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What can proper coaching do for you?

By | Eastside 10k, Edmonton 10k, Scotiabank Charity Challenge, Scotiabank Vancouver Half, Training Tips | No Comments

In a world where everything is available right at your fingertips, it seems normal to consult the internet for a training plan to prepare for an upcoming race.  However, these programs are cookie cutter methods based on norms that don’t take into consideration the uniqueness of the individuals that use them.  So what does proper coaching offer that a run-of-the-mill program doesn’t?

“With proper coaching, an athlete just might discover the best version of themselves, or they might start to let go of all those heavy expectations that they carry around. And through this process they will learn more about themselves. Proper coaching allows an athlete to make clear choices and carve out a path to where they want to go. Proper coaching builds the bridge between who the athlete is today, and who they will be. Proper coaching filters and flows into every area of an athlete’s life so that all of the practicing, resting, recovering, training, racing, and dreaming is purposeful. With proper coaching, we grow and get better.” – Kate Gustafson, Mile2Marathon Coaching.

Not only do coaches provide one-on-one coaching, they usually form a group of athletes that can train together.  This not only ensures that the athletes are provided guidance, but they’re also supplied with a team that gives a team-like dynamic in a very solo sport.  This community supports, pushes, and enhances those who are involved.

The words of Coach Kate from Mile2Marathon in Vancouver eloquently explains the benefit of having a coach that can guide an athlete on their running journey.  Having someone understand the ebbs and flows of the athlete’s life, commitments, vices, and dreams is crucial.  Accountability to a coach, to one’s own goals, and to the betterment of one’s skills, is something that a generalized program from the internet won’t offer.  A coach can help make the solitude of training become a camaraderie, through the rapport a coach-athlete relationship cultivates.

The importance of sleep

By | General, Training Tips | No Comments

Article by Kim Doerksen

In today’s society the value of sleep is often discounted.  Saying such as: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”; or “sleep is for the weak”, results in a negative connotation towards sleeping.  Athletes of any caliber can benefit from the simplicity of a good night’s sleep.  Between 7 to 9 hours is seen as the optimal duration to allow for psychological, physiological and physical recovery benefits.

Psychological Benefits

  • Reaction times: in running this may not seem relevant, but there are many situations where if one is in a sleep-deprived state, the consequence could be a risk of injury. For example: jumping out of the way of a distracted driver or cyclist; navigating one’s footing in the trails; or dodging out the way of other pedestrians.
  • Focus: trying to navigate your way through a workout, especially complex ones, can be difficult while in a fog.  Attention and focus on the task at hand can fly out the window if one is too tired.
  • Motivation: runners are usually self-motivated individuals, so if cumulative fatigue creeps into one’s routine, the temptation of staying in bed or doing a less strenuous task will become too much to overcome, that it will result in decreased motivation and ultimately a break in routine.

Physiological

  • The human body is an incredibly intelligent being. Many of the fundamental functions our body has in order to keep us alive, occur on a sub-conscious level.  The fine-tuned processes, like hormonal release, keep us in a balanced state and help in our sleep cycles.  Without too much detail, the body has various stages of sleep, and the hormonal release that occurs during each stage helps in one’s every day functioning.  Ignoring natural signals and forcing ourselves to stay up late; or having too much artificial light (from lamps, TV, cell phones etc.) all effect the natural release of these hormones and therefore disrupts our circadian rhythms.

Physical

  • Injury risk: many studies have shown the difference in injury risk in athletes who experience sleep-deprivation, and those who have a good sleeping routine.  Well rested?  Less injuries.  Simple as that.
  • Illness frequency: sleep allows the body to rest and rebuild after a day of training, working, and living life.  If those precious hours of rest are cut short, the body’s ability to maintain its health becomes an increasing difficult task, and can make one susceptible to getting sick.

Want a more in-depth look at the importance of sleep?  Check out this article from the National Strength & Conditioning Association.