The training weeks right after the marathon / main race

Categories

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!

Creative gifts for runners

Categories

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!

Ultramarathon with running.COACH

Categories

Ultramarathons are running competitions longer than a regular marathon distance. Previously, it was not possible for running.COACH users to define goals for distances longer than 42,2km. We have now removed this limit, so that you can also define target competitions exceeding the marathon distance.

Running.COACH is best designed for distances between 5km and the marathon. For ultradistances, the marathon plan will be used as a training guideline. The following guide provides you with a basis on which to build your training for the even longer distances.

Goal ultramarathon – This is what you should consider

Important to start with: An ultramarathon is a nice and exciting goal. However, it should be thoroughly planned and thought through. It makes little sense to define an ultramarathon as your goal, if you have never even run a marathon. Our running.COACH training plan and this guide provide you with a good training structure. Try to integrate it into your training.

It is important to remember that the preconditions are very individual. This guide should accompany you on your way to your goals. However, you should always listen to your own body! Each runner reacts differently to the large amount of training which the preparation for ultradistances involves. This is also the reason why we don’t offer predefined training schedules, but let our users adjust the plan themselves.

Adaptation of the systems

While the running times at a marathon lie between 2 and 6 hours, they can easily add up to 10 to 30 hours or more for ultramarathons. Thus, finishing an ultramarathon requires different preconditions than a marathon. Your body must be able to endure extremely long-lasting stress. The overall stress is clearly higher in ultramarathon, even if the acute stress might be lower, as a result of the lower running pace. One important factor are our energy systems. On the one hand, our body needs to learn to better access its own energy systems and, on the other hand, our external energy supply needs to be optimised.

If you set an ultramarathon as your goal, you necessarily have to increase your training amount. This means more stress for your body, which in turn implies risks of over-training or injuries. Therefore, a gradual build-up of your training is extremely important. Your body has to be carefully prepared and guided towards the new training amount. While muscles and the cardiovascular system adapt to increased stress relatively quickly, the passive system comprising ligaments, bones, cartilage and tendons needs a lot more time. This needs to be taken into account in your training, too.

Questions around ultratraining

In running.COACH, training is structured and built-up intelligently, varying greatly in length and duration of sessions. The training load or intensity is gradually built up towards the predefined goal. This variation in training length and duration and the gradual building up of the training load is of great importance with regard to ultramarathon.

How often should I train for an ultramarathon?

Running.COACH gives you the possibility of choosing your training days yourself. The plan adapts to your individual weekly schedules and it then distributes the training sessions to your assigned time slots. If this is your first time training for an ultramarathon, we recommend that you don’t change the number of training sessions. For ultramarathons, indifferent from your individual level, we suggest that you plan at least 4 endurance sessions per week. As we will see later, these can also be alternative training sessions. If you are used to conducting more than four endurance sessions a week, keep that up.

Do I have to include high-intensity training for ultra distances?

This question keeps turning up in the context of ultrarunning training. What’s the use of an interval session of, for example, 5x4min with 2min breaks? Do I really need high-intensity training in order to be able to run faster on ultradistances? The answer is: yes, absolutely!

Training in the area of the anaerobic threshold and above is a real challenge for your body and it tunes your body for unusual stress. The primary goal of these kinds of training is to improve our aerobic capacity. The higher the aerobic capacity, the more oxygen can be taken up and the faster and the longer we are able to run. In science, maximum oxygen uptake capacity is referred to as VO2max. Male top endurance athletes have a maximum oxygen uptake capacity of 70-80ml/min/kg, exceptional athletes like Kilian Jornet (90ml/min/kg) or Chris Froome (88.2ml/min/kg) even a little bit more.

A simple way to understand the advantages of a high VO2max value is the comparison with cars. A Ferrari with a maximum speed of over 300km/h would cruise along quite smoothly at a speed of 150km/h, the gas only carefully pushed down. A car with a maximum speed of 170km/h, however, would be rather close to its limit at 150km/h and it would probably start to sound quite a bit.

Thus, the goal is to increase your maximum oxygen uptake capacity by the help of specific interval training. This should enable you to run a certain pace on less oxygen, eventually improving your speed capacities. The individual maximum oxygen uptake capacity is partly genetically conditioned, but can be improved by 10-30% through regular training. The maximum oxygen uptake capacity drops when you get older. By the help of high-intensity trainings as mentioned above, however, this process can be slowed down.

How long do I have to train for an ultramarathon?

