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Testing With Heini, Part 3

The Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki Services and Administration Planner Heini tests the Institute’s courses. Sports courses are now under testing.

A Sunday Runner in ”Invigorating Running School”

I confess, I am a Sunday runner: I run when my other hobbies permit, and when I happen to be in the mood. A sudden inspiration usually strikes usually on a beautiful, sunny Sunday, but not nearly every week. I start running during spring, but since I don’t have a special urge for running, at some point the whole subjet is simply forgotten. In need of motivation and fresh air I venture out to try whether I would find the thrill  of running from Aapo Summanen’s course ”Invgorating Running School”.

The Running School started energetically. At first there was discussion on wishes, goals and some on gear, after which we headed straight to the running trails. At Central Park we did technical exercises, filmed the participants’ running technique and tried out different terrains: we ran at roads and paths, in snow and on a slightly drier surface. During March and April the dry terrain is harder to find and slipperiness made the running challenging at times. To my surprise my mindset was close to euphoria, whether that was due to fresh air and conversation or the supportive teacher, I felt I could run to the edges of the Earth. In the evening I was in an overwhelmingly good mood, and it was difficult to get to sleep.

The Running School always started with technical exercises, after which we moved on to the topic of the day. We tried, for example, interval training for ten laps, where you run faster for a minute and then recover. You could set the pace yourself, but the goal was to get a little further on every lap. Personally I could have taken it more slowly, because on the next day my backside was so sore that it was hard to walk. I didn’t know that runnimg could be so powerful! During the following weeks we tried acceleration exercises by running for two minutes in one direction and for two minutes back, the aim being to reach further each time back , uphill training and speed exercises in distances of some tens of meters. One of the themes was muscle training, focusing on the muscle groups that are important in running, starting from the small muscles in the foot, which may have a central role in preventing repetitive strain injuries. For warm-ups we each ran for half an hour in Central Park independently. Muscle training felt like a refreshing change and it was fun to run in sunny weather wherever the nose lead.

The teacher was energetic and positive, and was able to support everybody. We also got homework in the form of different kinds of running tasks and the teacher encouraged us to go running in our spare time, even for a short period. It was a relief to hear that even short sprints matter, because many times the running is put aside as a result of the lack of time. If you don’t have the time to run for an hour or even half an hour, a shorter time is adequate, because 10 minutes takes you closer to your goal than zero. Many course participants had real ambitions with running and some were training for Naisten Kymppi or other running events. I myself am interested in running as a good aside training: basic endurance training and restorative running go best with my other sports hobbies.

The Running School proved wrong my rigid ideas about running as slightly boring jogging in the track. Running is more than that, and a much more technical sport than could be expected. Everybody can run, but the technique can be improved and often by yourself you don’t necessarily come to think of more efficient ways to train and make running more interesting. The course sparked my spring and with that inspiration I started running earlier than expected. I guess one is born to be a passionate runner: you have to have that spark inside. If one is passionate about running one could get excellent added motivation for their hobby from the ”Invigorating Running School”. The best benefit would be gained by those with good condition and goals in their hobby, who are not strangers to running. This time the participants were in quite good condition and the course progressed accordingly. For a beginner and those who do not exercise the course could have proved to be too hard. My own goals were realized: I got new viewpoints and motivation for running from now on to go running also on other times besides the occasional Sunday.

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Written by Heini, The Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki