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Interval Training - Running


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So, i was running with a group of athletes and the topic came up "Why do you have to run intervals?" Personally, ive never questioned it, I do bike and swim intervals, all with differnt speeds or power zones, so running intervals made sense, its what 'must' be done to get faster.

In this group of triathletes though, most of the real fast athletes 3:20 - 3:40km pace runners, admitted they either run easy all the time, or do 1-2 tempo workouts a week, if they wanted to mix it up. No hard interval running though. Their reason - they can run more over a week, compared to taking a day or 2 to recover, plus all the other training heaped on top.

What are the thoughts on here, what do you do?

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The guy that won my local park run last weekend with a 16.05 5km said he runs all other runs either at 5min k pace or his long runs at 6 min k pace.  
 

I thought bs but Strava stalked him and he was honest.  Runs 6 days a week and only fast run is 5km at parkrun. 

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7 minutes ago, Lost in transition said:

So, i was running with a group of athletes and the topic came up "Why do you have to run intervals?" Personally, ive never questioned it, I do bike and swim intervals, all with differnt speeds or power zones, so running intervals made sense, its what 'must' be done to get faster.

In this group of triathletes though, most of the real fast athletes 3:20 - 3:40km pace runners, admitted they either run easy all the time, or do 1-2 tempo workouts a week, if they wanted to mix it up. No hard interval running though. Their reason - they can run more over a week, compared to taking a day or 2 to recover, plus all the other training heaped on top.

What are the thoughts on here, what do you do?

really depends on the triathlon distance you are training for.  The longer the distance the more important it is to do up-tempo, likewise the shorter the distance the more likely you are utilising your high end aerobic threshold so short intervals will be of benefit. 

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3 hours ago, Peter said:

The guy that won my local park run last weekend with a 16.05 5km said he runs all other runs either at 5min k pace or his long runs at 6 min k pace.  
 

I thought bs but Strava stalked him and he was honest.  Runs 6 days a week and only fast run is 5km at parkrun. 

Wow!! 

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It really depends, I would never have been able to fine tune and run faster if I didn't do anything specific. I mean fine tuning dropped about 30secs over 5km and felt a hole lot better (I couldn't break 15 without fine tuning). When I ran a 2.35 mara there is no way I could've done that without specificity via way of intervals etc to help me get faster. If I run slow, I get slow (I just wish I tried a marathon when I was just "running" before the tri thing took over, not knocking over 2.30 will haunt me never ran sub 30 for 10k either which hurts)

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I'm not fast at all, at 58 and 88kgs, my last 5km benchmark was Jan 2nd and 21.40. I rarely do a speed session as in 10 x 800s or anything like that but I have a regular 6km loop that I use in training, and once every 10 days or so, I run that as fast as I can.

Nearly all the rest of my runs are between 5.10 and 5.45, depending on length but I rarely run longer than 30km on the road in training.  I'm on a recovery week this week, so only 40kms of running but have another 5km benchmark due on Saturday to finish the week off, so will be interesting to see where that ends up.

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I've operated on the theory that exceeding your threshold and pushing your top speed with interval training expands your range, and allows you to go faster longer at sub-threshold. Structured training sessions with others every week also adds discipline to training. It seemed to work for me back in the day. When I was a 40-something doing a track session and a 10 to 12 km group tempo run every week, I was faster than I had ever been in my 20s and 30s.

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On 27/01/2021 at 1:44 PM, Lost in transition said:

 

In this group of triathletes though, most of the real fast athletes 3:20 - 3:40km pace runners, admitted they either run easy all the time

Yeah but how much are they running?? A lot of people read about easy running and find out a lot of elite runners do at least 80% of their running as easy and change their run regime to 80%+ easy. Except they are only doing 30, 40km a week! A mid distance runner like Mo Farah, who does a lot of easy running would clock around 220km a week. Doing 30, 40km per week easy would be nothing more than maintenance (for me at least). 

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12 hours ago, zed said:

Yeah but how much are they running?? A lot of people read about easy running and find out a lot of elite runners do at least 80% of their running as easy and change their run regime to 80%+ easy. Except they are only doing 30, 40km a week! A mid distance runner like Mo Farah, who does a lot of easy running would clock around 220km a week. Doing 30, 40km per week easy would be nothing more than maintenance (for me at least). 

Yeah, they run upward of 70km a week. All year long. Year after year.

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My running fell off a cliff once I turned 50. Tightness in the hips and glutes, hamstrings negate any kind of free flowing running for me at a hard effort. I'm also mindful of general heart health and pushing too hard too often when parenting, work, domestic duties, and other life stressors accumulate and add fatigue. I'm just grateful I can still run. I was never really good at it so had a love/hate relationship with running. So I enjoy it nowadays.

