Training newsletter

Hi Windmilers! Pasted below is the training email sent out yesterday. If you would like to receive this in your inbox just go to your account and opt in. Thank you! Kate 


Hello fellow Windmilers, and firstly hope you are all healthy and have survived the first week of lockdown as well as can be expected. And stay in touch please! If you have any questions about training, please do post on
Facebook or get in touch. And for that matter, if you have questions that aren’t about training but might find helpful answers with your friendly local running community, then ditto.

Now, to training. As I mentioned last time, now is not the time for intense training. Even if you feel 100% well and are raring to go, pace yourself. Realistically it’s a long time until any of us will get to race again so there’s just nothing to be gained from pushing yourself too hard. Personally, all my running - set by my coach Tom Craggs who some of you have
met when he took the Windmiler track session a few months ago - has been relatively unstructured and the highest intensity has just been some 100m strides or a bit of tempo.

However, it’s also always good to have variety in your runs. So here are some suggested runs for you to do this week. Of COURSE don’t run unless you feel up to it, only once a day, and be very aware of other people (I’m sure
you are all anyway). I’m finding that running in the roads is actually much easier than the parks as there are far fewer people to safely distance yourself from. If you do these two sessions at best times for you during the week, then all your other runs should be at 'easy' pace, whatever that is for you.



These are the perfect runs to do at the moment. Firstly, you can make sure your ‘efforts’ are somewhere well away from other people. Secondly, you don’t need anything other than a stopwatch/watch. The idea is simply to add
in faster intervals within a steady run. Norman sent a great article with loads of different fartlek sessions to do and I’m sure he can post that in full but this one struck me as relatively simple:

Mona Fartlek (named by Australian runner Steve Monaghetti)
Total: 50 minutes
Warm up for 15 minutes
90 seconds hard, 90 seconds easy x 2
60 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy x 4
30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy x 4
15 seconds hard, 15 seconds easy x 6
Cool down for 15 minutes

If that looks a bit complicated to remember just remember the interval durations come down each time (90/60/30/15) and you can always just do the same number of reps rather than the 2/4/4/6 pattern.


Progressive run

The art of the progression run is one I’ve never entirely mastered (especially the truly evil marathon ones where you have to get faster and faster through 20-something miles. Ugh!) but it’s a great run to do when you aren’t sure how you are going to feel until you get out there. Feel good? Then very gradually just pick up the pace, ideally aiming to run each
mile slightly faster than the last. Don’t pick up speed too quickly or that becomes really difficult! If you manage this, then you’ve done the progression Royal Flush which looks very pleasing on a chart - eg this example -


Strength and conditioning work

My sanity so far has been saved by attending a record (for me) number of gym classes, via Zoom in my living room. My kids do daily classes, I’ve been doing pilates, yoga, flexibility, boxing.. You name it. If nothing else, I’m going to come out of this with a core of steel. I’ve got a long way to go with the flexibility though - I am writing this while watching my
youngest do Cosmic Kids Harry Potter yoga, and if I got into some of those bends, I’d require emergency services to get out again. Pilates, though, is fantastic for runners and I thoroughly recommend doing an online class where you can see the demonstrations in real time, and they can (if you use Zoom etc) see you. Many of the big apps or sites are doing free trials at the moment - eg Gymondo - so take advantage (and remember to unsubscribe before
you pay if you don’t like it!)



Kinetic Rev
A few of you are already doing Kinetic Rev’s James Dunne’s 30 day
challenge so why not join in and compare notes?

Plank challenge
Those of you who come to track regularly will know I am a bit obsessed with
the world plank record. Please do not attempt to break this ;) But you could
try this 30 day challenge. Planks are of course not the be all and end all of
core exercises but they are fairly simple to do and it takes a minute or two
of your time, so why not? We’ve probably all got plenty of that now …

Cross training
There are also a million different workouts online if you don’t want to go
out at all. I hope you will forgive me for posting this one as I’m
connected with the Running Channel but this is a really good 20 minute
workout that you can do in your front room with zero equipment:


And finally some wise words from Steve:

A Few Mindfulness-Based Resources to Combat COVID-19 – Part 2

Mindful Walking

In lock-down? Self-isolating? Under curfew? Mindful walking, perhaps, offers us a way to avoid going stir crazy. Walking has been a meditative practice for centuries. In the Zen tradition it is known as kinhin and in Buddhism parikrama or pradakshina. In both traditions the practice involves walking clockwise in a circle with the steps co-ordinated with the breath. In modern—day secular mindfulness we take a slightly more free-form approach – walking up and down in a straight line, clockwise and anti-clockwise around a room, in a figure of eight, backwards as well as forwards… For runners it offers an opportunity to develop both focus and bodily awareness.

The Practice

Usually, when we walk we’re trying to get somewhere or to leave something behind. In these circumstances, walking is a means to an end, and our thoughts and feelings are often caught up with where we’re going and where we’ve been, with the future and the past, rather than focused on the act of walking, on the process, on the present. And perhaps we’re also using it as time to catch-up on emails, the news, phone calls, list making… anxious with fear of missing out, of being left behind.

We’re walking on autopilot. Striving towards an objective or away from discomfort.

In a mindful walking meditation we’re not striving to get anywhere or to solve any problems. We’re simply walking and becoming aware of the process of walking, familiar with the felt sense of walking, with the full range of bodily sensations as our body moves in space. Thus, to begin with we don’t look at our feet and we don’t focus on our surroundings.

We start by coming to stand feet hip width apart, sensing the weight gently anchoring us to the earth, ankles mobile, knees soft, hips square, pelvis in neutral, back rising up towards the sky in its natural, graceful curve, the head effortlessly balancing on top of the spine, the crown of the head parallel to the floor – imagining a helium balloon attached to the crown maintaining the spine in alignment, the body in an upright, dignified posture. Then we begin to walk, slowly, on purpose, with curiosity and without judgement, bringing our full attention to the sensations of the feet on the ground… then moving to explore the body in motion…

Which part of the foot strikes the ground first?
How does the foot roll through from that first strike?
Which part of the foot leaves the ground last?
When the foot first strikes the ground where is it relative to your hips, to your centre of gravity?
What’s happening in your arms? Your shoulders?
Becoming curious and connected.
Once we’ve developed our felt sense of walking, walking as an anchor, we
can move on to
exploring our surroundings, to becoming directly connected to our
Then taking this awareness into our running.
Here’s a couple of guided mindful walking practices:

Mindful radio - BBC Slow Radio

An antidote to everything rushed and distracted and fractured:

This series of short programmes about a monastery provides an interesting
religious counterpoint to the secular practise of mindfulness:

Monks and meditation:
Divine love of the monastery:
Living and working in a monastery:
Wordless prayer:
The silence of the monastery:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake, Auguries of Innocence