Integrated Running

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When I started running I just went out and ran.

I had no training schedule.  I knew nothing about training, stretching, diet for runners, cross training etc etc.

I am inquisitive by nature and as I ran more I started to think that I should  start researching this sport a bit.  My first port of call was the regular running magazine publications, and they gave me insights into the sport.  Over the years I amassed a healthy collection of magazines.

I decided to cull my stack of magazines and keep the articles I thought beneficial, and developed a slim folder of useful articles.

I have also amassed a collection of books from running autobiographies to training manuals. There are also books on Yoga, Pilates, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, weight training, breathing etc. in my collection.  There is also the internet with more advice!!

All this information, and yet none is in a concise form to enable me to improve and achieve balance in my running and in life.  There is an information overload and it is easy to get swamped.

Peter Coe the father of former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe once said that an athlete may have 14 training sessions a week, but only 9 of the will be running.

The others could be weight training, cooking lessons, family time and sleep! 

This is an integrated approach. 

Picking out a training schedule from a magazine or book, and following it without thinking about the rest of your life and who you are will not make the best of your ability. 

Yes you will make progress if you have not previously had a structured programme, but it can also have problems. 

What happens if a run is scheduled and it coincides with a family night. do you sacrifice the family night for your run, and accept the resentment that it may cause or do you have an approach that blends family time with your goals. 

I have yet to talk about numbers, races, weekly mileage etc. that is because balance and non running factors come first. 

Schedules first can lead to a myopic approach. Get the foundations right and the performances will follow. It will allow the individual to weather the storms or disruptions that will inevitably come and allow you to move through them until they receed.

Examples are:

The scientific community will tell you that the best way to train is run for "X" minutes at "Y" pace, but quite often they will not telll you when to do it or for how long to do it for.

A report from a dietician may say eat product "Z", but what happens if you do not like it or worse have an allergy to it.  What then?

You must stretch regularly shouts somebody, another says no you do not need to.  Who is right?

Cross training is the way to go! Another says "it is not specific to running".  Who is right?

These examples show how assimilating bite size pieces of information can lead to a haphazard approach.  The advice does not taken into account the individuality of the athlete, and the way they respond to training and life in general.

To achieve one's best, running should be considered as only a part of an individuals life.  It should be balanced with the rest i.e. an intergrated approach.

I hope to give specific advice and also provoke the reader to think and seek out what works for them too.

Through advice and experimentation they will be able to find out the approach that gives them their own form of integrated running.

With this I hope they will be winning with running and in life.