Sears Training Tip #9 – Run With Intention

The Sears Great Canadian Run is less about getting faster, pushing limits, and testing your legs but more about raising awareness and funds for a great cause. But that doesn’t mean you cannot push yourself to get a little faster. Consider using the Run as a foundation to run a PB* in 5k, 10k or half marathon this fall

Purposeful Practice

Most people have heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, a book about what ordinary people do to become extraordinary. Generally a combination of natural talent, a desire to succeed and work ethic is what separates the ordinary and the extraordinary. A portion of the book is dedicated to the 10,000 hour rule; the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something.

10,000 hours!!! That is 416.7 days or 59.5 weeks or 1 year, 7 weeks, 12 hours, 34 min and 17 seconds of doing one thing!

Matthew Syed further explores the notion of the 10,000 hour rule in his book Bounce. In Bounce Syed speaks about ‘purposeful practice,’ to get better at something you have to practice with intention, ‘practice is the only path to excellence.’

(I highly recommend both books.)

Creating Purpose on Your Run

By now most of you are able to complete the distance for your part of the relay. The goal now is to try and do it faster.

How are you going to get faster? It’s not a matter of going out and running your relay distance ad fast and as hard as you can every time. With some well thought out training you can bring down your times more easily than you might think.

Some speed increasing ideas:

  1. Hills: add some hill repeats to your run. These should be done after a slight warm up or toward the end of your run. Try and find a hill between 30 and 60 seconds long (depending on how hard you want to push yourself) with a plateau at the top. Train yourself to run through the top of the hill for about 5 seconds across the plateau
  2. Intervals: there are lots of interval ideas on the training plans. Try anything from 200m repeats with 45 seconds rest to mile repeats with 3 minutes rest.
  3. Accelerations: also known as strides. From standing you ‘accelerate’ to 70% of your maximum speed. Do 4-6 of these at the end of every other run
  4. Tempo: on one of your runs pick up the pace in the middle for 10-20 minutes. Pick a pace you can sustain for the entire 10-20 minutes

Another handy place for some training ideas are the 5-10k and 10k+ training plans I put together earlier in the year. Both of these are posted in the Training Tips section of The Run website.

Getting faster and challenging yourself is a good way to avoid the running blues.

* PB~personal best in runners speak