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Be a stronger runner this year

‘New Year, New You’! We’ve heard it loads before but what does it actually mean for you as an individual runner? The new year provides both a chance to start afresh, tackle new challenges and set new goals, review and consolidate the good training you may have implemented in 2016.

W13240603_1088938937846415_1548091568490348331_nhen thinking about 2017, runners can be broadly split into two categories: those who get majorly motivated by the statement and begin to plan this ‘New Self’ versus those who cynically think ‘yeah yeah I’ve tried it all before’.

The main reason many runner’s new years resolutions fail is because the goals are often too extreme and the changes unrealistic. However by choosing the correct targets for YOU and planning exactly how you are going to achieve them. By the end of 2017 you could find yourself smugly looking back over 12 months of new years resolutions having come true.

Here are some suggestions from HIGH5 running coaches Running With Us for different categories of runners who are looking for some new year inspiration or guidance.

The raw recruit

Park Blue 5354 croppedRunning has massively grown in popularity over the last few years and as running coaches we see a big influx of new runners into the sport each January. If you are a complete beginner and your New Years resolution is to take up running from scratch then firstly you need to choose an achievable target. A 5k is a great starting distance. The end goal gives your running focus and the training is manageable and not too daunting. Check out www.parkrun.org which might be a great place to start, plan your campaign to get to 5km to last 6-8 weeks and work with a structured plan if you can.

Work out how many times you can realistically fit running or exercise into your week and use this as a basis when choosing a training schedule. The number of training sessions can always be increased as fitness and motivation progress as the weeks go on, but beginning with an unrealistic number of sessions per week can often lead to demotivation due to this being unachievable. Too many people want to go from zero to hero in the first week!

Consistency is key, so if two or three runs per week fits in with your life balance right now and is an obtainable target then stick to this. Regularity of training over a few weeks beats binge training one week and doing nothing the next. If you can link up with a local running club or group who will help to motivate and inspire you to keep progressing. If you are not sure where to start check out www.runtogether.co.uk – there you will find details of groups in your area.

The seasoned campaigner

Training PlanIf you are a more experienced runner you have a choice. Churn out the same routes, runs and races or are you going to finally break that plateau and achieve some new PBs? If so then some changes certainly need to be made…

Sit down with a calendar; consider your goals, injuries, lifestyle and your current fitness and target a race that will allow you the time to peak at your optimum physical condition. For a marathon or a half this might require 12 months, for a 10km you might try to peak twice in a year but give yourself the time to incorporate some of the advice below. This is your macrocycle.

Within this period you should aim to break your year down into smaller chunks that give you the opportunity to develop different elements of your fitness: your endurance, your strength, your speed, your race pace, your taper. These smaller chunks are your mesocycles which typically last 4-8 weeks. Try some periods and races that will take you out of your comfort zone. For example, if you tend to focus on marathons and ultras look to include a phase in the year focusing on short distances and working on your 5-10km time or maybe even get onto the track in the summer. In the winter the cross country season can provide a great way of challenging your body differently.

Analyse what went right and wrong within last years training. Stick to the positive elements but change the negative. This may mean choosing a new and challenging training schedule, finding a coach who can give you fresh advice and structure or beginning training with other runners by joining a group/club.

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The Spring marathoner
If 2017 is beginning with a spring marathon target for you, then let’s get organised and ensure you are on the road to success.

  • Have you chosen a good trustworthy training schedule that will guide you through the next 12 to 14 weeks and is suited to your ability? We have some great training plans here.
  • Have you scheduled in your pre-marathon races? One or two half marathons along the way will provide short and mid term goals and will give you an indication of how your training is going.
  • Are you wearing the correct trainers that have been fitted properly and suit your running needs?
  • Have you found a good trustworthy physio to help you with sports massage, injury prevention and provide an MOT to check for strengths/weaknesses and advise on what to concentrate on in order to get to that start line in one piece?

Have a look at the points above and aim to have them all ticked in order to begin your marathon journey successfully. It is time to get organised and get motivated. You can’t cram for a marathon and it is a process of putting all of the correct ingredients together in order to achieve your 26.2 miles of success!

Make 2017 the year you take control of your running. For nutrition advice for running check out this section: http://highfive.co.uk/high5-faster-and-further/#running.

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What do you eat and drink if you swim for 26 hours?

On August 30th at 0727 Scott Dawson jumped into the Solent just off Seaview, touched the red can and set off on an epic swim attempting to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight non-stop. On August the 31st at 0923, he reached the same red can, touched it and became the 5th person ever to swim solo around the Island. A time of 25 hours, 56 mins and 46 seconds was recorded with a distance of 104.7 kilometres.

05HIGH5 kept Scott fuelled and hydrated for his training and the attempt. We caught up with Scott post swim, and asked how important HIGH5 had been, and what he had used before, during and post swim.

How much training did you do in the lead up this monumental effort?
I have been training for about 18 months, and using HIGH5 since the beginning of 2016. My weekly average was about 18 hours a week, juggling training, a full time job and a family. With this in mind, recovery from training is really important, and I found the Protein Recovery vital to my recovery strategy (Banana Vanilla flavour of course!).

