Coach T's Corner



Run like a “Puppet”, not like a” Muppet”


It's great to see people putting on a pair of shoes and heading out the door for 10-30 minutes of enjoyable running. Greystones, along the Murragh and even along the Bray seafront are often packed with people struting their stuff and enjoying themselves while they do it. As a Coach, I can’t help myself observing the various different running styles that are around these days.

However, I would just like to share with you some tips that I have picked up over the years. It might even prevent you from getting injured and possibly increase your speed and performance going forward and, who knows, you might even hit that magic P.B. time you have been dreaming about.


I found that there are a lot of ways to help you develop as an athlete/runner. By changing your running style, may be even investing in suitable equipment i.e. the right running shoes, you can achieve great improvements to your time and performance. Most shops now can test your style by using video analysis and foot pads, which test out your gait and see how you are landing and offer you the best shoe that offers you comfort and performance without reducing the power output.

However, I believe that you need to go back to basics first. “Form & Core”

Imagine that someone is holding a string over your head “i.e. like a Puppeteer” His job is to pull the string taught, thus causing the body posture to return to a strong and upright position. Most runners slouch or sit back and just go through the motions; the long term effect is that they end up getting back pain or, in some cases, injured. Core fitness is one of the key areas that are neglected by most athletes, runners or joggers.


The key areas that you need to work on are the head, shoulders, arms, hips, legs and feet. The end results will be to help you move in a forward not upward direction. This will translate to you running more efficiently and of course achieve some better running times.


The head should feel comfortable, not strained in any way, this will set up the whole body for an enjoyable run or race, Try if possible not to look up too much, imagine you are looking at the horizon, and just slightly tilt the head downwards, now you have got it to a T. If your neck is tense it will cause the upper back to get sore and will then move to the shoulders and finally to the lower back.


The shoulders should always feel relaxed and comfortable for efficient performance. If the shoulders are too tense the body will struggle. Be careful not to bring the shoulder up too much or let them sag, try if possible not to over rotate them, you are looking to go forward not from side to side.


The arms play a vital role and assist you with balance when descending, working in harmony with your legs to assist with the propulsions of the body in a forward motion. I have observed so many people aggressively swinging their arms from side to side, which causes the hips to rotate and this in turn causes the body to over stride to the side. Remember we are looking to go forward when we run.


Your core needs to be firm and your body needs to be upright and strong, This will help you finish the race while other athletes form goes out the window, Try and do some Pilates or yoga classes, or develop your own strength and conditioning set, to include the following… planks, press ups , sit ups, lunges. These will help you develop you core. I know that there are some great S & C Coaches in Wicklow that would only be happy to help you on the right track to becoming fit, healthy and a more streamlined person in 2015. Start now, don’t wait till 2016


Till the next time, Stay healthy, Keep active and be happy.

10 Tips for Training at night and early morning.

With the nights starting to get shorter and the daylight fading, we need to look at what are the best ways that we can be seen and at the same time train safe.
All Cyclists should try and light yourself up like a Christmas tree. Lights don’t cost much nowadays, around 10 euro for a set of front and back lights, and you can pick them up from your local bike shop in Bray, Greystones or Wicklow.
Get your bike serviced at regular intervals by a trained mechanic, or if you are handy test out your brakes, and give the bike a once over, fit some mudguards to the back of the bike especially in wet weather.
Always wear a helmet, and keep your eyes and ears open for foreign objects on the road, potholes and parked cars.
Respect the rules of the road; be polite to other pedestrians and car users.
Vis jacket, the best one to wear is something that lights up with the oncoming traffic, is breathable, has a great reflector on the front and back and something that falls into your budget, I know that you can pick these up for a few euros.
Try if possible to train where there are a lot of street lights or where it’s illuminated well, if it at all possible try and avoid the narrow country roads.
Always carry your mobile phone or some coins to make a phone call, some food (Gel – Bar), just in case you get hungry or lost or have some mechanical issues.
Plan your route in advance.
Be properly dressed for the training session and the weather conditions, Breathable training gear, something light, hat, gloves waterproof jacket and Lycra bottoms, not heavy tracksuit  just in case it rains. Regular T-shirts hold moisture and can lower the body temperature quicker. Wear appropriate footwear suited to the activity you are undertaking. There are good running shops in Wicklow who will advise you on the correct choice.
Let someone know that you are going training and what time you intend coming back, just to be on the safe side.
“Be seen, train safe and keep warm.”
“Happy Days “

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