Challenging Conventional Thinking

For years I’ve been taught that there is a way to train. Conventional wisdom (PT courses, training guidelines etc etc) suggests that to be a successful athlete you need to train with rest days, that you should have a cyclic training program (i.e. 3weeks on / one week rest), but I’ve been challenging that idea for the past few weeks with some surprising results.

As many of you know I’d been training for the North Face 100 on my way to the Marathon Des Sables next year. Unfortunately events conspired against me and I fell heavily in training about 5 weeks ago, sprained my ankle badly, bruised my knee badly and as a result my NF100 campaign will have to wait for sometime in the future. (My entry has since gone to a good home and I wish Rob well. 🙂 )

But the injury has had some interesting effects. I found that whilst I couldn’t run on uneven ground without considerable pain, I could run on a treadmill without any issues. So I thought, I’d try something different with my training.

Rather than following a set training pattern, I would simply set a daily goal for distance (not time as many programs suggest) and then go about knocking off the goal. If I felt like running, I’d run. If I couldn’t run then I’d walk. If I needed two sessions to get to my goal in a day, then that was ok. I would listen to my body and train according to how I felt.

The results have been very surprising. My initial goal of 8km a day (with a long run on a Sunday which was my NF100 norm) has rapidly increased. Within 4 weeks I’m out to 15km per day. Sometimes that is done in a single session or more usually in two i.e. 10/5, 8/7, 5/10 etc. Without realising it I’ve moved to running twice a day, every day (no rest days) and I’m actually feeling GREAT. I finish every session wanting to do more, and what’s more there are no aches and pains at all. I’ve even managed a few PB’s as well. Last week I knocked off 113km, and feel completely at ease and recovered, so much so that I’m going for 120km this week.

So let’s see how this experiment goes. And fingers crossed the ankle will have enough lateral stability to start taking things back out on the road…….

Oh, and how is managing my weight going? I’ll let you know next time..