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.

The training weeks right after the marathon / main race

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The last weeks and months have been intense. The preparation for the competition took a lot of energy and time. Now the strains of the preparation are over as well as the sweat of your main competition has dried up. Your focus for the next days and weeks should now be on recovery which is just as important as the training itself. This blog post will guide you through an optimal recovery process and give you tips on how to motivate yourself anew.

Running competitions are a heavy burden on the body. Especially when it comes to longer distances such as an ultra-run, a marathon or a half marathon. During the competition you take up a debt on your own body, which you should pay back in the following days and weeks through various recovery measures. Otherwise, you run the risk of making a good return to training impossible.

What to do now?

Immediate actions on competition day:

recovery after marathon

  • Put on dry clothes as soon as possible to prevent your body from cooling down too quickly.
  • Try to restore your body’s fluid and energy balance as quickly as possible. Avoid alcohol, however, at least for the first few hours.
  • Don’t expose yourself to the sun unnecessarily.
  • Cooldown: Ideally, you should do a short cooldown to “cool down” your body slowly: a loose jogging or an alternative form of training such as cycling. Especially after a long competition, this might not always be your favourite activity. Still, concentrate at least on the points above.
  • An alternating hot/cold shower can also boost your blood circulation and promote recovery.
  • At many competitions, there is the possibility for a massage in the finish area. A feel-good massage, possibly with lymph drainage, stimulates recovery as well.
  • Later in the day, a little stretching can be beneficial.
  • Avoid intensive wellness and sauna directly after the competition.

Medium-term actions – the days after the competition:

after marathon recovery

  • Do not do any training in the first day after your main competition.
    Instead, work with regenerative measures.
  • A longer massage with a masseur or physiotherapist can be a good way to boost your recovery and relaxation.
  • Further, water in all its forms is a blessing and especially promotes recovery:
    • Sauna visits are beneficial indeed. They stimulate blood circulation
      and generally help to promote recovery.
    • A spa visit with a bubble bath pool or salt water is always fun.
    • Swimming or bathing in a lake (or even better in the sea) is a great away to boost relaxation.
  • Often, the most painful time is on the second day after the competition due to sore muscles. Rest assured, this is quite normal.
  • In addition to the points mentioned above, mental recovery is also important. Just do what you feel like doing without having to think about your next workout too much: How about dinner with friends soon?

Long-term actions:

  • Even now, a few days into the recovery process, it’s good to keep your blood circulation going (of course at a moderate level). If you feel fit again after a few days of recovery, you can initiate more active regeneration measures. This includes extensive movement in the water, loose spinning, walks, hikes (mainly uphill), etc.
  • However, see that you do not plan these trainings in advance. Instead, decide spontaneously whether you feel like it and have the energy to do it. It is extremely important to listen to your body during this phase. Note that planned trainings are more difficult to adjust than spontaneous decisions made on your desire and energy to move in a particular moment.
  • How about trying out something new? Yoga – for example – promotes flexibility and helps to eliminate imbalances, thus preventing injuries.
  • During the recovery phases, running.COACH will not plan any trainings for you for a certain period of time, exactly for the reason mentioned above. In principle, it is not forbidden to move. However, you should definitely listen to your body and take a break in case of tiredness or slight pain rather than taking any unnecessary risks.

My competition didn’t go the way I imagined it would. What can I change in the future?

  • We recommend bringing variation into your training routine by altering the number of workouts. This can be permanent or by consciously planning one week with one unit more and another week with one unit less. Example: 5 instead of 4 and then 3 instead of 4 units. You can drag and drop the units to other weeks in the calendar view, for example, or add units manually.
  • Make sure you can meet the guidelines of running.COACH. It is particularly important that you are able to perform the long jogs and the intensive runs (intervals, threshold runs) as often as possible every week. In case of a diary clash, it makes sense to postpone these key sessions to another day and to skip an endurance run or regeneration run instead.
  • Make sure to get enough rest during the training phase as well.
  • Consciously incorporate regenerative activities.
  • Set yourself new goals – These would ideally include goals you can tackle together with your friends!

Regeneration: do we really need recovery shakes?

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Different sports may require different qualities, be it strength, speed or endurance. However, one thing is the same for all of them: the need to refuel the body with the right nutrients at the right time after exercise in order to provide it with the preconditions for an optimal regeneration process.

