to leave the comfort zone if you want to get further.

Playing with the training data

Only for nerds? No, documenting your training and keeping statistics is also a kind of gimmick one likes to get involved with. With which running shoe did you cover how many kilometers? In which region did you train particularly often? How does the pulse rate behave during different training sessions? Do I reach a similar value at the anaerobic threshold (AT) in different competitions? How high is my VO2max? Where is my strength? How have I improved in the last six months? These and many other gadgets can be found in the training plan and in the statistics.

Motivation thanks to documentation

In the training plan, you continuously document the training data and thus have a direct and honest feedback, which is why is it more likely that you keep your focus. The data shows your own running history and the development over time. Small progresses and individual training successes are immediately visible, which motivates additionally. You can also see how much you have to work for achieving your goal. The goal guidance is realistic and therefore rather promising. Once you have low motivation, you can browse through the training documentation and see what you have trained and achieved so far.

Roll on the regeneration

Do you have trouble taking a break and tend to always want too much? The plan includes relaxation as well as the exercise load. Because regeneration is important in order to improve (super compensation) and not risk overtraining. From now on, it’s time to put your feet up and do nothing. After all, this is what the plan says.

Training plan and community as partners

Admittedly, running can also be a rather lonely affair. With the plan, however, you have an online “partner” with whom you are in exchange. Even better, one can also exchange oneself in the forum with like-minded people. And it’s just the truth: RUNNING CONNECTS. With the silver subscription, you have the opportunity to ask us two personal questions per month about your training.

Joy

Running is more than collecting kilometers. Running is versatile and consists of many different puzzle pieces. Running is a quality of life that can give you a lot of pleasure. With the right plan at your side, your goals will be achieved with joy.  Are you ready for all the running pleasure? We’ll be happy to assist you with it!

Until 31 October 2018, you can benefit from our silver promotion: The silver subscription is available at the price of the bronze subscription. This way to the SILVER PROMOTION.

"Back to basics" – Fitness and well-being in performance society

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Andreas Lanz is a personal trainer and the owner of TATKRAFT Creative Training in Bern. He has been supporting people on their way to a healthy and balanced way of life for years. In this interview, he talks with us about performance society, motivation problems and nutrition.
For many people, exercise is about their appearance. One wants to be slim or have well-defined muscles. You believe in a different approach, namely the one of a “functional body”. What is this about?
Today, fitness is often associated with a visible result. However, fitness is mainly concerned with health. No matter if 2-5kg heavier or lighter, it is much more important to have a functional body, than a perfect appearance. If you exercise regularly, a good body feeling will follow automatically. Exercising in order to comply with a certain body ideal often leads to one-sided training, which can make your body even more “unfunctional” than before. Of course, we also have clients with the goal to change their appearance, but, funnily, after 1-2 months, this goal often fades into the background. People realise that a good body feeling is a lot more important. Once they get a better feel for their body, this automatically pushes their self-confidence.

You have been doing this for 15 years. What kind of clients do you have?
Personal training is especially popular among people in middle to high managment positions – or generally among people who are very busy. The market for personal training is growing steadily, which might be due to the fact that people like to hand the responsibility for training over to someone else. Instead of a subscription at the fitness centre, which they never use anyways, they rather want a fixed time and someone who decides for them what to train. That way, they doubt less and they need less self-propulsion.
You write in your books that strength training with one’s own body weight is more efficient, or at least as effiecient as the one with machines.  Would you say that all the developments in the fitness world have been unnecessary?
Yes, for a large part of the population I would claim that they have. The body is a personal fitness studio, which provides you with everything. There are a lot of exercises with your own body weight, which are extremely challenging and with which you can trim yourself very fit, given that you have a bit of discipline. I am not completely against additional weights, professional athletes may even need those. Even machines have their justification, for example, for building up muscles in an isolated way after operations. However, machines are very “unfunctional”. One sits at the machine and pushes or pulls a weight in one or the other direction. But we sit enough in our every day lives already. Therefore, we should rather learn to move and to stabilise our bodies in any possible position. This is much more helpful in everyday life.