It is almost inevitable to train a high number of kilometres in order for your body to adapt to running long distances and to saving energy. In addition to the number of kilometres, depending on which competition you aim for, metres of climb are decisive as well – uphill and downhill!

A rule for ultramarathon training is: no ultradistances in training! In order to complete the most popular ultramarathon in the world, the Comrades Marathon in South Africa (89km), for example, you don’t have to have run 70km in one go beforehand. You can use the 50% rule as a general rule. That is, for the example above, 45km in relevant terrain are enough for your longest training!

Periodisation

The running.COACH training plan orients to the competitions which you have assigned the highest priority. Training is then structured into different cycles, medium and long-term. The training load is gradually increased and varies from week to week. This periodisation should also be considered for ultratraining, in order for stress and recovery to be balanced.

Adaption running.COACH training plan

As you have learnt, a lot of points have to be considered when planning your training. Running.COACH provides you with a perfectly balanced training routine for distances up to marathon. A normal training week for ultramarathon differs from that of a regular marathon in a few points. Here are our tips for optimal training:

High-intensity sessions

Conduct your intervals and medium pace trainings according to plan. You might want to extend your cool-down by about 20 minutes though.

Long run

Depending on target distance, you can extend the long run by 25% (competitions up to 60km) to maximum 60% (competitions up to 100km). Try to train in relevant terrain for the target competition and train according to time rather than distance. The pace for the adjusted long run should be 15-30s slower than recommended by running.COACH (in flat courses).

Plan another training on the day before or after the long run. Extend the duration of this session by about 50%. This extension of two trainings in a row can improve stress resistance. At the same time, the relatively short recovery time between the sessions serves as a proxy for the stress that awaits you at the competition.

Steady run 1, steady run 2 and recovery

The remaining running sessions (steady run 1, steady run 2 and recovery) can be conducted exactly according to the recommendations provided by running.COACH. Try to stick to the recommendations as closely as possible.

Additional tips

Relevant terrain

Try to conduct a major part of your training in terrain which is relevant for the competition you aim for. If you train for an ultramarathon with a lot of climb, include as much climb in your training as possible. Hill drills are also an ideal preparation.

Negative climb

If your target competition includes a lot of negative climb, you should absolutely consider this in your training. Normally, it is not the positive climb that causes muscular problems after a competition, but the negative climb, or the kilometres in the flat. So, run downhill, too!

Alternative training

Sports like cycling, cross-country skiing and ski-touring are ideal additional trainings, providing new stimuli. The training amount can be increased by including those alternative sports, without increasing the risk of injury.

Alternative training methods require different muscle groups, which renders your training more varied and gentler. The main advantage, however, lies in the training of the cardiovascular system and the positive effect on your fat metabolism.

Alternative training durations should be approximately 150% of those of a running session.

Tip: Mix alternative trainings with running training. For example, prolong your long run (conducted according to the recommendation given by running.COACH) with an additional alternative sport. Advantages:

  • The stress duration is long à ideal for both your cardiovascular and your energy system
  • Stress on passive structures is minimal à reduced risk of injury

Strength training

Regular stabilisation and strength training are especially important for the long-lasting stress of an ultramarathon. Even the best motor is of no use if the chassis doesn’t bear the stress.

Feel your body!

Training can and should be challenging. However, it is important that you listen to your body and that you take signs of tiredness, injuries and overloads seriously.

Nutrition

Eat healthy and balanced (runningfood). Tip: for long trainings or competition, a good fat metabolism is utterly important. In order to train this efficiently, it can be rewarding to conduct trainings on empty stomach at times. Be careful to extend durations of trainings executed on empty stomach step by step. This gives your body time to optimally adapt to the changes.

Recovery

Training includes recovery! Try to get enough sleep and take other measures to support recovery, such as stretching, Yoga or massage.

Fun

The most important thing: Have fun with what you do! Training with others can heighten the fun factor. Meet up with friends for training and take them with you for long trainings!

We wish you a lot of fun on your way to your personal goals! We hope that running.COACH and this guide provide you with some useful training advice.

If you are still a bit unsure about how much or what to train, register for running.COACH. Maybe, even individual coaching in the form of a running.COACH Gold subscription could be a suitable option.

Entry written by: Gabriel Lombriser, running.COACH product manager and running coach

Running training in low temperatures

Categories

Hello, Winter Wonderland! Or should we say, hello cold temperatures and frozen, icy roads? One thing is for sure: winter and running training aren’t mutually exclusive. However, it is worth noting certain points and you might have to make some adaptations in your training in some cases.   