In this article, sports and nutrition scientist Joëlle Flück explains which measures can be taken in order to recover from trainings or competitions as fast as possible.

Proteins

Proteins are the most important nutrients for our muscles. Consequently, sufficient supply of protein is crucial in the muscle building phase. However, also for regeneration after high intensity training or competitions, as well as for the healing of injuries, adequate supply of proteins is a necessity in order for our body to heal the damage that has been done to our muscles and to prepare itself for future stress. According to sports science literature, the estimates for the total daily need of protein are 1.2 to 2.0 g per kg of body weight per day. The protein sources taken in during the day should be of hight quality. Some of these protein sources are contained in dairy products, meat, soy products or eggs. Less explored up to this point are plant-based sources of protein. In order to support muscle protein synthesis optimally, to accelerate the regeneration of the muscles and to make our body adapt to the new stress, amounts of 15 to 25 g of protein within the first two hours after an intense training (e.g. strength training, intervals, etc.) or a competition are ideal. The current tendency is that dairy products should be preferred over other protein sources.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, as well as fatty acids, can be considered to be the fuel for our performances. If our storage (especially the carbohydrate storage) is not sufficiently filled before training or competitions, wer are not able to perform at our very best. Maximal and sub-maximal endurance performances are especially dependent on our carbohydrate storage (glycogen storage). After very long-lasting or very intense sessions, this storage is usually empty. Therefore, for optimal regeneration, carbohydrates are necessary to refill the storage and to prepare the body for the following challenges. However, the amount of carbohydrates needed for refilling the storages depends on the nature, the duration and the intensity of a session.

Liquid and salt

Depending on the kind of training and on the surroundings in which it takes place, our body loses more or less liquid and salt. In case it is not possible to take in enough liquid during a session or a competition, the result is a fluid deficiency, which needs to be solved afterwards, in order to keep your body balanced. You can calculate the extent of this deficiency here. In order to accelerate the regeneration process, it is important to solve this deficiency as soon as possible and to drink enough water after the session.

Point of time

Regeneration measures kan be taken immediately after training or competitions. Most of the times it is easier to take in the required nutrients via fluid rather than solid food. Especially during intense or long-lasting sessions, your gastrointestinal tract is impaired and it is recommendable to wait a moment before you eat solid food. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take in both nutrients and fluid within the first one to two hours after excercise. This applies especially if high muscle protein synthesis or fast regeneration (after competitions or high-intensity sessions) are of primary concern. However, if you only train 3-4 times a week, the time between the individual sessions is usually long enough for your carbohydrate storage to be refilled appropriately.

Food

You may ask yourself now what kind of food is adequate for a fast and smooth regeneration process. Possibilities are manifold, depending on individual needs and preferences. A simple chocolate milk works just as well as an industrually produced recovery drink. Both provide you with the proteins, carbohydrates and fluid needed in orderd to accelerate the regeneration process. However, if you don’t have any problems with your gastrointestinal tract after sessions and if your appetite is big enough, you can also start with solid food right away and complement that with sufficient amounts of fluid. A sandwich with cheese or dried meat, for example, is an excellent regeneration measure.

In conclusion, it can be mentioned that, depending on nature and goal of a training, some people might feel that a recovery drink is necessary, but that this does not apply equally for everybody. In case you prefer to go for a recovery drink, individual limitations (e.g. problems with the gastrointestinal tract, lacking appetite, allergies and intolerancies) or preferences (e.g. taste, fluid or thick) should be taken into account.

 

 

This blog entry was written by sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück. She works at the sports medical centre in Nottwil and supports athletes of all levels in sports and nutrition. In addition, she also conducts herself studies in sports nutrition  and she is the vice president of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society. Being a fromer middle distance runner, she has won inumerous medals in Swiss championships. Today, Joëlle focuses on longer distances. 

 

www.sport-medizin.ch

www.ssns.ch

Creative gifts for runners

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What makes runners especially happy on Christmas? Simple as that: Running equipment such as running clothes, running shoes or a running watch – the classics! We have put together a list of slightly more creative ideas for presents for running fanatics. Runners’ eyes will be shining on Christmas Eve!

RUNNING MEMORIES

Finisher shirts, medals, finisher photos and many other running souvenirs are a runner’s trophies and they are collected during the whole year. Finisher shirts are proudly worn the first training after the competition. Medals often end up in the corner where they act as dust collectors, while photos are stored digitally or maybe get shared on social media.

