Durability- Flexibility- Adaptability

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For many years, the late Noel Carroll, Olympian, Coach and Running Guru, contributed regular Training Tips to Irish Runner Magazine, writes Frank Greally. Many of those Training Tips are still timely and worth sharing.

Durability- Flexibility- Adaptability

By Noel Carroll

Training for running is a constant learning curve and I’d like to share three things in particular that I have learned over the past decade: durability, flexibility and adaptability.

Let’s take durability. I learned that to run on grass is better than to run on the road. I learned that to train on the track is good for performance but bad for the body. I learned that rest is part of training and many things other than running can tire a runner.

 I learned that being durable or long-lasting if you like, is working to offset the weaknesses as they arise, taking care without necessarily being cautious and thinking your way back through setbacks and not trying harder when going nowhere.

On flexibility. I learned that you can’t rely on natural ‘sap’ to keep you loose. Maybe as a teenager the bounce comes naturally and you move in the groove without much loose. However, as you get older your body does tighten up and particularly if sprinting and speedwork is neglected for the sake of  distance training.

Use determines function, so it is critical, I found, to keep the body functioning at the outer limits of pace all the time. Flexibility exercises are a great help here but I  feel a runner should keep speedwork as part of the training program all the time.

I place growing importance on adaptability. Runners have to adapt to the climate, the location, the time of day, the family life that surrounds them, the current state of their health and so on.

For some strange reason I find runners taking on the system they find themselves in rather than adapting to it. There are many hours in the day, many places to run and many opportunities that are free of hassle and conflict.

I have developed a lunchtime training routine myself to suit my job, family and commitments. When I go on holidays I pick the least disruptive time to do my training run. I adapt. So here’s to Durability, Flexibility and Adaptability.

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