Intervals wouldn't do any good at this age and time in the sport - if I feel good I'll run tempo for an hour. That's about it for any hard running apart from races.

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On 10/02/2021 at 1:04 PM, Coach@triathlon said:

My running fell off a cliff once I turned 50. Tightness in the hips and glutes, hamstrings negate any kind of free flowing running for me at a hard effort. I'm also mindful of general heart health and pushing too hard too often when parenting, work, domestic duties, and other life stressors accumulate and add fatigue. I'm just grateful I can still run. I was never really good at it so had a love/hate relationship with running. So I enjoy it nowadays.

Intervals wouldn't do any good at this age and time in the sport - if I feel good I'll run tempo for an hour. That's about it for any hard running apart from races.

This is the sort of wisdom a lot of posters on here could gain from - experience is what you get just after you needed it

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On 10/02/2021 at 1:04 PM, Coach@triathlon said:

My running fell off a cliff once I turned 50. Tightness in the hips and glutes, hamstrings negate any kind of free flowing running for me at a hard effort. I'm also mindful of general heart health and pushing too hard too often when parenting, work, domestic duties, and other life stressors accumulate and add fatigue. I'm just grateful I can still run. I was never rd running apart from races.

How much strength training have you done to negate the breakdown of muscle and tendon stiffness?

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7 minutes ago, more said:

How much strength training should be incorporated? 3 days a week? 

Depends 2-3 is a good sticking point.  Most would struggle at 3 but at least 2 is suffice. 

But ST needs to appropriate to the individual, not a generic program,  but a program that is based on assessment and is focussed on key areas on relation to life and sporting demands.  

Unfortunately many seem to actually not incorporate correct loading and poor exercise choice based on what is popular rather then what is neccessary to the individual needs. 

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On 10/02/2021 at 1:04 PM, Coach@triathlon said:

My running fell off a cliff once I turned 50. Tightness in the hips and glutes, hamstrings negate any kind of free flowing running for me at a hard effort. I'm also mindful of general heart health and pushing too hard too often when parenting, work, domestic duties, and other life stressors accumulate and add fatigue. I'm just grateful I can still run. I was never really good at it so had a love/hate relationship with running. So I enjoy it nowadays.

Intervals wouldn't do any good at this age and time in the sport - if I feel good I'll run tempo for an hour. That's about it for any hard running apart from races.

They do get harder with age. Felt knee flaring the other day just doing striders.

like you happy to be able to run

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5 minutes ago, Coach@triathlon said:

Doesn't work like that. Triathlon is an age depreciating activity. That's why no 50+ year olds win Kona

Life is not about winning Kona so it does work like that.  

Not everyone is built the same nor has same genetic make up.  So actually strength training has been proven to help in negating the aging affects of muscle wastage, bone breakdown and slowing down the rate of tendon stiffness loss. 

Why do we use strength training on rehabilitation????

Just because you don't do it or don't like it doesn't means it serves no benefit??? 

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Geezuz...I didn't say I don't do any strength training - on the contrary.

It doesn't negate decline - which is the word you used. Now you write 'help in negating the aging effects...' which is partly true.

I've seen many people leave this sport because coaches prescribed stupid amounts of strength training on top of 4 x swim bike runs a week and it is untenable. Heading off to the gym after squad at 6.30 at night because coach has told me I have to do some shit on a swiss ball. Go home to your family...

In all my years and all my incalculable number of errors in training, loads, frequencies, strength training etc. I can do my necessary strength training at home in 5 minutes three times a week - and when you are 54 and racing regularly then we can compare notes about decline. Most guys I did this sport with from the early 80s can't even run anymore - so I'm in front either way...touch wood.

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1 minute ago, Coach@triathlon said:

Geezuz...I didn't say I don't do any strength training - on the contrary.

It doesn't negate decline - which is the word you used. Now you write 'help in negating the aging effects...' which is partly true.

I've seen many people leave this sport because coaches prescribed stupid amounts of strength training on top of 4 x swim bike runs a week and it is untenable. Heading off to the gym after squad at 6.30 at night because coach has told me I have to do some shit on a swiss ball. Go home to your family...

In all my years and all my incalculable number of errors in training, loads, frequencies, strength training etc. I can do my necessary strength training at home in 5 minutes three times a week - and when you are 54 and racing regularly then we can compare notes about decline. Most guys I did this sport with from the early 80s can't even run anymore - so I'm in front either way...touch wood.

Where did i mention it can make you run intervals faster.  