We are going to show you how you can organise your training the best way possible in winter conditions, as a solid winter training makes you both physically and mentally strong for the next season.

Controlled breathing in very low temperatures

In winter, our muscous membranes are generally irritated, as we stay a lot inside in warm and, more importantly, dry air. This makes things easy for bacteria and viruses. This effect is reinforced by the cold air outside.

Generally, at low temperatures, breathing through your nose is recommended, possibly requiring a reduction in running pace. Breathing through your nose, the air is cleaned, heated up to body temperature and saturated with water vapour. If the intensity is too high for you to breath through your nose, a cloth covering your mouth works as well.

Never without warming up

No matter if it’s a base run, an high intensity training or a competition; a good warming up is important both for your lungs and your muscles. Thus, start slowly and take your time for your muscles to get warm. This is especially important for intervals, middle pace sessions and competitions. Deliberately plan more time for your warm-up.

Appropriate clothing

Generally, one should make sure not to put on too much clothing. The best way to do it is to follow the onion principle, also called the «three-layers-principle ». The first layer should be a tight functional shirt (moisture transfer), the second layer can be chosen depending on the given temperature, but should also consist of functional fibres, and the third layer serves as protection (water-repellent, wind stopper). Cap and gloves provide further warmth. It is important to always cover your achilles tendons during the cold time of the year. After training, put on a cap as soon as possible, in order to avoid unnecessary waste of energy.

A must during winter is to mind your own (and others’) safety in the dark: wear reflecting clothes, running vest and/or a head torch.

Ground surface

Running through new snow is, of cours, great fun. However, it is also more exhausting, which is why the intensity needs to be adjusted to the ground surface. Special caution is needed if the surface is slippery or frozen. Firstly, because of increased risk of falling and secondly, because of the great strains that the constant balancing and stabalising mean for your body. In this case, it is sensible to transfer the training to a treadmill.

Training duration and intensity

In very low temperatures, training durations should be reduced, training intensities should be decreased, or trainings should be conducted inside altogether. In our running.COACH training plan, this can be regulated/indicated by a minus sign. A good warm-up is especially important in the cold as well as starting slowely and building up speed progressively.

Alternative training or fitness centre

If it is cold or icy outside, it is sensible to conduct one or the other session in the water (swimming, aqua jogging), on cross-country skis or in snowshoes.

Nutrition

Even during winter, sufficient supply of liquid is important both before, during and after a session. Thus, after training especially, drink enough and refill your carbohydrate reserves with a high-energy snack, as you burn more calories in the cold.

Positive effects of winter training

  • It helps to resist the winter blues
  • It offers a lot of new possibilities for training
  • It burns additional calories, which helps to avoid the winter fat deposits
  • It gives your immune system an extra boost
  • It makes you mentally stronger

So, keep on running, brave the winter and get the maximum out of you for the next season!

Compression socks – colourful, magic socks?

Categories

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.

 

Carbohydrate periodisation for improved performance

Categories

Periodisation of carbohydrate intake in endurance sports – a possibility to efficiently enhance performance and to burn fat.

Several pieces of a puzzle contribute to your running performance as a whole. When you first start running, progress will come quickly. However, one day you will reach a point when it becomes difficult to set new and efficient stimuli. This does not only apply to competitive sports people. Everybody starts working on particular pieces of the puzzle in order to imporve general performance. Nutrition is one of them. In this contribution, sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. Nat. Joëlle Flück explains the influence of carbohydrate periodisation in endurance sports on performance and fat reduction.

Carbohydrates are necessary for maximum performance capacity

In endurance sports especially, competition weight is an evergreen. However, weight loss during competition season, in most cases, is not reasonable. The loss of performance due to lack in energy is too big. Another evergreen is the question of what the ideal nutrition looks like. The selection of different forms of nutrition such as, for example, the «ketogene», «low carb» or «paleo» diets is almost too exhaustive, which makes it difficult to keep the overview and to choose a suitable and sensible way for yourself. There is scientific evidence for the necessity of carbohydrates for maximal capacity under intense or maximal pressure or stress. Thus, a low carb diet during intense competition phases is probably not sensible.