Also in terms of nutrition, the main message in your books is ” go back to basics”. What do you mean by that? What is the problem with today’s nutrition? 
In many countries today, people live in paradise. Within one square kilometre, you can find almost anything eatable on this planet. However, evolution moves slowly. For a long time, humans were hunters and collectors. We are simply not developed for a life in abundance yet. In addition, the nutrition industry is especially interested in their own profit and they produce what people like: as simple and convenient foods as possible – most of them being enriched with sugar. At the same time, we have made something our main tool, which was originally designed for the purpose of relaxation: the chair. We sit constantly and we hardly work physically anymore. This discrepancy of less movement and a surplus of food cannot possibly work out well…
A surplus of sugar does not really speak in favour of smoothie diets either…
When I hear diet, I generally tend to walk backwards. We should not lead our bodies into starvation, which may result in a momentary weight loss, but for which we need to reward ourselves again shortly after. This is exactly what causes the famous yoyo-effect. Less calories make any peoples’ weight drop, this is no piece of art. The piece of art is to find a calorie balance for your own body, at which you neither lose nor gain weight, at which you feel good and you don’t feel tired, thirsty or hungry the whole time. However, this balance is very individual.
So, the solution is to orient to what people ate in earlier days?
I always say: you can eat anything. The dose makes the poison! You may treat yourself with some chocolate or a slice of cream cake once in a while. But you have to be aware of the fact that this is enjoyment and that it has nothing to do with nutrition. As a rule, I think about what we ate in this region about 150 years ago. For example, vegetables or meat from the region – however, not too much meat. People occasionally ate meat on a Sunday maybe. Also, there was no overflow of sugar. It is important to always consume food with a certain mindfulness, to watch yourself and to observe what actually happens to you while eating. This is better than listening to what “people” say. Because “people” are not you!
A lot of people start exercising, but they often quit soon afters. Do we have a lack in energy in today’s performance society?
Yes, this is certainly true! Life in the 21th Century has become tough and society makes high demands on us. The question is: What is more important to me, the demands of society or my own life? I keep noticing that people hide behind excuses. “Before you exercise, you first need to recover from the tough everyday life”, people say, for example. Or people blame their bosses, since they allegedly overcharge them. In theory, we all want the same, and we also have as much scientific knowledge as ever before. However, many people fail to realise these goals in practice. You need to have a certain degree of self descipline and you need to take responsibility for yourself if you want to take care of your health. But many people prefer to look for someone who solves their problems for them.

We in running.COACH try to be a support for runners with our individual training schedules. But still, we often get asked by people how they should motivate themselves.
It can help to make the gear ready already the evening before. That way, you start before you can even realise that you are not motivated. Secondly, for runners, having a running partner may be very useful. Once one person is more motivated, once the other. And if someone is waiting for you, you don’t normally stand that person up. What I keep doing for myself, and what I know many professional athletes do, is to keep the focus on my goal. This does not have to be keeping up with Daniela Ryf in a marathon. It can simply be to feel good during the day or to become more resistant to illnesses or stress. If you don’t have a WHY, it is difficult to follow through with something over a longer period of time.
This all sounds rather rational and target-oriented, although we just talked about mindfulness and being sensitive to what your own body tells you. When would you say it is ok not to train?
Motivation is always target-oriented. But if we are mindful, we can feel when training is good for our body and when it is not. This has nothing to do with making excuses, but with honest self-perception. Especially with runners, I have often observed that they keep training regardless of pain or tiredness – out of fear of losing their shape. This often results in visits at the physiotherapist’s. Discipline is also listening to how you feel and what your body needs. I therefore consider minduflness to be a crucial part of physical fitness.
How did you arrive at all of these insights? Have you always seen things this way or did you fight with similar problems to the ones of your clients?
I practised Swiss wrestling on a high level for 15 years, and I have also done judo and bobsleighing as a pusher. At that time, people didn’t know as much about training as today. I have often trained the wrong way, I have exceeded my limits and I have been slowed down by injuries. I thought, it is unnecessary for others to make the same mistakes. On the other hand, I have always liked experimenting. I once I had myself run into an overtraining on purpose, in order to see what that feels like. I do not recommend this to anyone! During my 15 years as a personal trainer I have noticed over and over again: People are constantly at their limits, until they do not feel themselves anymore. I have read lots of books and I have educated myself about these topics. In my books, I present my own view on these issues and I try to give people the easiest tools possible to facilitate their everyday life. As soon as one takes responsibility for oneself and has some discipline, one can get quite far with a little effort.
Thank you, Andreas, for this interesting interview and we wish you all the best for the future!