I raised a plausible reason why gen pop and athletes start to decline in relation to certain factors associated with sport especially running.  

I did state not everyone is built the same so it varies from person to person in relation to what and when things start to decline.  

I will repeat this again NOT EVERYONE IS BUILT THE SAME. 

5mins strength training.  WTF anything Body weight and takes 5min is not sufficient in regards to developing strength.  5mins is bloody rest period between sets.  Heavy load low reps is what is the dosage once a good sound base is developed and a movement pattern is sufficient enough to handle load.  

I will again add TENDON STIFFNESS is what deteriorates the earliest and the most.  Once this stiffness declines, the rest of the structures are required to pick up the slack (gastroc, soleus,hamstring, iliipsoas, quads) all the things we say are stiff. 

Running is the only real weight bearing sport in triathlon.  Bike has some at some points (OOS). 

Endurance training does not build tendon stiffness it actually is breaking it down from repeated movement challenging it.  

Unless you are doing appropriate loading on the structures then you are actually just telling yourself you are doing strength training not actually doing anything that is going to aid.  

When you see that person run by and they look like a gazelle, springy gait cycle almost effortless can guarantee they have superior tendon stiffness doesnt matter what age. 

Back in the 80's a lot of people did manual labour, pick up, carry, lift, move heavy shit so in a way they were doing incidental strength training but it was high repetition activity so again will stress this is individual based on how they are in later life.  Now these individuals back then probably over did it relation to work output or as they aged they neglected themselves!

Today we have less manual work and more sitting based jobs or jobs done by machines so conditioned wise we are not in the same capacity as once was hence why probably more important today to lift some heavy shit a couple of times of week.  Great for nervous system which is great for muscles.  

Will finish with EVERYONE IS NOT BUILT THE SAME - some can handle big volume, some don't.  Some respond to certain stimulus better then others.  So if you feel like you have lntost your SPRING, it is more then likely your tendon stiffness is going and to maintain being fast it is a huge prerequisite.  

Happy to help anyone who is interested in applying some strength training into their training. This would be based on assessment and what you have available to use.  To those who think it is a missing link or want to be still moving well down the track (no pun intended)

This is my opinion (not what works for me) based on some evidence and with continual research and discussions with the relevant people.  

Anyway have a good day. 

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4 minutes ago, Coach@triathlon said:

20 pushups - 20 upright rows (7 kilo hand weights) - 20 bicep curls - 20 dips continuous x 5

or 20 upright rows - 20 squats - 20 lunges x 5

 

That is endurance training high rep low load.  But if works for you all good.  

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41 minutes ago, Coach@triathlon said:

Geezuz...I didn't say I don't do any strength training - on the contrary.

It doesn't negate decline - which is the word you used. Now you write 'help in negating the aging effects...' which is partly true.

I've seen many people leave this sport because coaches prescribed stupid amounts of strength training on top of 4 x swim bike runs a week and it is untenable. Heading off to the gym after squad at 6.30 at night because coach has told me I have to do some shit on a swiss ball. Go home to your family...

In all my years and all my incalculable number of errors in training, loads, frequencies, strength training etc. I can do my necessary strength training at home in 5 minutes three times a week - and when you are 54 and racing regularly then we can compare notes about decline. Most guys I did this sport with from the early 80s can't even run anymore - so I'm in front either way...touch wood.

Yep this.

Found swimming keeps upper body okay and by doing all strokes some balance.

I run hills at low intensity also ride hills and do a basic 15 minute routine around balance and body that my physio gave me to help with a Morton’s nueroma

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2 minutes ago, Fitness Buddy said:

Where did i mention it can make you run intervals faster.  

I raised a plausible reason why gen pop and athletes start to decline in relation to certain factors associated with sport especially running.  

I did state not everyone is built the same so it varies from person to person in relation to what and when things start to decline.  

I will repeat this again NOT EVERYONE IS BUILT THE SAME. 

5mins strength training.  WTF anything Body weight and takes 5min is not sufficient in regards to developing strength.  5mins is bloody rest period between sets.  Heavy load low reps is what is the dosage once a good sound base is developed and a movement pattern is sufficient enough to handle load.  

I will again add TENDON STIFFNESS is what deteriorates the earliest and the most.  Once this stiffness declines, the rest of the structures are required to pick up the slack (gastroc, soleus,hamstring, iliipsoas, quads) all the things we say are stiff. 

Running is the only real weight bearing sport in triathlon.  Bike has some at some points (OOS). 

Endurance training does not build tendon stiffness it actually is breaking it down from repeated movement challenging it.  

Unless you are doing appropriate loading on the structures then you are actually just telling yourself you are doing strength training not actually doing anything that is going to aid.  