Combining low carb and high carb diet

Sports scientists have engaged extensively with the topic of nutrition for optimal increase in performance. They have, amongst others, looked at the effects of a low-carb-high-fat diet on performance. A lot of studies have shown that, in the short term, this form of nutrition can increase fat burning. However, in the long run, it has shown to be rather unfavourable in terms of performing at the maximum of your capacity and to improve generally. Nevertheless, these exact short-term effects can be used in training in order to maximise endurance performance even more effectively. Scientists came up with the idea of combining the low carb and the high carb diet, using the advantages of both and to apply them the best possible way. This is how the concept of carbohydrate perodisation was introduced.

Results of studies on carbohydrate periodisation

Marquet et al. (2016) conducted a study with two groups of triathletes. One group ate according to the common guidelines for sports nutrition : enough carbohydrates before intense sessions/competitions, in order to improve maximum performance, and enough carbohydrates after interval sessions to support recovery processes. The other group ate according to the principle of carbohydrate periodisation : normal supply of carbohydrates before interval training, followed by a low-carb phase before bed time. The morning after, the second group conducted a low intensity session on empty stomach, while the first group only trained after a breakfast rich in carbohydrates. After having repeated the different patterns over three weeks the group testing the carbohydrate periodisation showed greater improvement in both a cycling test (+12% longer) and a 10km run (3% faster). Furthermore, the fat mass of this group was reduced by 0.8kg. The other group, however, showed no significant increase in performance after three weeks and both body weight and body composition remained unchanged.

Conclusion

This study shows that it is possible to improve performance as well as body composition through optimal combination of alternating phases of low and high supply of carbohydrates. Accurate planning of training, nutrition and recovery, as well as time of implementation, are crucial. It is also recommended not to repeat such low-carb phases too many times a week, as they also drain on body resources. Further, susceptibility of infections or risks of overtraining and overloading increase. Therefore, it would be sensible to talk to a specialist and to professionally tailor individual nutrition to training and competition plans, in order to eventually achieve optimal increase in performance capacity and fat reduction.

 

Joëlle FlückThis is a contribution by sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück. She works in the sports medicine in Nottwil, where she coaches athletes of all levels, including high performance athletes. At the same time, she individually conducts studies in the area of sports nutrition and she is the vice president of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society. Being a former middle distance runner, she has won inumerous medals at Swiss championships. Today, she runs longer distances.

Alternative Training in Summer

Categories

A lot of sunshine, high temperatures and long days often make you want to move a training session to a shady place, close to a lake or on top of a mountain. We are going to show you what kind of alternative trainings that are especially suitable during this hot time of the year. They can well be integrated into a runner’s usual training plan, as well as they have a positive effect on performance.

Advantages of alternative training

  • In summer in particular, some alternative sports are especially suitable, as they can be executed more flexibly and also in the heat
  • Alternative forms of training bring variety into your training
  • Alternative stimulates different muscles and thus, has an additional training effect on your body
  • By doing more alternative training, you can increase your weekly training amount without increasing the risk for injury

How to realise it

Every running session from the training plan can be replaced with an alternative training, the duration for which will be calculated for you for each sport automatically.

Here is an example of the duration of sessions required for different sports in order to replace a 60min steady run

Here are some specific inputs:

On the bike

Each running training (steady run, long run, speed and intervals) can very well be replaced with a session on the bike (road bike and mountain bike) in our training schedule. Steady runs and long runs should be longer on the bike, intervals and medium pace sessions should take about the same amount of time as by foot.

Speed and interval training

20 to 30 minutes warm-up

3×10 minutes of medium intensity (break: 5 minutes) – keep the same pace for each interval

20 to 30 minutes cooldown

or

20 to 30 minutes warm-up

10×60″ uphill (break: 2 minutes) – feel free to vary the number of rotations (RPM)

20 to 30 minutes cooldown

Long sessions

Replace a 90min long run with 2.5 hours of biking – the duration of the session can be found directly in the plan. Or combine both sports: for example, 45min of running followed by a 75min bike session (the order can be switched).

In and on the water

Swimming

A running session can not be replaced with a swimming session with the same effect. The sports and their forms of movement are too different from each other. However, this very difference makes swimming an ideal compensation to running. The whole musculature is trained, while the musculoskeletal system is discharged, you can counteract dysbalances and you minimise the risk of injury. A swimming session can well be used as an addition to or as a replacement for an endurance training. Provided that your technique is good enough.

Interval training

10min warm-up

10min technique exercises

12x25m sprint (break: 2minutes)

10min cooldown

Long sessions

A 90min long run can, for example, be replaced with a swimming session of 75min. If this is too long for you, you could even swim for 30 to 45 minutes and go for a 45min run afterwards (the order can be switched).

