When it eventually stops raining our club will be back on the track for one of the running sessions which is a mix of effort and technique activities for each session. I know that some members don’t like drills and technique work – they just want to run – some don’t even attend when we are on the field as they feel its a waste of time doing drills and ‘stuff’ when they could be out pounding the streets.
I recently read an interview with a well known tennis player who has remained injury free and successful for far longer then his rivals. His ‘secret’ – a balance between fitness, skill and conditioning. His rationale – without skill I can run around all day and never get a point – without fitness I may score well but won’t last past the first set – without conditioning (S&C, mental training and nutrition) I can improve neither as I will be constantly injured or lack mental resilience to do the training I need to.
Achieving our goals – however significant or modest they may be – should follow the same approach.
Sport is a relationship – you put effort in by training and get repaid by feeling good, staying healthy, making friends, achieving goals. However, like most relationships you need to address them holistically or else it will start to show signs of strain – just like if you were to ignore some areas of any relationship you will pay for it! In sport you will then have injuries, poor performance and lack of interest which may cause you to not achieve your goals, be forced to take an extended break or give up the sport entirely. And remember that we may not be talking about this season or even next – but for years to come you want the relationship to continue and avoid having invasive surgery just to stay mobile.
So for all those who just run (or bike or swim) – here is a challenge. Ditch one session next week and do a technique and S&C session. Mmmm ….I can hear the howls of protest now – but I have a programme to follow – my race is in x weeks – I won’t have done enough miles. Well if the programme is any good then it will have a blend of S&C, technique (for all disciplines) and address contributing factors such as nutrition anyway.
Additionally, it is poor training discipline to slavishly follow a programme just because it’s there – you need the flexibility to listen to your body and do what ‘feels’ appropriate. If a technique session is what you want/need to do then it will benefit you far more than x miles of poor running. As a coach I would much prefer someone to start a challenge motivated, strong and uninjured with good form – but a little underprepared – rather than having done loads of miles and be nursing an injury, cause themselves damage doing it or taking part in the event because they have paid for it!!
As the great Mohammed Ali once said ‘It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe that stops you.’