Time to dust off the running shoes

After a two month break and on the first sunny weekend of the year, it is time to dust off the running shoes. My current project 4w/kg programme runs until the 1st of May, and I want to be ready to move to a running focus once this goal is achieved. Preparing to run will involve gradually prepare my body for an attack on the next step in the distance runners progression; a 40 minute 10k.

The first job is to lose some body fat and get down to a body weight that is more suited to running fast. Losing weight while maintaining power is key to achieving the four watts per kilogramme needed for project 4w/kg, so this is already on the schedule. Running is a series of single-leg jumps, and the lighter you are, the less force is needed to perform each jump. The less useless weight, the less effort to go the same speed, and so the same effort will take you faster. Carrying a bit of extra weight (3-4kg) over the winter has been healthy, and I have enjoyed eating everything in sight, but with the winter coming to an end, it is time to get a bit leaner. Weight loss happens in the kitchen, and I know all I need to do to get down to my target of 80kg is to clean up my diet and stop eating all the treats.

The greatest need for all athletes is strength. More and more strength.

Percy Cerutty

While I am losing body fat, I also want to build a runners body. I am already doing a heavyweight session twice per week as part of my bike programme. Still, the frequency of my gymnastics and core work, stretching, and general physical preparation could be increased. Percy Cerutty’s 100 sit-ups first thing in the morning and a range of strength and conditioning four-minute movement breaks focused on the hips, core, and hamstrings will support the weight loss to prepare the body to run fast. Kelly Starret, in his book Ready to Run, provides twelve standards that will help build the runners body:

  1. Neutral feet
  2. Flat shoes
  3. A supple thoracic spine
  4. An efficient squatting technique
  5. Hip flexion
  6. Hip Extention
  7. Ankle range of motion
  8. Warm-up and cool down
  9. Compression
  10. No hotspots
  11. Hydration
  12. Jumping and landing

Most importantly, runners run, so I need to slowly get back into regular running. 5k Masters record holder, coach, and author of Fast 5k, Pete Magil, suggests that all runners should start with a run-walk programme to avoid injury and build strength in the key muscles. Brad Hudson’s short and intense hill sprints can also improve running form and condition alongside the run walks. Finally, G. Walter George’s 100-up exercise can be done once per day to develop stride length in place of going out for a run. 

The plan

  • Monday: run/walk am, light rite of passage workout
  • Tuesday: bike am, weight session with 8-10 second hill sprints pm
  • Wednesday: bike am, run/walk and medium rite of passage workout pm
  • Thursday bike am, 
  • Friday: run/walk am, weights session with run drills and 8-10 second hill sprints pm
  • Saturday: bike am, heavy rite of passage workout and optional run/walk pm
  • Sunday: bike am

Daily core, stretch, and strength routine as 4-minute movement breaks

  • 100 Sit-ups first thing in the morning
  • Planks directly before I start work
  • 75-150 kettlebell swings
  • 100-ups
  • Light Deadlifts: five sets of 10 reps @40kg

The plan might look a lot written down, but the only two heavy workouts are the Tuesday and Sunday bike sessions. The other activities are lighter and should not affect the next sessions. In the current training phase, the strength sessions are there to maintain strength rather than build it.