Our body creates energy through converting what we eat into Adenosine Triphosphate – ATP. The break down is one molecule of Adenosine and three molecules of phosphate. When we use a molecule of phosphate ATP is converted to Adenosine Diphosphate – ADP which is Adenosine and two molecules of phosphate and this allows energy to be released.
We have 3 energy systems to help our bodies to function:
ATP- CP System – Anaerobic Alactic System
Anaerobic Glycolysis – Lactic System
This system does not use oxygen or produce lactic acid
This system is used for powerful movements and usually last 1-15 seconds
This system would be used when sprinting
This system provides energy by breaking down glycogen which creates lactic acid and helps replenish ATP
This system does not use oxygen
This system is generally used for 15-90 seconds of activity
This system uses oxygen which creates little or no lactic acid
This system is used for activities above 90 seconds
A distance runner would predominately use this system
Our energy systems align with what we eat. So eating the right foods leading up to a race, or event is extremely important to guarantee our best energy output. Our bodies use carbohydrates to create ATP, however we can only store limited amounts. If our bodies can get better at using fats as fuels it will also help with our endurance, as we are able to store a lot more fats that glucose (carbs). This is why I strongly recommend Zone 2 training – for more information please refer to my Zone 2 guide 🙂
Shin splints more commonly known as medial tibial stress syndrome in runners is extremely common. It is quite often caused by overuse in the Tibialis Anterior muscle. The Tibialis anterior originates from the Lateral condyle and proximal lateral shaft of the tibia and it inserts at the base of metatarsal 1 and medial cuneiform. It is responsible for dorsiflexion and inversion of the foot.
Dorsiflexion is when you lift your foot in a direction that draws the toes closer to your body.
Inversion is when you tilt the sole of your foot towards the midline of your body.
Quite often downhill running will cause shin splints – I experienced very shore shins after my race recently as it was mostly downhill. It can also be caused by flat feet, running on hard surfaces, incorrect running technique or wearing improper shoes.
To help prevent Shin Splints strengthening and stretching will help.
· Strengthening the Hips
· Strengthen you calf muscles, both Gastrocnemius and Soleus – Calf raises, knee bent and straight to hit both muscles
· Stretch your calf muscles, both Gastrocnemius and Soleus
· Stretch your Tibialis Anterior and Plantar Facia
You should also make sure you are fitted for proper shoes, build your distance and speed gradually, cross train and work on your running form.
If you think you may have shin splints, quite often resting and icing the area will help, avoid any impact exercises until the area has healed. If it continues to bother you please see a professional.
I wanted to spend some time talking about Zone 2 training, recovery runs or easy runs. I feel zone 2 training is very important for any endurance athlete.
I have read many articles and most would recommend 60 to 70% of your training time be spent in Zone 2.
So what is zone 2? Depending on what heart rate method you follow could differ the results slightly. However just to simplify things I will use the standard method of: (220-age)×.60 to .70 For a 35 year old we would see the follow results. 220-35=185 185×.6=111 and 185×.7=129.5. That would put their heart rate between 111 and 129.5
Through my personal experience I have found it quite difficult to keep my heart rate in zone 2. However the more I work at it the easier it becomes. When I start to go into zone 3 I will drop into a walk to bring my heart rate down.
Zone 2 training training will generally recruit fat for it’s primary energy source. This makes it less reliant on Carbohydrates. We also use our slow twitch muscle fibers. Why is this important? Our slow twitch muscles are responsible for lactate clearance and transferring it to the mitochondria where it can be reused as energy.
Zone 2 training will also increase your aerobic endurance which I would think any runner would be glad to have.
With any type of training you need to find what works best for you. When I do a zone 2 session I like to take advantage of my slower pace to work on my running form and breathing I recently found this helpful when I ran a 10km race I got a personal best as I was able to control my heart rate better than I had in the past.
Today was only a short run but I wanted to show you my heart rate graph . As you can see below I did some into my zone 3 but every time I did I slowed down my pace and worked on my breathing. I should mention to that my pace is about 2min per km higher however the more I do this the more I improve.
Good luck everyone 😀 if you currently use this method of training or are going to try it is love to hear your feedback.