Naked running

“I want you to run naked”

I was talking to a fellow coach recently, when he brought it up that he did quite a bit of naked running.

Safe to say, I was skeptical. 

I mean, I couldn’t picture him getting more than a few hundred yards down the road before getting lifted by the Police.

So I asked – “Do you do it on the treadmill at home?”

He looked at me like I was mental and replied, “No, what would be the point? You know there’s loads of great trails here. I lock the front door and stick the key under a brick as normal and head off”

Now before you think he’d lost his mind. And, maybe wondering how he’d avoided going to jail, he wasn’t talking about not wearing any clothes. 

What my pal meant by ‘naked running’ was leaving your GPS watch at home when you head out for your run.

And I’ve got to say…

Now that I’ve tried it, and ran ‘naked’ regularly — it’s liberating. 

Perhaps more so than running with no clothes on. (Though I haven’t tried that.)

Here’s the thing …

We are so conditioned to track everything, it can take the joy away from running.

When I did cross country back in PE classes at school, you just ran. No watches, no heart rate monitors. 

Just kit on, and around the route the teacher told you to do.

Since 1999, and the launch of the Casio ProTrek, we’ve become tied to the idea of knowing every little stat about our running.

Obviously, this does have some amazing benefits.

But at the same time, you become reliant on it. 

Losing touch with being able to run purely by feel.

Something that is vital if you’re chasing after a PB.

And running by how you feel is what naked running is about.

Once you ditch the watch it’s so much easier to listen to what your body is telling you.

For instance…

If you’ve had a busy week, hitting a certain pace might be pretty hard. 

With no watch telling you you’re going too slow, you’re forced to run by feel.

You have to listen to your breathing, and whether or not you’re straining when you should be going easy.

The big benefit from naked running comes when you put your watch back on.

Because that’s when you can listen to your body and the signals it’s sending you… without checking your watch every 30 seconds.

You won’t need to.

You’ll know if you’re on pace by how you feel.

And you can review things when you finish.

Because, like I said, the tech isn’t evil, you just need to stop relying on it.

So my challenge to you is to leave your watch at home once a week. 

Learn to listen to what your body is telling you and reap the benefits.

How Ray-Bans can help your training

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the lovely sunny weather recently.

Annoyingly I’ve discovered I’d lost my sunglasses.

So I thought I might treat myself to a pair of Ray-Bans and Ray-Ban Aviators in particular.

The iconic Aviators have been around since 1937 and, as the name suggests, were designed specifically for pilots. 

The lenses are deliberately large and curved to cover the whole field of vision to keep the sun out of the pilots’ eyes.  

But aside from the inferred coolness of being designed for pilots and them being Ray-Bans.

Ray-Ban Aviators are cool for another reason…

They use science.

By applying a chemical filter to the glass the original Aviators filtered out the blue light. 

The process massively cuts down the amount of light reaching the eye and helps maintain a sharp image.

Then later they introduced a polarised lens that prevents all the horizontal light from reaching the eye.

And this polarising effect isn’t restricted to just your sunnies.

You can apply it to your training.

The idea being that you have a big contrast between your training sessions.

Where polarised sunglasses will cut the light that reaches your eyes in half we want to go further with your training.

And have more of an 80/20 split.

Something that all elite athletes do but is perhaps easiest to see with elite runners.

They stay away from the middle ground. Making sure that each and every session is either hard or easy. 

With the biggest chunk being easy. 

To determine what actually is easy or hard is simple.

Easy =  a Zone 2 heart rate throughout the run.

Hard = either a Zone 4 or 5 Heart rate depending on the type of session.

If they tried to run the way most everyday runners do there’s no way they could clock up 100+ miles a week.

Fail to apply this simple concept and you’ll be plagued with aches and pains…

Regularly injured…

And constantly fail to achieve their goals.

So as an Everyday Athlete this is one of the few times you want to copy what the elites do in their training.

Where normally this would be madness…

A  fast track to injury and the treatment room.

By applying this idea of polarising your training you ensure the complete opposite.

It’s got a proven track record for getting the most out of our training especially if you want to…

Avoid injuries…

See consistent results…

And enjoy your training more…

Because it makes it easier to recover.

And it doesn’t make any difference what type of training you’re doing.

Lifting in the gym?

You need to limit those sessions where you’re hitting weights in the 85%+ range.

So NO maxing out every week.

You can even apply it to something like BJJ.

When you’re rolling aim for 1 hard, evenly matched battle, out of every 5. 

The others can be easier, more technique-based.

You’ll recover more easily between sessions and improve faster too.

So take inspiration from your sunnies and apply it to your training and watch your performance take off.

The Most Important 2 Minutes Of Your Day

We’ve all seen those annoying posts on Facebook or Instagram. A load of shite about morning rituals and how important they are?

