No. Not Corona the refreshing Mexican beer often served with lemon, I'm talking about the virus...
Actually in truth it wasn't just corona virus, it’s four other ‘C’ words that have contributed to why, just yesterday, I ran 12.5km at a 5.36km pace easily, with no niggles, I felt comfortable for the entire hour and 10mins.
Let’s take this back one step and I will give you some more context…
BC (before corona) I was running and it was, well, ok. And I had been running ‘ok’ for years. Some run days were better than others. Almost every run included some form of niggle, usually on my right side. Anywhere from my shoulder right down to the bottom of my right foot. There were lower back aches, glute tightness, hammy niggles, ITB issues, plantar fasciitis, Morton's neuroma; you name the niggle and I had experienced it at some point over the past 10yrs.
I have been to physiotherapists, osteopath’s, chiropractors, myotherapists and massage therapists. I’ve had needles, electro shock thingys, deep tissue massage, relaxation massage, hot / cold baths, recovery boots, strengthening exercises, rolling, stretching and I own countless exercise and recovery tools; all of which have assisted in various different ways and offered band aid solutions to my problems over the years. Then came corona virus.
The world stopped and so did I. Not for long but I did stop. Enter the four ‘C’s…
Firstly commitment. This is obvious right? Wrong. You don’t just need to be committed to actually doing the session, although, that is an excellent starting point, you need to be committed to the entire process including doing the sessions thoroughly and this is where the remaining ‘C’s become very important.
You must commit to consistency, consciousness and coaching.
Consistency involves both consistently doing your sessions, that is not missing any or not cutting them short plus you need to consistently deliver on the purpose of the session be it an easy run, flat and fast or hill repeats and you need to be consistent with your maintenance (just as important as the session itself). Then to finish off consistency you must consistently deliver in terms of your technique and keeping good form and there we lead into consciousness.
Consciousness is ‘the state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings’. In the context of my running, consciousness has been about being fully present to what I am feeling, how I am moving and being conscious of how my body responds to the movement. And do you know what I did? I ditched the ear pods. No headphones. No music, no audio books, no podcasts. No phone. No interruptions. Just me and my running. I now know how I feel from start to finish. I can listen to my body and I can respond and adjust immediately if something feels a little off. I can concentrate on how my body moves when I am feeling fresh or fatigued. I can keep my breathing, effort, technique and cadence consistent because I don’t get lost in or distracted by music or stories, I’m conscious. I am human so I might get distracted by a hot guy or cute puppy but I can quickly connect back to my running. It's 'conscious' running, like mindful running only cooler! For me this has been the most significant of the four ‘C’s’ and it was driven by my coach, which conveniently brings us to the forth ‘C’, coaching.
I’ve been coached now for 7 years. For me coaching means guidance, support and accountability. Three incredibly important elements to training. Without that over the past 7 years I would never have gotten to the races I did or achieved the results I did. My coach has listened even when I didn’t realise I was saying things that were helpful to my training plan! At the start of the covid lockdown we identified my ‘new’ purpose, the focus was on training to avoid injury and overcome niggles. I haven’t even thought about racing. I’ve allowed myself this time to just train and I’ve committed to consistency, consciousness and coaching.
In future blogs I will flesh out each of the four C’s in more detail but for now, how do each of those fit into your training? Is there a ‘C’ you need to incorporate or improve on? For one month increase your commitment to your training by being consistent, conscious or getting coaching and see for yourself the impact. If you have any questions give me a shout…