I have referenced James Clear multiple times this week, and I will here once again, he is my go to for motivation.
"Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.
You don't need much motivation once you've started a behavior. Nearly all of the friction in a task is at the beginning. After you start, progress occurs more naturally. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place.
Thus, one of the keys to getting motivated is to make it easy to start."
Challenge: Instead of wishing you had more motivation or trying to keep up motivation, instead work on making something easy to start.
No motivation for hill repeats? Start a hill repeat Wednesday club, all invited. You may not feel like doing it but you have to meet and once everyone is at the base of the hill all the friction to doing hill repeats is gone.
No motivation for evening runs? Can you run commute? How about making larger dinners one night a week so you don't need to cook a second night and have time to run instead and leftovers are waiting for you at the end.
No matter what, remember, motivation is fleeting. In this October Run Reboot you may have found 3 things you want to incorporate into your training program. Figure out HOW and make them visible, easy to start and frictionless. I look forward to seeing your progress and hopefully you will share your journey with me!
Here's to a great November and beyond!
Do you know this story from the 2018 Boston Marathon?
“Early on, I was feeling horrible,” Linden said. “I gave [Shalane Flanagan] a tap and said, ‘There’s a really good chance I’m going to drop out today. If you need anything—block the wind, adjust the pace maybe—let me know.’”
So when Flanagan took a now-famous bathroom break near Wellesley College (around the halfway point), Linden slowed down so they could catch up to the rest of the elites together.
“When you work together, you never know what’s gonna happen,” Linden said. “Helping her helped me, and I kind of got my legs back from there.”
Spoiler alert: Desiree Linden went on to win the 2018 Boston Marathon.
“Your brain releases oxytocin when you feel a bond with another person,” Detling says. And this bond reminds you that you’re not alone in your suffering: “It helps you focus on the bigger picture, not just how bad you feel in the moment.” (Linden basically confirmed this herself: “Today was bigger than one person,” she said post-race. “It was really all of us pushing each other.”)
Dave Paskevich, Ph.D., associate dean and associate professor of sport psychology at the University of Calgary in Canada, says this is a classic example of disassociation, which essentially means Linden may have stopped thinking about how much the race sucked and started thinking beyond the pain.
Challenge: You can help others to help yourself by making a run date for a few miles to start a run with a slower runner in your neighborhood. A warm up for you and a boost getting someone else out.
Find ways to help yourself by helping others. Other ideas include pacing someone at a race or for a workout, volunteering at a race, asking someone to join you for a workout, sharing your struggles, we are all human.
This post is worth a read as you create your running goals and plans for the upcoming months.
It addresses these 4 key areas:
---Problem #1: Winners and losers have the same goals.
"Every Olympian wants to win a gold medal. Every candidate wants to get the job. And if successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals, then the goal cannot be what differentiates the winners from the losers."
---Problem #2: Achieving a goal is only a momentary change.
---Problem #3: Goals restrict your happiness.
---Problem #4: Goals are at odds with long-term progress.
"Many runners work hard for months, but as soon as they cross the finish line, they stop training. The race is no longer there to motivate them. When all of your hard work is focused on a particular goal, what is left to push you forward after you achieve it? This is why many people find themselves reverting to their old habits after accomplishing a goal."
Your challenge for today is thinking through not only your race goals, but your systems for long term success.
Today's challenge is to measure your cadence as part of deliberate practice.
Warm up inside with 5 minutes of dynamic stretches or mobility work.
FOR THE RUN: Warm up with 15 minutes easy conversational pace. Continue the warm up with 5 minutes, same warm up pace with 5X15 second pick ups thrown in to build your HR and to open up your stride and perfect form.
-Set a timer for one minute.
-Run at your usual pace.
-Count how many times your right foot strikes the ground during that one minute.
-Multiply that number by two to find your cadence.
Retest to ensure your counting was accurate.
Most GPS watches also count cadence. If you have a watch that records cadence you can use historical data to check on your cadence.
Finish your run and then time to look at your data. Is it worth modifying your cadence to make it faster or is your cadence too low??
To learn more about cadence and for a wonderful running resource, get the book Running Rewired by Jay Dicharry, a PT in Bend, OR. Here is an excerpt, Improving Cadence.