Andreas Lanz is the owner and manager of the enterprise TATKRAFT Creative Training, which, in addition to personal training on all levels, also focuses on consultations in the fields of nutrition, health and well-being. Furthermore, he has published the books “Das AWL-Prinzip” (2013) and “Der Powereffekt” (2018). Andreas regularly gives talks in the fields of corporate fitness as a health counsellor and a motivator. On the website you can find more information about Andreas, about his team and about the philosophy of the company. 

This blog entry was written by: Marion Aebi

Training Secrets, Magic, and Tricks

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Here it is, everything you have been dying to know on how to get to that next level of performance. The secret is… CONSISTENT TRAINING.

Sorry! The truth is there are no quick fixes, tricks, or magic but there seems to be no shortage of products and techniques that are claiming to be the next best thing. As an athlete and a coach there are some “things” that make me cringe. In general you should not add any “thing” to your running workout. No masks, weights, tires, wacky diets, or anything. The reason being, as your coach I would rather see you have a good workout. Each workout has a purpose- the pace, distance, recovery and timing in your training cycle is all highly thought out. For most of you the primary training goal is to optimize your running efficiency and improve aerobic capacity. By adding gimmicks you are limiting the effectiveness, changing the energy system you are using from what was targeted, and potentially reducing the training benefit all together. When you break it down, does limiting your breathing or reducing your mobility during a run actually sound like a good idea? Resistance is one thing, strength and cross training have its place, but impairing yourself is completely different.

Rant over. Focus on having good workouts week-after-week. There is no ONE workout that will break you through to the next level but you will have a break through after consistent work over a period of time.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” – Tim Notke

Neff_KatyHalf16_WR_BillBaumeyerThis blog post was written by Calum Neff, canadian born running.COACH gold coach in the U.S., 2:22h marathoner and Guinness world record holder for the fastest half marathon pushing a stroller in 1:11:27. Are you interested in a personal running coach? Click here.

Do’s and Don’ts for Beginners

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You are an absolute beginner who wants to take up running? Whatever drives you, there are some principles you should follow. If you stick to the do’s and don’ts below and if you are ready to invest some time and patience, it is very likely that your introduction into running will be successful. How to get started ? – We provide you with the answers by clarifying four important questions:

1. Why even torture yourself with regular running training?

The question of motivation is crucial. If you don’t see a reason to run, you won’t do it, at least not voluntarily. If you are still not convinced, here are some further arguments:

  • Running is fun.
  • Running brings joie de vivre.
  • Running is easy. It can be conducted anywhere.
  • Running changes your body sensation.
  • Running keeps you healthy.
  • Running is the easiest and the most efficient sport to train your heart and circulatory system with. Both heart and cardiovascular diseases are still the most common causes of death in the Western world. If you exercise regularly for at least 3×30 minutes a week, chances are good that you will live longer and that you will not depend on external assistance later on.
  • Running changes your mind. When running, you can relax and replenish your energy reserves.
  • ..because running is the most natural and most beautiful kind of movement that exists.
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If you respect some basic rules introduction into running will be successful © Oliver Farys

2. What do I need in order to run regularly?

If you are motivated and healthy, nothing more is required. However, in order for beginners to start successfully, it is of benefit if a couple of additional things are in place.

  • Patience and commitment. Although first signs of progress will manifest themselves rather soon, even in running you have to work for success.
  • Running is an eccentric sport. This means that you lift from and land on the ground, through which you have to cushion your body weight with every step. If you want to start running, it helps if you are not too overweight.
  • Individually customised running shoes. This minimises the risk of early stress fractures.
  • People running together with you. This is no duty. However, it is really helpful to have a fixed date with friends or with a running club. This makes it impossible for your baser instinct to prevent you from going.