When you see that person run by and they look like a gazelle, springy gait cycle almost effortless can guarantee they have superior tendon stiffness doesnt matter what age. 

Back in the 80's a lot of people did manual labour, pick up, carry, lift, move heavy shit so in a way they were doing incidental strength training but it was high repetition activity so again will stress this is individual based on how they are in later life.  Now these individuals back then probably over did it relation to work output or as they aged they neglected themselves!

Today we have less manual work and more sitting based jobs or jobs done by machines so conditioned wise we are not in the same capacity as once was hence why probably more important today to lift some heavy shit a couple of times of week.  Great for nervous system which is great for muscles.  

Will finish with EVERYONE IS NOT BUILT THE SAME - some can handle big volume, some don't.  Some respond to certain stimulus better then others.  So if you feel like you have lntost your SPRING, it is more then likely your tendon stiffness is going and to maintain being fast it is a huge prerequisite.  

Happy to help anyone who is interested in applying some strength training into their training. This would be based on assessment and what you have available to use.  To those who think it is a missing link or want to be still moving well down the track (no pun intended)

This is my opinion (not what works for me) based on some evidence and with continual research and discussions with the relevant people.  

Anyway have a good day. 

What does ability to do a one rep max on a weight exercise have to do with durability of tendons when running

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6 minutes ago, BarryBevan said:

I run hills at low intensity also ride hills and do a basic 15 minute routine around balance and body that my physio gave me to help with a Morton’s nueroma

What is your routine for Morton's? I have it also. I would be interested in any exercises that could help. 

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Strength, durability, ability. elasticity, aging, performance, biomechanics, miles on the clock, body type, strength to weight, training volume per week, parenting, work demands, relationship maintenance all come into the mix.

And it's just a hobby.

You can't idealise strength training or swim bike run - again, it doesn't work like that. No one has the perfect life, body, or training program.

My point is when I read about suggestions of adding ''strength training'' to an already busy and demanding schedule then you're losing the point of the sport. Fun and a healthy lifestyle. Do some not so perfect strength exercises 3 x a week. Swim butterfly and paddles. You'll get strong if you do that regularly too. 

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10 minutes ago, BarryBevan said:

What does ability to do a one rep max on a weight exercise have to do with durability of tendons when running

Who said 1 rep max?  Again this is not actually reading what i wrote or making assumptions 

 

https://www.peakendurancesport.com/endurance-training/strength-conditioning-and-flexibility/strengthen-endurance-time-go-heavy-performance/

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2 minutes ago, Coach@triathlon said:

Strength, durability, ability. elasticity, aging, performance, biomechanics, miles on the clock, body type, strength to weight, training volume per week, parenting, work demands, relationship maintenance all come into the mix.

And it's just a hobby.

You can't idealise strength training or swim bike run - again, it doesn't work like that. No one has the perfect life, body, or training program.

My point is when I read about suggestions of adding ''strength training'' to an already busy and demanding schedule then you're losing the point of the sport. Fun and a healthy lifestyle. Do some not so perfect strength exercises 3 x a week. Swim butterfly and paddles. You'll get strong if you do that regularly too. 

Paddles Not going to help running though which this post is about 

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8 minutes ago, Fitness Buddy said:

But your are happy to hand out st advice as an endurance coach?  

I in a heart beat am going to take any advice from Mick about anything pertaining to this sport especially maintaining performance as you get older.

While his body might be giving out he goes alright

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11 minutes ago, Fitness Buddy said:

Paddles Not going to help running though which this post is about 

Absolutely, assuming paddles, fly all the strokes look after upper body.

Running hills

Riding hills

Doing some specific exercises calf raise, one leg squats and some other weird stuff physio prescribed seemed to be useful.

But the reality is as you get older especially with running your ability to deal with the intensity is reduced.

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22 minutes ago, Ironnerd said:

What is your routine for Morton's? I have it also. I would be interested in any exercises that could help. 

First thing they got me doing was:

pulling my big toe using my hammy and back of calf, thye call it go fishing, Its hard to describe, but it loosens tension on front of shin whihc in turn releases pressure on the nervew.

Standard balance on one leg for 30 seconds tunrn about.

Squat on one leg with body rotated forward to the floor, this is hard

stand on one leg and point a star pattern with other leg

floor hoping on one leg for about ten reps back and forward

Get some tape put at end of foot and do reps pushing the ankle forwards and back for reps while watching telly.

