Black Holes.

In physics they are a bit of an unknown.

There are rules for most things in physics.

For example, the basic laws of motion are:

First Rule: An object will remain at rest or in a uniform state of motion unless that state is changed by an external force.

Second Rule: Force is equal to the change in momentum (mass times velocity) over time.

Third Rule: For every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.

But Black Holes don’t follow the usual rules.

Which is annoying for people in Physics, but also makes the subject really interesting.

Enough for some to dedicate their lives researching them.

Before you think you’ve opened the wrong email, or think I’ve just done a crash course in Physics…

I haven’t, I watched a quick documentary on them – don’t judge.

Honest Guv.

The reason for my interest…

Black Holes seem to create their own rules.

Things can fall into them but we have zero idea where they go.

They do however emit radiation (called Hawking Radiation, named after Stephen Hawking).

But we don’t know where anything goes once it’s entered the black hole.

Is it lost forever?

Does it come back as something else?

Now we get to the main meal from my tangent.

Our bodies are a bit like Black Holes.

There are certain things we know about them.

Simple things like, if we have a heart beat, that’s a good thing.

We breathe oxygen.

And we need to fuel and hydrate to survive.

But when it comes to the finer details around training.

We are still very much making educated guesses around what works and what doesn’t.

We even know the what worked for one person last year, mightn’t work the following year.

[This one is really frustrating for those who don’t understand this and don’t adjust their training]

We also know that works for one person, probably won’t work for another.

[We all have that friend who can just do little to no training and get a load of personal bests…]

I wish I had a good reason why.

Instead, I focus on some key rules that work for the majority and adjust for each person.

And as we test and tweak, these rules might well change and that’s a good thing.

It keeps the body guessing.

And it keeps things interesting for us following the training too.

Each year in my own training something has changed and I believe it’s why I’ve always managed to find improvement in my own fitness too.

Those key laws that have been working really well for those I’ve been working with recently are:

1. The 80/20 Rule.

This is where you focus around 80% of your training time to training “easy” – this tends to work really well for those that train more hours too (8+ per week)

If you are doing less than 8 hours, we could aim for more harder efforts (due to more recovery windows in your week away from exercise) but as a general rule, I’d still strive for around 80/20.

And this goes for any endurance sport too.

The only caveat I’d add is to be wary adding in more hard sessions within running due to the heavy impact forces involved with it.

(Why not add in a ride or strength session as an alternative).

2. The Go Hard Rule.

Intervals, tempos, hills, whatever you call them, they have a place, but you need to make these efforts hard.

To make them hard, you need to make sure you are FRESH and READY for them.

If your easy run the day before has left your legs tired, you aren’t going to be running hard for your hard session, it’ll feel ‘hard’ but you won’t be getting the full benefit from the session.

Make the easy easy.

Make the hard hard.

Dip into the middle ‘grey zone’ for when you want to practice your race intensity work (for those doing half marathon/marathon etc).

3. The Recovery Rule.

This isn’t optional now.

I used to believe that skimping on things like sleep to maximise awake hours was good for productivity.

But recovery (and the big slice of the recovery cake is sleep)…

Is non negotiable.

Too much training and lack of focus on recovery is like signing up for a marathon you have zero intention of doing any training for and winging it on the day..

You’ll feel great for the opening few miles… But it’ll hit you really hard later on down the line.

Sleep, mobility/yoga, nutrition, hydration, massage are the big players in this area.

Once these are nailed down, then you can look at the marginal gains of compression, ice baths and other recovery hacks.

4. The Strong Rule.

Strength training or even cross training is of huge benefit for all people.

Runners should try to do something other than just running.

Cyclists should do something off of the bike.

[And so on for ANY sport]

It could be a strength session, a yoga session.

Or even if you are a runner, then doing a swim, or a rock climbing session is going to switch things up a little.

It’ll activate different muscles, get your core working and I’d bet it’ll also help your performance too as you’ll improve your general strength and resilience.

5. The Fuel Rule.

Of course eating a decent diet is right up there.

It’s a no brainer to compare how you feel running with a good healthy meal in your stomach vs a Big Mac.

But you also need to consider what energy NEEDS the workout you are going to be doing has.

Your easy or base runs are less intense than your interval sessions or your long runs.

You might not need an energy snack ahead of your easy run.

BUT, for your interval session, you probably might benefit from grabbing some more fuel in the lead up to the session.

And for that long run (depending on duration) I can guarantee you’ll have benefit in adding in fuel before, during and after.

That’s not an extensive list of rules (I have to keep some of the good stuff behind my shiny red curtain).

But it’s a pretty good starting point to structure your own plans on.

Don’t break the law 😉

Thanks For Reading.