Aqua Jogging

Aqua jogging is suitable for recovery, in case of injury, or for very high temperatures. Aqua jogging is easy on your tendons and ligaments and is thus suitable as an additional training session (to running). Each training unit in the training schedule can be conductet 1 :1 in the water. Expect for intervals, where the «trot break» should be only half of the time, because of the water pressure.

Stand Up Paddling

Why not borrow a stand up paddling (SUP) board once and do an exciting training on the lake? It enhances endurance, coordination and stability all at once, which makes it a great training for your whole body. Especially deeper muscules are trained that way. The pace can be varied and you can get quite sweatty. However, refreshment is always possible with a quick jump into the water.

In the mountains

A hike is a good alternative to a long run and it also does something for your strength endurance. A possible option: two to three hours of Crescendo – start with a steady run intensity (possible when it’s uphill) and increase the pace gradually during the last 30-40 minutes. Generally, steady runs and long runs are especially suitable to be replaced with hikes. You can find the according indications in the running.COACH training plan under «walking».

On land

Replace your running session with a short strength session by the pool, on the beach or at a nice shady spot once in a while. Use your own body weight and bring your minibands (exercises with minibands). Such a session can always be done as an additional training session, too.

What alternative sports do you include in your training during this hot time of the year? We are curious!

10 tips for running training in high temperatures

Categories

While some love the heat and handle it well even in terms of running training, others suffer from it. We are going provide ten tips for those amongst you who belong to the latter group, but also for everyone else, in order to keep going with your training even during summer.

Snacks for Runners

Categories

In our series #RUNNINGFOOD we give you practicle tips in terms of suitable snacks for you as a runner. It keeps turning up once in a while, this slight feeling of hunger. But, what to do? If you feel like you need little snacks in everyday life, you should prepare some to bring with you. Nothing is more «dangerous» than sitting at the work desk, getting hungry, and then walking to the company’s chocolate machine to go and get yourself a Snickers. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Sometimes this slight sensation of hunger comes out of nowhere, even if you have eaten a good lunch. So, bring something with you instead, or keep a pack of nuts or trail mix in the drawer of your desk. A little snack in between does not do any harm at all. On the contrary: those who train regulary burn more energy and they often feel delayed hunger (espacially after a long or intense session).

However, if you eat a lot of «fast carbohydrates», such as, for example, toast with honey for breakfast, pasta and pesto for lunch and something sweet in between, you should change something about your basic nutrition. This hunger in between stems from a strongly fluctuating blood sugar level.

Here are some healthy snacks for you, adjusted to the time of training.

Snack about 2-3 hours before training

Before a training, it is important that you choose foods you can stomach well. Here, you need to test and try out. Generally, these snacks should be rather rich in carbohydrates and poor in fats and proteins. The more intense the session, the more important it is to make the right choice.

How about this?

  • a ripe banana
  • a lye pretzel
  • a sports bar
  • a portion of porridge (cooked in water)

 

Porridge

Ingredients (for 1 person):

100ml water

100ml milk (or just water)

about 30-40g oats

1 tea spoon of cinnamon

some honey

Preparation:

Heat up oats in the water (and milk, if you choose that version). Boil up quickly and let it swell. Season with cinnamon and honey. A ripe banana with it is delicious, too.

Snack a couple of hours after training

If you have eaten after training, but still get a slight feeling of hunger a couple of hours later, the ideal snack would contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

  • butter milk or Kefir, either natural or blended with banana/ berries/ cocoa
  • trail mix
  • salted nuts
  • yoghurt with fruit
  • a piece of fruit
  • vegetabe sticks with cottage cheese
  • protein drink
  • smoothie

Or one out of these recipes

 

Almond-coconut balls

Ingredients:

100g ground almonds

100g coconut flakes

50g almond butter

50g cocoa butter (or double the amount of almond butter)

50g agave syrup

some cocoa

Preparation:

Mix almonds with coconut flakes. Have the cocoa butter melt gently in a water bath, blend with almond butter and add to the almond-coconut-mixture. Add agave syrup, if you like. Knead by hand. Cool down and then form small balls. Roll in cocoa.

 

Self-made chocolate pudding

Ingredients (2-3 portions):

500ml milk

40g cornstarch

2 table spoons cocoa powder

50g agave syrup?

