Last year was a mess. I don’t have to tell anyone that. Very few races happened in any way we would have pictured racing in 2019 or earlier. With that, for many runners, training changed significantly.
Maybe you focused on something you hadn’t done before. Maybe you continued training at least somewhat as normal (if so, I suspect you were in the minority). Maybe you took a step back. Some even took a step up.
Whatever you did, with some hope that racing will return to something more like normal by fall, if not (hopefully) summer, you might be wondering what to do now. Racing as normal might be some way off but it’s not too early to begin laying the groundwork, especially if you’re optimistic and holding out hope for some summer races.
We’re always looking for a better way to choose the right running shoe. For a long time, it was believed we wanted to find a shoe that would promote “neutral” pronation. That’s the world I grew up in and what I, along with pretty much everyone else during the time, believed.
Then, we realized that using this method didn’t seem to reduce injury risk. So along came the “just find the pair of shoes that’s more comfortable” theory. It’s one I adopted (and, for myself, it didn’t really change the shoes I was picking). I believe it works well but is it really the best? We haven’t seen injury rates drop dramatically, if at all, since switching to this method.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with an ankle/lower shin issue. I’m on the road to recovery, in large part because I think I found the primary cause of the issue and have corrected it.
However, the primary cause wasn’t where I was expecting it to be and it was where most runners don’t tend to look. It had to do with what I was doing in my leisure time, not when I was running or, for that matter, doing anything physically demanding.
2020. What a year. I think we’ll all be glad to put it behind us with hopes of a much better 2021.
That said, I did want to take some time to reflect on 2020 at HillRunner.com and offer a sliver of a view of what 2021 might bring. There were disappointments here and not as much got done as I was hoping for in 2020 but HillRunner.com wasn’t at a complete standstill and I hope some things that happened set us up for a more productive 2021.
If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ve probably seen me mention specificity of training. In short, this is the idea that the best way to become a better runner is to run. You can do other things and they will help but they won’t help as much as devoting the same amount of time and energy to running.
But then, why do things like strength training matter? Strength training specifically is extremely different than distance running. It’s basically a polar opposite. So why does it help us run better?
I have an admission to make. When I’m writing training plans for the runners I coach, I don’t even look at the weekly mileage I have them running. As I know can frustrate some, especially as we are just starting together, I very infrequently talk about specific paces to target.
Why don’t I do these things? Because your body doesn’t know numbers. It knows effort and duration.