Most running magazines and running U-Tube posts will give runners endless advice on training to improve your pace and race times and enjoyment of running. This week I thought I would post a few of my favourites. Those relatively new to running should get some good advice, those who have run for some time will find it good to remember some of the things they may have forgotten or take for granted…
Wait for about two hours after a meal before running. For most people, two hours is enough time for food to empty from the stomach, especially if it’s high in carbohydrate. If you don’t wait long enough, food will not be properly digested, raising the risk of abdominal cramps, stitch, bloating, and even vomiting. However, you can probably run 90 minutes after a light, high-carb meal, while you may need up to three hours after a heavy meal that’s high in protein and fat.
Start every run with 10 minutes of walking and slow running, and do the same to cool down. A warmup prepares your body for exercise by gradually increasing blood flow and raising core muscle temperature,
Do the majority of your training runs in your target aerobic zones. If you run five times a week, three of your runs should be at a pace where you should be able to talk in complete sentences while running. Runners whose heart and breathing rates are within their target aerobic zones should be able to comfortably recite something such as a nursery rhyme. Those who can’t are running faster than optimal (i.e. too fast).
How Does Wind affect pace? A headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up. So expect to run slower on windy days. The key is to monitor your effort, not your pace. Start against the wind, so it’s at your back in the second half.
If something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off. Two straight days of pain may signal the beginning of an injury. Even taking five days of complete rest from running will have little impact on your fitness level.
Running uphill slows you down more than running downhill speeds you up. So, you can expect hilly runs to be slower than flat runs. You don’t get all of the energy that you expend going uphill back when you run downhill, that’s because when your feet strike the ground on a descent, a lot of energy is lost.
Cross-training and light weight training will make you a stronger and healthier runner. Low- and nonimpact sports like biking and swimming will help build supporting muscles used in running, while also giving your primary running muscles a rest. However, if time is short, the surest way to run better is to run. So if your time is limited, devote most of it to running.
Replace running shoes once they’ve covered 400 to 500 miles but even before if they have much wear. Buy a new pair and rotate them for a while. Don’t wait until your only pair is trashed.
Take at least one easy day after every hard day of training. “Easy” means a short, slow run, a cross-training day, or no exercise at all. “Hard” means a long run, tempo run, or speed workout
Dress for runs as if it’s 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer actually reads. To put it another way, dress for how warm you’ll feel at mid-run—not the first mile, when your body is still heating up. This means choosing the right apparel.
The most effective pace for VO2 max interval training is about 20 seconds faster per mile than your 5 K race pace. Lactate-threshold or tempo-run pace is about the pace you can maintain when running all-out for one hour. This pace is about 20 seconds slower per mile than your 10K race pace, or 30 seconds slower per mile than 5K race pace
Do your longest training runs at least three minutes per mile slower than your 5K race pace. You really can’t go too slow on long runs because there are no drawbacks to running them slowly. Running them too fast, however, can compromise your recovery time and raise your injury risk.”
Some beginners have difficulty running faster because they’re afraid of feeling uncomfortable. But one of the first steps to getting faster is to learn what it feels like to pick up the pace. When you push yourself during speed training, expect to get breathless1 and feel your leg muscles burning. It may feel strange and uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get accustomed to the sensation and start to anticipate (and maybe even enjoy) it.
In many cases, increasing your weekly mileage will help you to improve your overall speed. For example, if run once each week but you participate in workout classes most other days of the week, you may see improvement by switching a few of your workout class days to running days. Some runners run every day. While that may work for you (keeping in mind that you should vary the distance and intensity of your workouts), you’ll probably need at least one rest day each week.
Proper running form can shave valuable seconds or even minutes off your pace or finish time at races. Making small adjustments to your posture and your gait helps your body to move with less effort. The result is that you have more energy to fuel a faster pace. Make sure that you relax your shoulders and allow your arms to swing naturally as you run.
If you can increase your stride turnover (cadence), you’ll probably run faster. To determine your stride turnover, run at your 5K race pace (a speed that you can sustain for three miles) for 30 seconds and count each time your right foot hits the ground. Double the number to get your stride turnover rate. Most people just use their expensive Garmin to do this for you.
Most runners should target a turnover rate of about 180 steps per minute. The number is highly variable, but in general, new runners tend to have a stride rate that is too low. So, you’ll likely benefit from improving your number. To increase stride turnover, start by running for 30 seconds at your current rate. Then jog for a minute to recover and run for 30 seconds again, this time trying to increase the count. Focus on taking quick, light, short steps—as if you’re stepping on hot coals. Repeat 5–8 times, trying to increase your rate each time.
The most effective training mimics the event for which you’re training. This is the cardinal rule of training for any activity. If you want to run a 10K at seven-minute-per-mile pace, you need to do some running at that pace.
Have you lost that extra bit of speed this year?
I have been asked by several runners over the last few weeks why they have lost their top speed from last year despite doing more training with all the time on the hands at the moment. The answer is invariably because you are not doing any racing at the moment.
It’s a bit like “an apple a day keeps the Doctor at Bay” as my mother used to say. Well “a race a week keeps you quick and sleek”. When you take part in a race (or parkrun), you are being competitive, you can pull on people around you (particularly those in Kenilworth Runners), to keep you going when your brain tells you to slow down. The thought of doing a race gets the adrenalin going. All this makes you go that little bit quicker than you are doing at the moment.
Certainly not a like for like alternative but definitely a reasonable alternative the current trend of “virtual” races is worth taking part in. If you know you are racing the clock and will be posting your time, some adrenaline will be there. You can build up the mojo by exploring the best route for the virtual distance – where is it flat, where can I run without seeing a lot of walkers or cars etc. Also with the new rule of meeting one person outside of your household, why not team up with someone who runs a similar speed as you to race together on your virtual run (2 metres apart of course)?
My challenge this week is a bit different. I want you to look at the 18 bits of advice/information at the front of this bulletin and concentrate on any 2. So you might think OK I need a new pair of running shoes, I need to think about relaxing shoulders and do a good arm swing, make sure I go slow on a long run etc etc…..
Stay safe and healthy