"Before you set out to increase your cadence, there are a few important points you’ll want to keep in mind.
First, running with your existing cadence is reflexive. Your brain has wired and trained your body to use that gait pattern. Modifying this pattern requires your brain to do a huge amount of work to override your reflexive gait. If you force too high of a turnover the result will be an oddly short and choppy run as your brain overthinks your turnover. While this strategy can reduce the stress to your joints, it costs significantly more energy to run this way. Through training it is possible to improve your gait, but it should be done gradually.
This brings us to the mythical optimal cadence. Many tout the idea of 180 steps a minute as the gold standard. Some research does support 180 as an average optimal value, but not everyone’s average. So it serves as a nice reference point, but it’s not absolute. Your optimal cadence depends on your muscle fiber type, limb length, tendon density, terrain, and speed. World records have been achieved at cadences between 172 and 212 steps per minute. I wouldn’t stress about where you fall in this range or how close your cadence is to 180.
Then who should make efforts to adjust their cadence? If your cadence is less than 170 at a moderate pace, it is worth your time to improve it a bit.
Rather than struggle to hit 180, try to increase it by 5 to 10 percent at a time. Research has shown that this smaller percentage increase provides benefits to your joints without compromising economy. Likewise, it’s beneficial to monitor your cadence over longer runs. It’s normal to have some variation of approximately 5 percent during a run at a given pace. If your cadence drops from 176 to 160 toward the end of your weekly long run, it’s a sign that your form is vastly different when fatigued.
Log your cadence in both runs and races in your training journal for a month, and look for patterns in both. If your racing cadence is always higher than your training cadence, you should start to practice what you preach on race day and ensure your nervous system with higher cadence runs during the week. Likewise, if you are one of the runners we mentioned above who just can’t stride out at race pace with a lower racing cadence, it’s time to unlock your form to ensure you can get the pendulum to swing out behind you at speed.
Be mindful of your cadence, but don’t be a slave to it."
"Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance." - James Clear and he continues...
"Perhaps the greatest difference between deliberate practice and simple repetition is this: feedback...
The first effective feedback system is measurement. The things we measure are the things we improve. This holds true for the number of pages we read, the number of pushups we do, the number of sales calls we make, and any other task that is important to us. It is only through measurement that we have any proof of whether we are getting better or worse.
The second effective feedback system is coaching. One consistent finding across disciplines is that coaches are often essential for sustaining deliberate practice. In many cases, it is nearly impossible to both perform a task and measure your progress at the same time. Good coaches can track your progress, find small ways to improve, and hold you accountable to delivering your best effort each day."
Training Peaks has so many metrics you can track and when using HR you can look at progress around aerobic function, cadence, pace at specific HRs, etc. Uncertain on how to use TP to track progress? Ask during office hours TONIGHT!
For your run today, how can you go from mindless jogging to a run where you are deliberately working on a specific skill? You can do this with cadence drills, strides, hill sprints or holding a specific aerobic HR to test pace so you can retest it again on the same course in 4-6 weeks. Go out with purpose.
In this October Running Reboot we have talked about making warm ups a habit, incorporating drills and fueling better for runs. All of these changes are easy to SAY you will do but harder to make habits. Enter HABIT STACKING. Habit stacking is when you pair one habit that you are already doing with a habit you are trying to make stick. An example of habit stacking would be to pair morning coffee with adding in a small snack. This could mean putting your morning snacks next to the coffee or your mug. This stacks the habit of coffee with the habit of a small snack. In the case of putting the snack next to the mug, this is making the habit VISIBLE. Another example may be wanting to incorporate a warm up before each run but you always forget. One way to do make the habit more visible is to keep a mini band inside your shoes when you aren't wearing them so you must take it out before you run. That band is your reminder and you can use it to warm up pre-run and when you get back you put the band back. Then you have a stacked habit super visible as a way to remind you so you don't warm up once and forget all about it.
Your challenge is to run today with a new habit and set it up to repeat tomorrow. Set up your run for TOMORROW by setting out clothes tonight if you are a morning runner. If you are an evening runner, laying out clothes AND a snack while also packing a big water bottle for work will help you not have a headache, not have the hangry excuse and not have to waste time finding the right clothes.
