A perfect cloudy day greeted everyone. After an easy mile warm up and some drills we were all ready to attack the hills this morning.
Two kinds of hills with three ways to run them lie in wait. The research that has been done on the effects of hill training have distilled it all down to running longer (400-1000m) reps on a gradual incline (3% grade). The ideal pace for those longer reps is to match your 5K race pace. Even if you are a bit sluggish on time, the effort should be at that level. The second hill is a steeper incline (6-8%) and running shorter reps (75-200 meters) OR bounding uphill on the steeper grade for 20-40 seconds. But like almost every aspect of this demanding sport these must be integrated gradually and you must read your body on what it can handle – too much too soon yields injuries.
We chatted later about downhill running. You don’t get good at running downhill unless you practice at it. It is not natural. And even though gravity works equally on us and facilitates zooming down hills, some will zoom faster. Those will be the ones who learn proper technique for downhill running. If it is long and gradual downhill, lengthening your stride will help you run faster to a degree as long as you don’t over stride. The real key to fast down hill running in cross country type hills is fast turnover slightly shorter strides.
Capture the Flag was intense. Everyone’s competitive spirit came alive. Our evenly matched teams battled for two superbly played games. This was a great supporting workout to the hill work earlier in the day. Fast sprints with casual running around interspersed with some standing around for recovery – all on a grassy surface. Awesome!
Every game played this week is designed with multiple goals in mind.
1. Continue to build aerobic capacity.
2. Develop muscles, tendons, and connective tissue in support of running.
3. Introduce active recovery (as opposed to laying around on a couch thinking you’ll recover faster) as a means of enhancing recovery for the next workout.
4. Develop core strength in support of proper running form.
Oh and by the way, it can be fun and still help condition you.
This afternoon’s mental game discussion was on irrational beliefs. These thought patterns lead us down paths of mental disasters. They can be summarized as:
- Perfectionistic Thinking
- Worst Case Thinking
- Worth Depends on Achievement
- Self-Conscious Behavior
- Negative Self-Labels
- All or Nothing Thinking
- Disqualifying the Positive
We clarified and defined each and then discussed how to dispute those irrational beliefs.
Tonight is our last night on campus. After dinner, we were off to a casual walking tour of downtown Flagstaff.