So why not let THE ONE especially nice running memory revive? For example in a pretty box, where a finisher medal can be nicely presented? A picture frame containing an action photo or maybe even a miniature photo album from the highlight of the year?

RUNNING INSPIRATION

Open your eyes and let yourself get inspired. Indeed, there are plenty of sources for inspiration out there (blogs, Facebook, Instagram). Sometimes, however, one might end up drowning in the stream of information and it can be a real challenge to distinguish the important from the unimportant.

Often, THE ONE, right reading is enough: A good quality magazine or a good book bring running inspiration for the new running year.

RUNNING TIME

By running time, we don’t mean the 35 minutes on 10k, but the time spent on running together. Why not give someone a voucher for running a competition or for conducting a training together?

It might sound banal, but if you are a little creative and pick a special place for the training or the competition and if you connect it with some trip (mountains, city trip), the present gets quite charming. Runners also get happy if their company acts as a supporter at the next running goal. All inclusive, of course: carrying baggage, dealing with pre-start nervousness, taking the tsunami of emotions, standing in line for toilets, wating (.. and waiting, and waiting), sharing moments of joy, massaging stinking feet – you may add to the list as you please.

MOTIVATION

Who doesn’t know it, one’s weaker self, happily coming by for a visit, especially during winter. Special motivation helps to get rid of this uninvited visitor.

Give away motivation in the form of new challenges, bringing variation into training: runing tools (miniband, foam roll), a running course, a trainining consultation or a video analysis. Another good motivator are personal messages like #AnnagoesMarathon, #RunDaddyRun, or whatever, which can be printed on drinking bottles, shirts or socks.

ENERGY

All the sweat-inducing training hours require energy, which, of course, need to be given back to the body in some way. We as runners always need something to eat after training. And who can resist the many treats, especially around Christmas?! However, you might want go for something more specific to running, like a gel, a bar or multivitamines.

Homemade food such as, for example, bars, müesli mixtures or energy balls, nicely wrapped up, make a good impression underneath the Christmas tree. Many enthusiastic runners also like to put on a cooking apron and thus, would probably also be very pleased by a nice cooking book or even a cooking course, don’t you think?

RECOVERY

A long running year is about to end, recovery is more than deserved and the body screams for wellness, massage and good food. The whole package can easily be booked as a nice arrangement in the form of a day trip or an overnight stay.

This works perfectly too, of course. And it might be even more appreciated if you give the massage yourself (think it through thoroughly beforehand though!) and cook a nice dinner at home. In order to spice it all up a little in terms of running, you might want to put the voucher into a pair of running socks – new ones, of course!

And if you want to go for the save option, just give a voucher for the running.COACH online training plan.

And in case you have other great ideas, please, feel free to leave a comment – we’re curious!

Compression socks – colourful, magic socks?

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Green, yellow, pink or blue: today, compression socks or stockings are available in almost every colour. However, their positive effect on performance is disputed. How much is real and how much is placebo?

Good for recovery

Although results in scientific studies are varied, one relatively clear common conclusion can be drawn from them: compression socks enhance recovery. Through the positive effect on blood-transporting vessels, they improve blood circulation, increase oxygen supply of the musculature and they improve venous backflow. This effect can be felt as long as you are moving, standing or sitting. As soon as you lie down, the principle doesn’t work anymore. Thus, compression socks can as well be taken off for sleeping. Furthermore, whole socks are more efficient than cuffs. However, probably, none of them makes you faster. Nevertheless, they have other positive effects, making you a popular sparring partner.

Higher running comfort

Compression socks can support tendons and ligaments similarly to the way bandages or tapes do. Also, they help preventing muscle vibrations, which can be obstructive for performance under certain circumstances. Light legs over inumerous kilometers may be the result.

Everbody can wear compression socks, as long as they feel comfortable. The only exception are people with progressed peripheral vascular disease or decompensated cardiac insufficiency.

This is a contribution by Dr. Rer. Nat Michael Schwarz. He works as a sports scientist and performance diagnostician at the Medbase sports medical centre in Zürich. This specialised centre for sports medicine coaches both team and individual athletes and offers a broad spectrum of performance tests, ranging from sports medical check-ups to sports specific physiotherapy and rehab.