Training For Running – Its About Your Joints, Not So Much Your Cardio

Running – you usually tend to fall into one of two camps:

  • Running feels amazing, it lets me think and de-stress, its an escape machanism


  • Running is the highest form of torture and should be given to the deepest scullians of hellspawn as punishment…….


Regardless of where you stand, let’s talk about training for running events and how you can actually get to the point of enjoying this…thing….there are plenty of science articles detailing the mechanics and biometrics behind it, as well as providing programs – I do that too, but this article is going to be short and talk some honest truths.¬† Below is the summary of this article:

  • Start very short
  • Incorporate into existing workouts
  • Actually run to train running
  • Increase slowly
  • Stretch

Yep – that’s it, you can stop reading if you like – cheers for dropping by ūüôā


Starting From Scratch:

So first thing – no-one is a natural “runner”.¬† There are body types more inclined to running sure, but we’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes run well!¬† We’ve also seen some people who you’d think would be guns, start to move like they’ve been shot with a tranquilizer dart.¬† If you’re first starting, or it’s been a long time since you’ve run several things are going to become very apparent.¬† You are going to run out breath, your muscles will get tired and your joints will hurt.¬† Yep…Happens to everyone.¬† It continues to happen as you increase distances too.¬† This is where we need to talk about what you’re actually training.


Getting The Ball Rolling:

So you’ve decided to bite the bullet and actually do an event.¬† You should not start with anything close to 5km….NO!!!¬† Your first couple of runs should be a maximum of 1 – 2km beginner-runner-1-of-1-1024x684.jpgand bolted onto the back of, or be part of, an existing workout.¬† Break it into 4 x 500m bits spaced out if you like.¬† Two reasons, your body and joints aren’t ready for anything longer – and more importantly – your mind isn’t.¬† You do NOT want to hate this thing right from the start.¬† Make it manageable mentally by making it short efforts where the mind can emotionally recover. In my experience, it takes being able to run 5km without stopping (at any speed), before you actually start to mechanically enjoy running.¬† If you havent run for a while, 5km is a long way.


To Get Better At Running – You Need to Run:

This is sounds so dumb….and yet – so many people I talk to training for half marathons and the like are hitting the bike, are hitting the pool, anything other than running….. So Why is that an issue?

If you’re a beginner, regardless of distance, you need to actually run to get your muscles into learning how to act together efficiently.¬† Like anything – running takes practice. There are a TONNE of muscles having to co-ordinate together at a very rapid pace.¬† You are NOT born being efficient at running. Some of us get good as kids by doing certain things in life….some of us do not.¬† Just like juggling – you need to practice in order to get more efficient at the muscle actions.¬† Secondly, your body needs to start the process of toughening up your joints.¬† Running has a fair bit of impact through the hips, knees,


ankles and feet.¬† This process of getting the joint endurance up is FAR slower than that of increasing your cardio (more on this in a bit).¬† Riding a bike, will help your cardio….swimming will help your cardio…. neither will help that specific and repetitious impact tolerance.

There are a lot of good running plans out there. NIKE in particular has a great range for all levels of runner.¬† The biggest piece of advice I have?¬† Integrate it with other training aspects to keep it fun….don’t think “Right, today i HAVE to go for a run”.¬† When you do your workout, be it in a gym, or outdoors, integrate whatever required distance you are running into that workout – at least whilst the distances are small.


Ok – All Good But I’m On The Longer Stuff:

As mentioned before there are a couple of magic thresholds that tend to occur in my experience:

  1. Once you can run 5km unbroken at any pace, you actually start to enjoy the feeling
  2. Once you can run 10km unbroken, cardio training starts to be less a problem and more muscle fatigue
  3. 15km-20km muscles become less an issue and the joints become the focus

Let’s talk about those last two points.¬† Once you start to enjoy the process of running, it can actually become really easy to try and bite too much off too soon.¬† Your cardio range develops FAR faster than your joint and muscle endurance.¬† From what I see in my clients, it takes about an extra 3-4 weeks for the joints to be able to run a particular distance once the cardio has achieved it.¬† So you might be actually able to run 15km from a cardiovascular point of view, but the joints will cop such an ass-kicking that you will be limping for days, or may even actually injure yourself. Take it slow, build up a couple of kilometers per week, which can be frustratingly slow, but your body will thank you.¬† Once you have a certain distance nailed, its quite easy to maintain the fitness required to run that far.¬† But you need to get there first.


Look After Your Body – Stretching:

I’m going to be open here…..FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – BLOODY STRETCH AFTER YOU RUN!!!¬† Don’t wait till you get home from where you are, or after that coffee….do it straight away.¬† If you wait any more than 5 mins, you start to cool and you lose a significant amount of elasticity in the muscles, tendons, ligaments.¬† Your stretching becomes magnitudes less effective and your recovery is severely impacted.¬† Just do it! Straight away, it takes 4-5 mins if you’re focused on it, and you will feel SO GOOD for it.¬† Once you start doing 20km +, this becomes non-optional.¬† If you don’t do it, you WILL (over the course of a short time) tighten up to the point where you hurt yourself with a tight ITB, knee pain, hip pain, back pain.¬† You put so much hard work into getting here, why write it all off now.¬† I’m going to dump a quick, short stretching sequence here….take it. Use it. Keep running.