One leg calf raises 

Get leg against wall stretch that ham string (I cry)

tape again around knees, walk side ways for ten and then back maintaining tension on tape

It's not perfect but it does reduce the irritation. For short term relief put a gel insert from chemist between toes 

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1 hour ago, BarryBevan said:

First thing they got me doing was:

pulling my big toe using my hammy and back of calf, thye call it go fishing, Its hard to describe, but it loosens tension on front of shin whihc in turn releases pressure on the nervew.

Standard balance on one leg for 30 seconds tunrn about.

Squat on one leg with body rotated forward to the floor, this is hard

stand on one leg and point a star pattern with other leg

floor hoping on one leg for about ten reps back and forward

Get some tape put at end of foot and do reps pushing the ankle forwards and back for reps while watching telly.

One leg calf raises 

Get leg against wall stretch that ham string (I cry)

tape again around knees, walk side ways for ten and then back maintaining tension on tape

It's not perfect but it does reduce the irritation. For short term relief put a gel insert from chemist between toes 

Thanks I will give them a go.

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2 hours ago, Coach@triathlon said:

20 pushups - 20 upright rows (7 kilo hand weights) - 20 bicep curls - 20 dips continuous x 5

or 20 upright rows - 20 squats - 20 lunges x 5

 

Cool thanks - any ideas for calf/soleus? I can't do any more calf raises...

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24 minutes ago, toolex said:

Cool thanks - any ideas for calf/soleus? I can't do any more calf raises...

Tried calf raises and stretching for years - chronic calf strains every few weeks no matter what I did. 

Changed running shoe brands after years (after a suggestion from a friend) with the same one. Problem went away. It was remarkable.

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1 hour ago, Coach@triathlon said:

Tried calf raises and stretching for years - chronic calf strains every few weeks no matter what I did. 

Changed running shoe brands after years (after a suggestion from a friend) with the same one. Problem went away. It was remarkable.

I was anti hoka, but they stopped by lower limb injuries cold.

This was after compartment syndrome in my left shin.

Race day is Nike Vapor Fly's take that extra 4 %

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Talking of remarkable-I've been battling a sharp pain in my glute for the past 3-4 months. The pain was constantly there and got worse following any type of activity. I tried backing off the training, even stopped for a while but it persisted.

Finally got sick of it and went to the physio. Remarkably with the stretches he gave me the pain was 99% gone within 2 days! Some sort of nerve issue he said...unbelievable. Cant believe I put up with it for so long...

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Anyhows back to the original question, assuming person has some running background, at least 30 Km per week for a while and can run at least 40 K per week at an easy pace without getting injured or hugely fatigued do this progression for one of your runs:

Don't overly focus on the long run 1:15 will be fine

image.png.790261246f6ee086682d24b299c4582e.png

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5 hours ago, more said:

Talking of remarkable-I've been battling a sharp pain in my glute for the past 3-4 months. The pain was constantly there and got worse following any type of activity. I tried backing off the training, even stopped for a while but it persisted.

Finally got sick of it and went to the physio. Remarkably with the stretches he gave me the pain was 99% gone within 2 days! Some sort of nerve issue he said...unbelievable. Cant believe I put up with it for so long...

Sounds like it was a pain in the a$$

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Like I say, I'm not fast but at nearly 56, I know a shed load about running at age with a young family!  It's bloody hard.  Also probably safe in saying I have more surgical rehab experience than anyone on here.  So adversity and my running are not exactly strangers.

It can be done though, you just have to approach it differently and not be a sad sack that is trying to replicate what you could do 20, or even 10yrs ago.  I'm more into the longer distances these days but do try and keep up tempo, if not outright speed work.  My last 5km benchmark was disappointing at 21.40 but there it is, that's life!

I'm pretty much a Hoka fan,  current all rounder is the Rincon2 (great but they aren't that durable), I have run in Speedgoat 1,2,3,4 but also have some Saucony Peregrine 10s ready to go.  Fast road races are done in the Nike Next%.

I find Hoka my go to brand for most things but their range can be hit and miss (Clifton was all over the shop). 

Been lucky generally with injuries, nursing one back from a week of no running and having to be picked up 8kms from home.  Funnily enough, the only thing different was trying to adjust my form and I'm now thinking that may or not have been the cause but why change my style?  It's worked for years, so I'm going back to what I know.

My most important factor these days is 'time on my feet' and 'vert', everything else is icing.

Strength is mostly rolling, some customised moves that my surgeon prescribed (without which, mobility is harder) and using my own body weight. Don't own a set of dumbbells.  I tend to do 2 or 3 5 min sessions every other day.  Keeps me from being too sedentary whilst WFH.

This works for me and I don't care what others do but i do know how many younger 'fitter' runners I pass at races and that makes me smile. 

 

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