Don't worry....here we will explain a little more about what we mean.
A big mountain with a high peak has a wide base....but what does this mean and why does it matter with canicross?
Well it's simple, the better your foundation of fitness, strength and ability, the better your ability to run faster will be.
Where do I start?
Even if you've been running for a while, it's never too late to start your base building. Ideally you should be thinking about building your base / foundation before focusing on speed, however; if you are already running at speed and want to get better, then you can add some foundation focus to your training for you both. The best bit? it doesn't involve doing hours of running or training, read on to learn a few simple ways to insert some foundation work into your training.
Aerobic fitness is the development of your engine/fuel tank. It is about building your ability to run for longer, but this doesn't mean you have to go fast for ages. In fact what it means is building your ability to run for time, the more ability you have to run for time, then the more able you will be to run for speed when the time comes.
To build your aerobic fitness you need to think about introducing some 'easy' runs into your week. These can start of as follows:
Run session 1 - 25 minutes at effort level 3
Run session 2 - 30 minutes at effort level 3
Run session 3 - 40 minutes at effort level 3
You then can simply mix it up for the first two weeks, before increasing your runs so that you run 30 minutes, 40 minutes and then 45 minutes.... You want to avoid extending your runs too far too soon. This can lead to injury.
But I might get injured...
Unfortunately that is a possibility in our sport, in fact any form of trail running brings with it chances of injury. The most prone incidents when running on trail are slips, rolled and twisted ankles and lower leg strains, mainly due to the uneven ground and weather conditions. Factor in a dog pulling you and suddenly you have a higher chance of a setback.
Preparing for this and proofing your body against injuries is not something which will stop anything form happening, but it will help avoid the severity in many cases and help with recovery. Something which could be a few weeks recovery, could with the right training, heal or recover a little quicker if you have done the right preparation for your sport and training load.
The right training.
Not only does it benefit you to add in some longer runs and build that fitness base, but it also benefits you physically to build in some strength and conditioning specific to running on trail. This means including specific exercises to help strengthen the muscles we use most frequently when running with our dogs. The following are some suggested exercises you can do while completing your everyday household jobs which can help improve your stability and strength. A full suggested programme is available to our Elite members via the membership area.
Stand on one foot - balance on one foot alone - as we age our core strength decreases which affects our balance ( hence why older people tend to fall a lot) hold for around 35 seconds then swap legs.
Single leg calve raises on the stairs - use a banister to support you for safety. 10 each leg.
Single leg step ups - use one step and then step up lifting the knee of the raised leg so your leg is at a 45 degree angle. Complete 10 on one leg, then swap. Again use the banister if you need to.
All of these can be done as you are moving around the house doing your everyday household jobs. It is important not to overdo it and to have fun. The most important thing is to keep mobility high and build strength steadily.
Regular strength and conditioning will help you stay fitter and stronger for longer and make you a much better runner overall.