That you must meditate for an hour before the sun comes up. 

And get in a killer workout before getting ready for work.

Prep all your food for the day before a bird has sung a single note.

In other words, get up before you went to bed. 

And then you realise that it’s all written by someone who doesn’t have a life. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s value in making a point of doing all of the above…

If you can make it work.

The meditation and meal prep are big time savers, not time wasters.

And if you have the ability to train first thing in the morning then your workout is done and dusted before “the day” can de-rail it.

In fact rituals and habits play an important role in how successful we are in pretty much anything.

And your training is no exception.

Yet one of the most important habits or rituals you can have is often overlooked.

And they are, perhaps, the most important 2 minutes of your training day.

Let me explain…

You can turn your legs to jelly on hill reps…

Sweat so much on the Erg you look like you’re actually rowing on a lake..

Cranking out the reps in the gym for a burn so deep you look like the “Human Torch”…

None of it matters if you don’t get this part of the session right.

Well, I’m exaggerating a bit but it is important.

Be it a hard or an easy session the last few minutes are every bit as important as the rest of the session.

You see, once you’ve done the hard work you want to calm things down as fast as possible.

Because the good stuff, the adaptations that make you stronger, faster and generally harder to kill only happen once you’re finished.

It’s the recovery period between the sessions that you make your gains.

And we want to get into the recovery zone as fast as possible.

To do this finish your run with a couple of minutes of gentle walking.

This should see your heart rate drop below 100 bpm.

Then once you’re inside you want to lie down and pop your feet on a seat and breathe.

Nice and gently, in and out through your nose. 

Pause after the inhale and again after you exhale.

Or spend some time in the “Child’s Pose”. 

A couple of minutes spent in either of these will bring your heart rate right down.

Flipping the off switch on the production of all the hormones associated with exercise and flipping on the switch for all those that help you recover.

Give it a try after your next session it’ll help speed up your recovery.

The best cardio workouts for over 40’s

What are the best cardio workouts for the over 40’s?

A better question would be…what is the best way to structure a conditioning program for the over 40’s?

Which would then prompt the reply, what are your goals?

Your goals ultimately determine what your conditioning program needs to look like. If you play 5-a-side football regularly then your program will look different to someone who wants to run 5k fast. They, in turn, will look different to someone who takes part in BJJ.

What they all have in common is that they are based on a strong aerobic base and less volume than you did in your 20’s.

stair run

Continue reading “The best cardio workouts for over 40’s”

How to beat DOMS

DOMS – what is it?

DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is something that everyone has experienced regardless of training history. You don’t even have to have trained to experience it. You have just decorated the bedroom and you have sore shoulders, that soreness is DOMS. Often thought of as a sign of a good training session, nothing could be further from the truth.

In tech speak the pain is caused by an increase in the acute loading that is sufficiently above your chronic loading level that you aren’t ready for. You react to this in an adverse manner that is painful.  The unwanted pain of DOMS is a secondary reason why you should build up the volume and intensity over a period of weeks. The primary reason for the gradual build-up is to reduce the risk of injury. DOMS is painful but it isn’t an injury. A good rule of thumb is to use increases of no greater than 10% per week. Continue reading “How to beat DOMS”

STRENGTH training for runners

Strength and conditioning in sport are more common place over time. The role of the strength and conditioning specialist becoming more important as athletes look to maximise their potential. This makes a lot of sense from when we considier the benefits of being a stronger athlete. A stronger athlete will, in most cases, never be anywhere tapping out their strength in a game situation.  The conditioning side is about what is the appropriate type of work to be done. There is a lot to be gained from training the different energy systems but what ones are important.  Knowing what aspects to train and where to place them are very important. There is no point  in a marathon runner doing a Tabata session or a sprinter running for an hour.  Plyometric drills that can of great benefit when used correctly for runners of all distances.   Continue reading “STRENGTH training for runners”

Capacity and performance: how much can you do before it hurts?

Knowing what you can and cannot do is the crux of any rehab program and pushing the envelop of this is where changes occur and, ultimately, you get back to doing the things you enjoy.

We can run tests until the cows come home but the bottom line is what can you actually do before things begin to hurt. We may be test you in a number of different exercises for our subjective and objective tests in the clinic but these really only give us a guide as to what you are capable of.

Continue reading “Capacity and performance: how much can you do before it hurts?”

Strength training reduces sports injury rates

Strength training is integral to any well thought out program for an athlete be they a runner, cyclist, footballer or rugby player. The reason for it’s inclusion is usually performance related, as in looking for it to aid improved performance through the ability to generate more force etc. There are other benefits to getting stronger and in this paper from the BJSM website it’s role as an intervention in sports injuries was examined. Continue reading “Strength training reduces sports injury rates”