3. Do’s: What should I bear in mind when taking up running?

Beginners are often overambitious and there is a risk of wanting too much. Especially beginners should be very aware of how they set up their training. Appropriate footwear, strength gymnastics and the necessary rest in between are further decisive points to be observed in order to be able to run free of complaints. So: Don’t go from 0 to 100. Start with small amounts. Later, increase first the training frequency. It is only as a second step that you should increase distance and as a third step that you may increase speed. Beginners should thus try to first run 3x 20min before they run 60min at once.

  • It cannot be stressed enough: Increase the amount of your running training slowly! The maximum is an increase of 10% per week.
  • Approach longer distances in combination with walking. For example, you could do your first 60min session in the following manner: 15‘ walking, 15‘ running, 15‘ walking, 15‘ running.
  • The right equipment is of great importance. Getting your shoes from a sports shop with adequate consultation as well as wearing sports socks are reasonable investments in your health.
  • Core strength and a stable leg axis are the basis for a smooth and efficient running style. Strength gymnastics with your own body weight are a part of running training.
Core strenght exercises should be an integral part of your training
Core strength exercises should be part of your running training

4. Dont’s: What should I avoid in any case?

The “don’ts” derive from the “do’s”. Following the Russian proverb “repetition is the mother of wisdom”, we are going to emphasise the most important points once again. As a beginner, avoid in any case:

  • increasing the amounts of running minutes or kilometers too rapidly
  • running too fast too early
  • running in too old or inappropriate footwear

Conclusion

The biggest danger lies in wanting too much too early. If you are a beginner, the best piece of advice we can give you is to start carefully and to focus on a relatively slow increase in both training amount and intensity. As an African proverb suggests correctly: grass doesn’t grow faster if you pull on it. Furthermore, it is essential that you vary your training and that you train your whole body. Running.COACH can help you with all of these points. Our beginners programme offers you a clearly structured, gradual buildup that supports you with your introduction. It is individual and dynamic like all training plans by running.COACH. The tips from our experts support you in your decisions. For each training session you will be provided with exercises for warm-up, stretching, running technique or strength so that you train your whole Body. This way, we guarantee that your will take up running successfully.
For beginners running.COACH is the ideal support, as it provides assistance in all relevant aspects.

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If you’re new to running, running.COACH makes sure to do the right thing

The Base Run – an Evergreen

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Base runs are the epitome of all training. Without that form of training you lack the basis required for any sort of competition. Base runs, as a basic form of training, provide the best preconditions for endurance performances. Why are base runs the most common, as well as the most important training method and what is there to keep in mind? Those are the questions to be investigated here.

If you want to be successful in running, you cannot skip base runs. First, base runs trigger certain physiological adaptations in your body. This enhances both your ability to perform, as well as the ability to recover, which empowers your body to actually cope with large amounts of training. Some of those physiological adaptations are:

  • Economisation of the cardiovascular functions
  • Optimisation of the aerobic metabolism
  • Optimisation of the lipid metabolism
  • Strengthening of the immune system

On a muscular level, base runs lead to better capillary action – that is, more small blood vessels to transport oxygen into the tissue, which makes the muscle work more efficiently in the future. To keep it short: base runs help you to optimise your running economy. That basically means a better performance with the same effort. And all of this at a relatively low risk for overloading or injuries.

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Base runs improve the capillary network

For all of the above reasons, base runs are the number one training method for all endurance athletes. The example of Emil Zatopek, who almost exclusively applied the interval method, is no exception. Some of his intervals the Czech ran so slowly that one could consider them base runs as well. With his new training method, he was ahead of his time, being one of the first long distance runners to use the interval method in addition to sheer training quantity. He realised that base runs would not suffice to make you faster. Since then, training methods have been developed decisively. Base runs and intervals are used alternately – we recommend a ratio of 3:1. Zatopek, the “Czech locomotive“, is also a great example of something crucial concerning training in general – and base runs especially: variety is key.

In terms of base running, that means they should vary. Avoid running either the same loop, at the same speed, for the same duration or on the same surface all the time. Variation not only has a positive effect on your motivation, but also it is essential, in order to make progress in endurance training. It is important to prevent your training from getting too repetitive, otherwise there is a risk for stagnation. Why not try and run uphill for a change? That brings some variety into your training routines.

