In Part OneI looked at structured training, whereby one follows a specific guideline, such as how far you run, how many repetitions you do, rest periods, and degree of difficulty. This is commonly known as ‘Interval Training’, as is usually best suited to more experienced runners. It can be quite difficult too, but also very beneficial to fitness.
The opposite to this is Unstructured training, and as it suggests, is less regimented. Generally you run as you feel, or make it up as you go, which can make it more interesting and suit how you feel on the day. This may suit younger kids more as it usually provides more variety, although both types can be blended if they are training for a specific event.
The most simple form of unstructured training is just some easy, continuous runningat a pace of your choice, and going for a distance or time of your choice. An out and back run is a great way to do this as you can judge when to turn around. To make things more interesting you can add some variation of speed into these runs, which is commonly known as ‘Fartlek Running’, or ‘Speed Play’. You simply speed up whenever you feel like it, at whatever pace you like, slow down when you feel like it, and repeat this throughout the run as you feel. You can pick certain landmarks you know to start and finish, speed up during a hill, or use trees as points to change pace.
Another great way is to use games that involve running. I recently played ‘Ultimate Frisbee’ at the local park with my kids and their friends. We all found that were exhausted after about half an hour but hadn’t thought about it during the game as we were concentrating on grabbing the frisbee and scoring! We also tried it with a vortex and found that we ran even more because our throwing was alot more accurate.
I recently discovered some other new and different ways of making running more stimulating. It was during the Thredbo Running Week, which provided a whole range of activities for people of all ages and abilities. One of my favourites was the ‘Yacht Handicap’. This was a 4km run, whereby you ran without a watch and had to judge your pace and try to be back as close to the ’40 minute’ mark as possible. You could start at any time (eg, on zero minutes – and thus aim to take 40 minutes, or say on 20 minutes – and aim to take 20 minutes to complete the 4km). It was really interesting to see alot of the field start to come together close to the end and see who hit the line right on the 40 minute mark
Similarly there was the ’30 minute run’, where everyone went out for 30 minutes and turned around, aiming to be back on the hour. Again you can choose your own pace, aiming for the same pace out and back. Of course you can vary this by choosing a different turnaround time depending on age/ability etc.
There was also good old Orienteering on offer, with plenty of bushland and hills to overcome. The beauty of this event is you’re so focused on finding the markers that you forget about how hard you’re running! For those interested, there’s a summer series in Sydney, offered by Orienteering NSW, and is open to all ages and abilities, including beginners
So you can see there’s lots of ways to make running interesting and fun. All you have to do is use some imagination and creativity
Bye for now