And if you use the mini band as your warm up for runs, find a routine here:
Since this week has been all things nutrition, this podcast fits right in there. Some great stuff contained and interesting lessons.
"Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee was part of the most recent and most rigorous testing of the low-carb high-fat diet, which took him straight to the top of his sport. Just not for the reasons everyone expected."
This next recommendation isn't about nutrition at all, but it is a great listen and their description is just gold.
"This is a story about your butt. It’s a story about how you got your butt, why you have your butt, and how your butt might be one of the most important and essential things for you being you, for being human. "
Today your challenge is to think about RECOVERY FUELING. Recovery fueling is the calories you take in after a 90 minute bout of exercise, that are ideally consumed within 30 minutes of stopping exercise.
If you drive to a trail head, you likely need to have snacks in the car for afterwards. EVEN if the trailhead is in town.
The team at IRunFar and ultrarunner/PhD in Sports Nutrition Stephanie Howe teamed up to bring you the basics on run fueling.
“Nutrition in the post-exercise period is critical for recovery [after long or hard runs],” begins Magda Boulet, an Olympic marathoner turned ultrarunner who works in research at Gu Energy and who has a master’s in exercise physiology. “Your recovery meal should include quality protein to maximize protein synthesis rates, speed recovery, and promote muscle repair. As important, the consumption of carbohydrate will maximize glycogen synthesis to prepare for the next workout.”
"To elaborate, your body has an increased capacity for synthesizing carbohydrate back into your muscles and liver in the 30 to 60 minutes immediately after exercise. If you’ve gone on a run during which you’ve depleted a significant amount of your body’s glycogen stores, use this window to replenish."
Post run fueling will not only help you have more energy post run but will help you for your next run. I recommend post run fueling including 20g of protein and 60+g of carbs on any run 90 minutes or more.
One idea is to have a thermos for bringing a protein shake or smoothie to the trailhead. Your challenge is to come up with ideas for long run recovery foods (including from local coffee shops or your favorite bakery) so when you need to prep for a weekend run you have the ideas at your finger tips.
For a long time I was prescribing nutrition to athletes in calories per hour, recommending 100-150 calories every 30 minutes. This mostly worked except for some athletes fueling with real foods where carbs were too low. Now I recommend fueling in grams of carbs so I am sure fueling is accomplishing the goal, glycogen to the muscles and not too much bulk to feel overly full or cause GI issues.
Examples of carbs and calories in some ultra foods:
One serving of Rice Krispy Treats. 90 calories and 17g of carbs.
One serving of string cheese. 70 calories, 1g of carbs.
Picky Bar, Chai and Catch Me flavor. 190 calories, 24g of carbs
Peanut butter pretzels. 140 calories, 13g of carbs.
In foods that may appear the same there still may be differences in the number of carbs contained in the package. Here is an example. Spring Energy has multiple gel style offerings I put into the category of real food gels.
One flavor, Awesomesauce comes in 54g sized packets and has 180 cals and 45g of carbs.
Another flavor Canaberry is in a similar size packet, but is less dense at 46g in size. One packet of this flavor is 100 calories and 17g of carbs.
If you were a user of these gels it may be easy to interchange them, but one has way more carbs for the size. Also, for less than double the amount of calories, there is over double the amount of carbs.
Check your packages and make sure you are not just looking at size of the pack or calories but are looking at carb count.
"Guidelines 10 years ago stated that carbohydrate intake during exercise should be 30-60 grams per hour, this developed to intakes of 90 g/h in some situations, but recently a paper was published that suggested intakes of 120 g/h in mountain marathon runners."
"Runners find it hard to ingest carbohydrate during running, perhaps because they are not used to it. Studies show they could benefit from higher intakes."
I recommend that on runs longer than 2 hours, athletes fuel every 30 minutes with 25-30g of carbs at each feeding and working up from there as tolerated for events longer than 6 hours especially.
Increased carbohydrate intake during exercise not only leads to better performance but also leads to reduced muscle damage.
To prepare for your next run of over 2 hours, take a look at your running fuel and count the number of carbs you normally have, is it enough? Is it time to start adding fuel to your long runs for better performance?
Need some inspiration in the kitchen? Here is a great book for food on the go.
Here is a sample recipe from the book.