Every Session Flexibilty Program


Just like above – your key steps are below.¬† Use them, look after yourself, don’t rush, enjoy your exercise and the ability to put some focused hard work to use!¬† Running is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be done by everyone.¬† I am a “learned” runner.¬† I am not terribly great, but I’ve put a lot of work in and enjoy the feeling that brings when it serves in events ūüôā

Memory Reminder:

  • Start very short
  • Incorporate into existing workouts
  • Actually run to train running
  • Increase slowly
  • Stretch


You CAN do it Рits just about how much you want it.  Take the time, and you can do anything.


Weekly Programs – “Relativity” & “Arm Assassin”

Relativity and Arm Assassin are the options on offer for our patrons this week. ¬†They are VERY different workouts – with Relativity being a very challenging cardio workout based on a treadmill, and arm assassin being a body-weight strength workout targeting…you guessed it…the arms.


As we mentioned, this is a treadmill based workout that plays two mind-battles with you. ¬†There are some phenomenal elevation challenges in this workout, which progressively get harder. ¬†This becomes incredibly tough around the halfway point before the workout starts to ease up on the home stretch. ¬†The second thing is when you’re coming off the elevation portions of the workout, the flat sections feel absolutely amazing. ¬†Literally like you are running downwards through the floor. ¬†There’s some interesting mental gymnastics to be explored here.

Arm Assassin:

This is a workout that will leave you struggling to balance a full cup of coffee for sure. ¬†Heaps of people often ask us how to progress their upper body strength and control. ¬†Surprisingly, using heavy weights is probably the least effective method. ¬†Using your own body weight is a much better strategy, particulary for ensuring all around control and stability understanding. ¬†Enter the Arm Assassin. ¬†Combinations of various pull-ups, dips and holds. ¬†You can break the sets up as much as you like, but you must complete each exercise before moving onto the next one…..enjoy ūüôā
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Weekly Workouts – Paired Strength & Continuous Chain Burn

Hey crew! ¬†Yeah there’s two new beasties coming at you. ¬†One is VERY strength endurance and the other is cardio endurance – there’s a word there giving you the theme for the week. ¬†Sure you can figure it out. ¬†Let’s talk more about them.

Perfect Pairing:

This strength workout puts pairs of exercises that work the same muscle groups together to be completed in large sets. ¬†The first exercise is going to dramatically fatigue the muscles with loading, followed by a secondary exercise designed to utilise stability elements. ¬†This is exceptionally difficult under fatigue…’ll see what we mean as soon as you take on the first leg set ūüôā ¬†Have fun with that hey. lol.

Chain Link:

A cardio based workout with only 3 moves and only 3 rounds. ¬†How hard can it be? ¬†Well as hard as you want to make it really – but let me extrapolate. ¬†The idea of this workout is to promote recovery through mobility. ¬†The over-riding rule for the workout, is that you DO…NOT…STOP……you can slow down. ¬†You can REALLY slow down. ¬†BUT DONT STOP. ¬†yeah, thats the difficult part, cos the 3 moves are going to make you want to put the brakes on. ¬†Advanced Option: ¬†¬†Try it at MAX PACE….omg….ewwww.
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Training For High Score and Acceleration Through Fatigue


The two workouts this week have two very different theme flavours about them – though they’re both quite intense in application.


Scoreboard is a series of exercises done for a prescribed time – where you are trying to max out either distance, calories or reps. ¬†Over the course of 7 exercises, you will accumulate points, and you can either compete against friends, or yourself over two attempts. ¬†Max-out workouts can be pretty gross, so we’ve put a fun spin on it. ¬†Its also interesting how having the motivation of friendly “competition” at something puts things into a more tolerable light. ¬†

Sweet Speed:

Going fast and hard on a first attempt is one thing. ¬†Experience and knoweledge go a long way into understanding how moves work, how combinations of actions feel, and what the threshold’s presented are. ¬†So over three rounds, and ever-decreasing repetitions – even though you are fatiguing – can you accelerate your work pace? ¬†Knowing that the reps are less, can you off-set that by moving through them more quickly? ¬†An interesting application. ¬†Let’s try it.
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Free Workout (I Challenge You) – Are You As Mentally Strong As You Think? “Perseverance”

You Tough Enough?

Lots of people talk big at gyms.¬† Lots of people reckon they have “perseverance”.¬† Here’s my challenge – “PERSEVERANCE” – a standard workout given to the ASSUME ITS POSSIBLE’s TRITAN training crew.

Ground Rules:

  • There is no time limit – you’re aiming to finish
  • You WILL NOT STOP in your runs….slow it down to a walk if required….but you stop at all, then the whole point of this workout is broken.¬† You could keep going, but you’ll know…..just make it slower and keep going!
  • The bike option is at MAX resistance (ours is 25) – and is ONLY if you physically cannot run.
  • Push-ups are on toes.¬† ALL of them.¬† Make them singles….make it take 10 minutes for the set….but they are…on…toes.
  • Pull-ups can be modified to suit ability – if you can do full ones, do full ones…if you’re not there yet, hang off straps with feet on the floor, body on an angle…..basically as hard as YOU can manage.
  • Google a V-Snap if you haven’t heard this term.¬† A v-pulse is a 10cm high V-Snap

There are two concepts to this workout. Breakdown what seems like a mammoth task into smaller ones. Even when it looks like I’ve already broken it down, do it again. 1km can be 10x 100m efforts. Or alternate 100m hard, 50m rest. Do something to ensure your mind is engaged and constantly ticking off sections of work.

The second is relativity….How’d the 1000m flat (or on no resistance) feel after the heavy work? Like you were running downhill? It being pushed from behind? Why can’t that be like that all the time? Mindset.