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Why not run uphill for a change?

Important with base runs, as well as with training in general: you need to have a plan. This especially applies for intensity. Base runs should be conducted consciously at a relatively slow pace. This is necessary in order to develop a solid base, on which intense training and the according performances in competitions can be built. Especially for beginners, this is crucial. Staying calm and strictly keeping to the low intensity on your base runs may not be as easy as it seems. In that case, having a plan gives you confidence, while variety protects you from excessive or wrong training and it makes your training more interesting. Furthermore, controlling your heart rate or your pace with help of a GPS device may help you to keep to the intensity you desire. Showing some class is to stay cool and to continue running at the given pace even when getting passed by a training mate who normally runs a lot more slowly.

In summary:

  • Base runs serve as a basis for further training.
  • Variety is a must!
  • We highly recommend you to follow the 3:1 ratio. For each interval session you should do three base runs.
  • Keeping to the given pace is essential. Running.COACH helps you with that by giving you precise, individual pace guidelines.
  • Have the courage to run slowly. It’s not in training the score gets settled, it’s in the competition!

Treadmill training for beginners

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You never ran on the treadmill but you want to give it a try? You should note the following.

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Running on treadmill should be learned

When you run on a treadmill for the first time, you should do an easy run to get used to it. In particular, you should be aware how to stop the treadmill by hitting “emergency stop” and how to get off in case of an emergency without falling off. The staff in the gym is happy to help; go get their advice. You should also be careful about the following:

  • Shoes: you can use as the same running shoes you use outdoors as long as they are clean (especially when you run in the gym). For fast workouts, a light and direct shoe is recommended. For long runs, you should rather wear a more comfortable model.
  • Clothing: you only need a shirt and shorts; more would be too much. A towel  is a must when running on a treadmill to be able to always wipe off the sweat.
  • Running technique: what is true for running outdoors is also true for running on the treadmill: try to run at a high cadence and land directly below or slightly in front of the body. Since you do not have to pay attention to traffic and surface, the treadmill suits very well to work on your running technique.
  • Lower energy consumption: you need less energy when running in place compared to running forward outdoors at the same pace. This is because  the treadmill’s moving carpet pulls your leg back. Outdoors, however, you use muscle strength to pull the body over your leg.
  • Missing  air resistance: when running on  the treadmill, there is no air resistance. Therefore, again: you need less energy on the treadmill for the same speed than  outdoors. When running on the treadmill at 8 km/h, it is  about 5% less and  at 14 km/h as much as  10% less. Moreover, the higher the speed, the bigger the energy savings compared to the same pace outdoors.
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Your running speed determines your choice of shoes
  • Gradient: the treadmill’s incline is usually set at 1%, at speeds  from 15 km/h even at  2%. This way, the same amount of energy is needed as running outdoors. Instead, you can do it without incline and run a little faster.
  • Distraction: running on the treadmill  requires a certain degree of concentration, especially at higher speeds.  Focus on your stride  and don’t let a TV or other factors distract you. If you are unfocused or don’t keep up the pace, you fly off at worst.

What is your experience of running on the treadmill?

This blog is provided by Fit for Life.  Fit for Life is Switzerland’s magazine  for fitness, running and endurance sports. Would you like to read such articles on a regular basis? Then click here.

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How often should you train?

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You should coordinate your training frequency with your previous training volume, your running goals, your ambitions, and, of course, with the rest of your life. Always remember that training and recovery go together and need to be in a healthy relationship. Moreover, be advised to gently increase the training frequency if you want to remain symptom-free. One additional session per week per semester is as good as it gets. Ideally, you do not increase overnight but gradually: do one additional run this week but run the usual 3 times, for example, next week. The following week, run 4 times again etc.

The table below should help you find your optimal training level. At the same time, you should absolutely keep working on the other fitness factors (strength, agility, speed, and coordination).

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Your performance varies, depending on how often you train.

Finally, you have certainly asked yourself how often you have to train to reach a specific goal time. The table below shows the number of training sessions that are required for a set marathon and 10km time.

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How often do you have to train to reach a specific goal time?

We are aware that there are always exceptions to the rule. Try it out and prove you can do better, if possible!

Keep on running!

Your running.COACH