Fundamentals in early 2021

First step: just get out the door

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.

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How do you use tools and data?

What I see on my watch while running (if I look)

If a runner from 20 years ago was to look at what almost every single one of us has on our wrists and could comprehend all of the data these magnificent watches record, they would be floored.

The irony of this is that many coaches, myself included, are now worried that many runners are too fixated on that data and have forgotten how to listen to their bodies.

So how do you use all of that data that you have readily available in a productive way?

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Hurt? Look at everything

Just because it hurts while you run doesn’t mean running caused it

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.

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Don’t lose yourself in the numbers

Record those numbers if you wish but don’t lose yourself in them

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.

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Winter running

You CAN run through the winter!

It seems too early for this but winter is on its way. Here in Wisconsin, we’ve already seen snow on the ground in October and the past couple of mornings have felt very winter like.

That means it’s time for your annual reminder: winter running can be safe and, dare I say, even enjoyable with a few precautions.

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Do you prehab?

My primary prehab tools

When a runner gets injured, we all instantly think about rehab. What are you doing to recover? Strength? Stretching? Maybe some massage or self massage with something like a foam roller?

Instead of being reactive, why not be proactive? Before the injury happens, do some of that same work in order to avoid it in the first place.

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