Form drills are a great way to keep your form in check and keep you healthy. You can make the time to workout, make the time to keep injuries at bay. There is a great list of drills and how tos here: http://trackstarusa.com/best-running-form-drills/ and here: http://www.byrn.org/gtips/rundrill.htm
Ah, November. For runners, that means two things: the colder, winter, weather has finally set in, and the abundance of those time honored Turkey Trots! While the colder weather might not be something to look forward to, Turkey Trots are an awesome excuse to get out around the holidays and have a good time.
If you look around, Turkey Trots are everywhere. Peppered through out the month of November a good number of them are on Thanksgiving morning, but there are still some on the weekends before and after. Most are fairly low key, family friendly events. (And some are even canine friendly!)
We all have some sort of Thanksgiving tradition, be it a football game in the backyard or on the television, dinner at the grandparents, pumpkin pie, goose, or some other random event. This year, think about adding to the season’s festivities. Take a look at the calender and get your family and friends involved.
Some Vermont and New Hampshire Trots (Fairly certain it’s complete):
Nov 14 – Middlebury Turkey Trot and Gobble Wobble, 5k/10k, Middlebury, VT
Nov 15 – Feed the Need Predict Your Time 5k Turkey Trot, Stratham, NH
Nov 15 – Charlestown Turkey Strut 5k+Chili Cook off, Charlestown, NH
Nov 22 – Fair Haven Union High School Turkey Trot, Fair Haven, VT
Nov 22 – Milford Turkey Chase, Milford, NH
Nov 22 – Plymouth Turkey Trot, Plymouth, NH
Nov 22 – Turkey Trot 5k, Wolfeboro, NH
Nov 23 – Hanover Turkey Trot, Hanover, NH
Nov 23 – Castleton’s Mens XC Turkey Trot, 1mi, 5k, 15k, Castleton, VT
Nov 27 – The Edge Fitness Center 5-K9 Turkey Trot, Brownsville, VT
Nov 27 – Zack’s Place Turkey Trot, Woodstock, VT
Nov 27 – Gobble Gobble Wobble 5K, Stratton, VT
Nov 27 – Jarred Williams Turkey Trot 10k/5k, Richmond, VT
Nov 27 – Running of the Turkeys, Arlington, VT
Nov 27 – GMAA Turkey Trot 5k, Burlington, VT
Nov 27 – Edgar May Thanksgiving Day 5k, Springfield, VT
Nov 27 – Killington 5k Turkey Trot, Killington, VT
Nov 27 – Bow Police Association Turkey Trot 5k, Bow, NH
Nov 27 – Dover Turkey Trot 5k, Dover, NH
Nov 27 – Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5k, Manchester, NH
Nov 27 – GDTC Turkey Trot Road Race 5k, Derry, NH
Nov 27 – Gilford Youth Center Turkey Trot 5k, Gilford, NH
Nov 27 – Great Gobbler Thanksgiving 5k, Nashua, NH
Nov 27 – Lake Sunnapee Turkey Trot, Sunnapee, NH
Nov 27 – Purity Spring Thanksgiving Day 5k, Madison, NH
Nov 27 – Merrimack Rotary Turkey Trot, Merrimack, NH
Nov 27 – Portsmouth Seacoast Rotary’s 5K Turkey Trot, Portsmouth, NH
Nov 27 – Rochester Runners Free Fall 5K, Rochester, NH
Nov 27 – Severance Wilderness 3 Mile Trail Run, Whitefield, NH
Nov 27 – Turkey Trot 5K, Northwood, NH
Nov 27 – Windham Turkey Trot, Windham, NH
Nov 28 – Strafford Nordic Center Turkey Trot, Strafford, VT
Nov 29 – Okemo Trot it Off 5K, Okemo, VT
Nov 30 – Louise Roomet Turkey Lane Turkey Trot, Hinesburg, VT
When I started running, I ran three seasons: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. For much of the year, one season bled into another. Outdoor started as soon as indoor ended, and cross country ended after indoor started. I remember trying to convince our coach to let us take a week off, but we never did. We kept running, from August to the beginning of June. Sure there were periods of higher intensity, higher volume miles, but time off didn’t really exist.
Often times I’ll hear someone speaking of burn out. Of pushing too hard for too long and not being able to go any more. (Geoff Roes is a perfect example.) Most of the time, for the purely recreational runner, true burn out isn’t something we’re faced with, but there will be races that we fail miserably. We’ll look back at the miles we’ve put up for a year or two, the miles and hours we’ve logged and we won’t be able to figure out what the hiccup is about, and more often than not, we can’t figure it out.
The difference: The Off-Season. In high school and college, there is a sort of built in off-season. When outdoor track was over, school was essentially over and the summer began. We were supposed to run, and we did from time to time, but it came in floes, and more often than not, our attentions were turned to other thigns: frisbee, soccer, hiking, camping. What we didn’t realize at that time was that the summer provided a much needed off-season. It was a time when our bodies could take a break from the grinding workouts. Our muscles could relax and do something different. Even our minds needed it.
Unfortunately, as an adult, the world is a little different. There is no built in off-season to go relax and play frisbee for three hours with your friends, or take a week and go hike a bunch of mountains. Life brings with it many obligations, and it seems like many runners forget about the obligation to themselves to take time away. We go from one race to the next, one plan to the next. Fall races lead into a Christmas or New Years races, and before we know it we’re training for our first spring race.
It’s also important to understand that “off-season” doesn’t simply mean “go sit on your couch, eat cheese balls, drink beer, and watch the game on the TV.” That would be detrimental. Instead use the off-season to work on different aspects of your running. Cut down on volume, and lower the intensity of your workouts. Do 75% of your miles slower than your easy pace. Go out of your way not to push. Keep your muscles loose and in shape, but don’t kill them, let them recover. Do some form drills, do some mini-circuits. But force yourself to go easy.
Every runner needs an off-season. Some more frequently than others, but the key to a long and healthy running career is in those easy off-season miles. I promise.
If you are a committed runner, triathlete or any athlete for that matter you know what a day off feels like. Then there is the second day, third and fourth day off. Those days are hard to deal with. Maybe something came up at work, or home or you got sick and needed to take a few days off, no matter the reason looking back at the training log and seeing empty spots stacked up on empty slots is painful. We all go through it and how we deal with it affects our subsequent training and races.
In the last two months I was diagnosed as anemic, got a sinus infection and prescribed antibiotics that destroyed me and my training, found a lump in my neck, had to get a series of tests done and now am waiting to have it surgically removed. As a result my training as been spotty (and that is generous). I had to bail out of running a marathon and several shorter races that I had planned on running. The last two months have been incredibly hard to take.
What works best for me is to find something else to focus on. That is actually how I got started in triathlons. I was suffering from recurring injury from running and had to find something else to keep me active and training. It can be anything you want and find satisfying. An athlete I work with has had multiple stress fractures in her hip so she cant run as much as she wants to so she has found different video workouts to follow that enable her to maintain strength and cardio with lower miles. As a result she recently ran her fastest 5k since high School (12 years ago).
Don’t dwell on the fact that you cant run. Use it as an opportunity to try new things and experiment you may end up stronger and faster than you were before. You can even plug new things into your training log so you wont have to stare at blank spots any more.