½ tea spoon fresh vanilla

Preparation:

Boil up the milk in a pot. Mix cornstarch with cocoa and vanilla in a bowl. Blend with 3 table spoons of milk. Pour the mixture into the boiling milk with a whisk, sweeten with agave syrup.

 

Salty-sweet bars

Ingredients:

100g peanut butter crunchy salted

1,5 table spoons honey

50g agave syrup

60 g yoghurt butter

50g flaxseeds

50g pumpkin seeds

50g sunflower seeds

50 g sesame

80 g puffed amaranth

50 pretzel sticks, cracked

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 180°C . Blend peanut butter, butter, honey and agave syrup at a medium temperature in a pot. Mix the other ingredients and add to the blend. Blend carefully and add some more honey or peanut butter, depending on the texture. Put the mixture into a baking dish (put a baking paper under) and cut into pieces. The bars normally stay fresh and crispy for a long time if you keep them in a biscuit tin.

 

Goji power balls (vegan)

Ingredients:

50g Goji berries

150g dates stoned and dried

200 g almonds or hazelnuts finely ground

½ tea spoon fresh vanilla

3 table spoons coconut flakes

Preparation:

Mix Goji berries and dates together with some water in a food processor. Gradually add vanilla and almonds or hazlenuts. Once this has turned into a compact dough, knead once again with your hands before you form small balls with your hands. Roll in coconut flakes.

Snack on a rest day or at least 5-6 hours before training

If your training is not due until many hours later, so, for example, in the evening, but you get a little hungry in the morning, you can have one of the «after training» snacks. Those are well stomachable, so that they should not cause any troubles during training in the evening.

This blog entry was written by Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck, running.COACH Gold prescription coach, sports scientist and German champion (2010) in half marathon.

The last two weeks before a competition

Categories

Are you waiting for an upcoming competition? Anticipation is growing, but also a slight nervousness? Now, it’s important to keep your inner calm – and to focus on a couple of points, in order to be able to perform at the very best of your abilities on day X and to show how well you have been preparing.

Your final preparations start at least two weeks before the competition. Not only your body, but also your mind should be prepared for the big day, so that nothing will be left to chance on the day of the competition.

The last two weeks before the competition

No «making up for missed training»

Generally, shortly before a race, you cannot make up for sessions you’ve missed anymore. So close to the competition, very long or very intense sessions are to be avoided. You have done your work, rely on that! However, you might want to do some ascending runs at the end of sessions, as they keep your muscles ready to compete. Just follow the training plan.

Tapering

An ideal tapering means reducing your training amount the weeks before a competition. However, that does not mean that you only relax (Taper Week vs. Recovery Week). You should still be training, but only short sessions.

Material check

Your material (running shoes, clothes, hydration pack, etc.) should be tested and, if required, whipped into shape now at the latest. You should be familiar and feel comfortable with the material you use at the competition on day X. Don’t pack your gear the morning of the competition, but do that the day before. You might even want to compile a little check list, to make sure not to forget anything: running shoes, spare pair of running shoes, socks, tights/shorts, shirt, watch, refreshments, hat etc.

Planning: Arrival and course

Plan your competition in advance: journey there, key points of the course, refreshment stations, placing friends and family as spectators/supporters along the course etc. Engage actively with the course and go through the competition in your mind beforehand – with a successful finish, of course. You can even listen to a motivating song, which you then listen to again at the day of competition, in order to get into the right mood.

Nutrition

Eat balanced and include enough carbohydrates (whole grain pasta, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.) in your menu. The last three days before the competition are especially important. But be careful: there is a risk for «too much ». You can find some recipes here. And don’t forget to drink enough water.

It doesn’t always have to be pasta. An ideal alternative are, for example, sweet potatoes. Cut them in small cubes and mix them as a curry with a little bit of ginger, served on couscous, topped with sprouts.

Recovery

Aside from training, many people are very busy: work, family and friends, as well as a lot of leisure time activities. As a result, they often miss out on getting enough sleep and recovery, both of which are important pieces of the puzzle. Thus, it is to be recommended that you slow down a bit and go to sleep early two weeks before an important competition. You might even have time for a power nap at lunchtime. Or a massage, provided you don’t have it all too shortly before the competition.

Keep calm

No matter if you have a slight pain somewhere in your body, if you have had a bad night’s sleep, or if you have started doubting; don’t let yourself be thrown off the track. You only waste your energy. Focus on something positive, like a special training session, or try to focus on your excitement about the upcoming competition.

How do you get yourself into the right competition mood? Please leave a comment.