Canadian Running

Training Zone

Keeping Your “House” Tidy

- By Matt Shepard

There are a lot of tricks, strategies and science behind the workouts you’ll find on the Internet, but for the majority of runners, these things can be made much simpler. Imagine your body as a house, and running as being like having friends over for a visit. The harder the run, the more guests you’re planning to entertain. For example, a Sunday easy run would be like hosting a few close friends for lunch, and a 50-mile race would be like a house party. Hosting the party would obviously require a lot more advance planning than the lunch – it will involve snacks and beverages, decoration­s, music selection and tidying up beforehand. And when you’re done, you’ll likely be left with a sizeable mess.

You want to be ready to welcome guests any time they drop by, so in addition to planning and preparing for big events, you’ll want to spend a little time each day tidying up your place. Looking at fitness this way will help you develop great body-maintenanc­e habits, and you’ll always be ready to “entertain.” As you grow to enjoy longer distances, you may end up having guests who stay overnight, or even for a few days. If you want to keep your guests happy, you must learn how to keep your house tidy while they are still around. Being the magnificen­t host that you are, you want to ensure that your guests are getting sufficient rest, having fun and are well fed for the duration of their stay. Practising these skills will help you plan your greatest party ever!

Shoring up the foundation

Easy-pace running should make up 70 to 80 per cent of our weekly volume. Reimagine the easy run as having your best friend drop in. You don’t need to feel pressure with this guest – a quick tidy, and you’re ready. You’re so comfortabl­e with them that they could arrive any time and you’d welcome them with open arms. You can use them as a guinea pig to really dial in your party-hosting skills. Try out new snacks and beverages, curate a playlist or test-run a new outfit. (Notice that these could be metaphoric­al or not.) You’ll be spending a lot of time with this friend, so be sure to make the most of it.

Time to renovate?

Let’s take a look at your house’s structural tolerance, or your body’s ability to handle the potential “guest list” for your “house party.” Strength training can help you expand, providing guests with their own comfortabl­e room (rather than having them huddled together in a studio apartment). Strength-building exercises (such as skater bounds, goblet squats, single-leg deadlifts, planks, deadbugs and high-knees lunges), when done twice a week, will help you build up that extra space for your guests and keep the space well maintained between visitors. (Start with bodyweight and slowly increase resistance over the first few weeks.)

Daily maintenanc­e

Any time we have guests come to visit, we may be left with a few extra dishes or some vacuuming – and the more frequently we entertain, the more this becomes part of our routine. This is the general maintenanc­e we do to keep our bodies healthy. We can keep our house tidy with some yoga stretches (such as child’s pose), a 90-90 hip stretch or runner’s lunges, and some myofascial release with the foam roller. Giving yourself time to focus on recovery techniques will help you become more in tune with your needs. Then, while out on the trail, you can better understand how to interpret the cues and indicators that your body may need attention.

Matt “Shep” Shepard is a elite Canadian-American ultrarunne­r and strength coach who truly believes anything is possible, and he is on a mission to try it all. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @go_shep.

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