What was involved in the training?
I would run on average 50-60 km per week and swim about 6 hours a week as well as going to the gym for strength and conditioning. Whilst running I use a combination of the EnergySource and Isotonic especially if it was hot. If it was endurance work, then I would use the Energy Source 4:1, as this gave me the extra protein my body craved.

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What did you eat/drink in the lead up to the swim?
I did the usual carb loading prior to the main swim, and cut out fibre about 4/5 days before. I was aiming to be in a wetsuit for around 24 hours, and this was going to reduce the chances of any accidents! I ate the banana flavoured EnergyBars, and drank ZERO, to make sure my electrolyte levels were as good as they could be.

So, swimming for over 24 hours means you have to eat and drink in the water. How was that?02
The team said I looked a bit like an otter when I ate! I would take something in every 30 mins and fluid-wise, I alternated between EnergySource and Isotonic. We marked the bottles at 250ml intervals, and I made sure this was the minimum I was taking on. This way, I and the team knew what hydration I was taking on, and we could monitor it really well. As I wasn’t allowed to touch anything or anybody, the kayakers would just throw the sport bottles to me, and I would throw them back. Occasionally I would use the EnergyGels in the HIGH5 gel bottles. Food wise, I would eat the Energy Bars, homemade beetroot brownies, bananas, mini Babybel and jelly sweets. These were delivered on the end of a paddle! My wife Polly also made chicken noodle soup for the ‘mealtimes’. This was the only ‘warm’ food I took on, and it was difficult 18 hours in to the swim as my mouth had swollen up, because of the salt water.

What happened post swim?
When I climbed into the medical boat at the end of the swim,I drank 800ml of the Protein Recovery. This really settled me, before my wetsuit was peeled off me. As soon as my wetsuit was taken off, my blood pressure dropped like a stone, and I passed out. The medical team knew this was going to happen, and I am so glad we had professional people on the team.

Scott is still raising money for Meningitis Now, and The Marine Conservation Society. To donate online go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ScottSwimIW
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 Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a Zone3 wetsuit and a HIGH5 nutrition bundle!

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Goal Setting 101

New Year, New You? Find out what you can achieve by setting the right goals for you.

In this blog we look at goal setting and break it down into more measurable, manageable sections to help you get the most out of your goal setting.

As humans, we set ourselves aims and objectives to motivate ourselves to accomplish what we wish to achieve. Whilst we have good intentions, the limitation to the approach many of us take when we set goals, means that we very rarely succeed in what we have set out to do.

So why should we set goals? Dependent on how they are designed, goals can be super effective due to their capacity to direct attention and influence action towards your eventual ambition.

Many of us are all guilty for setting goals, which are polar in nature. Some goals are not challenging enough and others far surpass our ability and we become disheartened when we don’t achieve them straight away. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having dreams and effective goal setting can help you get there by providing a clear pathway to follow, which brings success closer to your grasp.

The SMART Principle:

Okay, so you’re probably itching to find out what we, here at HIGH5, recommend when contemplating your goals and how you are going to reach them?

Our golden rule to follow when setting goals is to remember the SMART Principle:

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Your goals must be SPECIFIC to you and what you are trying to achieve. For example, a non specific goal would be ‘I want to be faster at sprinting at the end of a bicycle race‘. A specific goal would be ‘I am going to complete sprint training twice weekly on different types of roads to improve my sprinting

In order to assess your progress, your goals must also be MEASURABLE. Ask yourself questions such as ‘how much?‘ and ‘how many‘. Ensure that you have a definitive finish goal so that you know when you have achieved it. For example, ‘I will have completed my goal for improving my sprinting at the end of a bicycle race when I gain a top 5 placing.’

To avoid disappointment, when setting your goal ensure it is ACHIEVABLE. Ascertain your long term goal and create shorter term goals which are less complicated and easier to achieve.

An important thing to take note of when planning out your goals is whether or not they are REALISTIC. You are the only one who can determine just how high your goal should be. In certain circumstances, high goals are easier to achieve in the long run because they are more intrinsically motivated. This is why it is important to make sure each and every goal you set follows the SMART principles, otherwise that dream of yours will seem too far away to grasp.

When setting goals you should consider the TIME frame in which it is to be completed in. Make this time specific. ‘On March 30th, I wish to have become faster at sprinting in a bicycle race by completing two sprint training sessions per week for six weeks.’

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Different types of Goals:

Not only should you reflect on how to set goals but also the different types of goals that exist:

OUTCOME goals are very vague in nature. For example, ‘I want to be better

PERFORMANCE goals are specific to performance, such as ‘I want to run a sub 4h marathon

PROCESS goals are how you would achieve either an Outcome or Performance goal. ‘In order to run a sub 4h marathon, I am going to improve my lactate threshold when running.’

So there you have it. Goal setting is an effective way of getting what you want. Be methodical and really think about the goals you want to achieve. Consider the SMART principles and what type of goal you are setting, whether it be Outcome, Performance or Process.

We’ll have more useful tips next week!

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