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3 Things Runners Don’t Want to Hear

By Coach Henness of

As a run coach, there are many things I enjoy, like celebrating my athlete’s successes. Equally as important, though, are the things that neither they nor I enjoy. Often that means saying these 3 things runners don’t want to hear.

Running fast is the dream. So, when I give runners their paces for long or easy runs, they often complain about how slow it is and struggle not to go faster. There are times to run fast, but the majority of miles for endurance runners should be an easy pace, around 5 to 6 on that 1 to 10 effort scale.

Why? The fastest pace you can maintain is determined by how good your body is at creating energy aerobically (with oxygen). Running a high volume of slow miles makes your body better at that, whereas running fewer miles at top speeds will not. If you want to learn more about how your body adapts to endurance training, look up acidosis or lactate threshold training.

We focus much time and energy on running and comparatively little on recovery. I’ve found I have to work a lot harder to get my runners to practice a consistent post-race routine than a pre-race routine.

It’s a common misconception that we get stronger/faster when we work out. We actually get weaker during the workout. We use up our bodies’ resources and tear muscles. It’s during the recovery that our body rebuilds itself stronger than before. That’s why I tell my athletes to think about what they will eat and when they will eat after a run, ask them about their sleep patterns, and make them do the boring work of stretching, etc. To run better they have to recover better.

Many might say they want to improve their form but few want to do the work it takes. Running drills, and practicing arm swing and knee drive feel rudimentary. Then there is core strength; have you seen the slumped torsos at the end of a marathon? If good form were easy to get, everyone would have it.

Good form helps you get faster and prevent injury. Think about this – each time your foot lands while running, your body absorbs an impact force equal to 2.5 times your body weight. Do the math. Now multiply that by 1,600 steps (an estimate for how many it would take to run one mile in 9 minutes). Imagine the pain all that force can cause if your body is not aligned or stabilized properly.

That brings me to this next bonus.

…”You’re injured.” Run-stopping injuries are largely preventable, yet 50% of runners get injured once a year and 25% are dealing with injuries at any given time. This is why I tell runners what they don’t want to hear!

Now for my last topic.

…”Get a massage!” You mean, lie still while someone fixes my muscles knots for me? Yes, please! Massage is great for aiding recovery from intense training sessions. However, we can’t all afford to hire a professional to do it for us. Which is why I recommend my clients learn self-myofascial release. You can keep your muscles happy without breaking the bank or waiting for an appointment!