Key Training for marathoners

The marathon is a unique event: it’s long enough that not only does carb loading become an important key to your success on race day, but there are several other factors that are perhaps even more important.

These relate to your running efficiency and hence your ability to conserve this valuable fuel to make it last the distance.

The human body can only store enough carbohydrate in the muscles, blood, and liver (in the form of glycogen) for roughly 20 miles or 32 kms of running, especially at more strenuous intensities.

Run out of fuel and the inevitable crash or “hitting the wall” will happen, typically around the 32-35 km mark of the race. And you don't need to speak with many marathoners to learn just how common this is.

This is why as coaches we love those sayings like; " the marathon starts at 32km", and "the half way point of the marathon is 32kms".

The goal of the first 32kms is to arrive there in good shape, and enough fuel to get us through the final 10km to a strong finish.

Apart from ensuring you have a full complement of glycogen at the start of the race ( carb loading), we also need to ensure that we are using it efficiently.

Firstly, race planning is critical so we don't start too fast and use up too much glycogen during the excitement of the first 10kms. But even more important is in our preparation and training.

We do this by training our body to become more efficient by training it to utilise less glycogen as we run. Using less glycogen occurs at lower heart rates where our body will use O2 (oxygen) & fat as it's primary fuel source. 

This system of energy production is known as your aerobic energy system and when well developed appropriately, can propel you at faster and faster paces, using the same amount of effort or fuel. 

And this is where HR training is so critical to your marathon success.

Here's the science...

1. - the higher our intensity of effort the more glycogen we require, and the less fat is used (&O2).

graph1.png

2. - Also, the longer the duration of high intensity effort, the less glycogen we have available to us as it is depleted.

The longer you go, the less glycogen you have to use. Hence a well developed aerobic energy system will conserve your glycogen for longer.

The longer you go, the less glycogen you have to use. Hence a well developed aerobic energy system will conserve your glycogen for longer.

What these graphs tell us it two things;

1. In order to have enough glycogen to fuel us to the end of our marathon, we must rely on our aerobic energy system predominantly to maintain our intensity and conserve our glycogen to ensure it lasts the distance.

2. By training your body to produce more energy aerobically, thus more efficiently we can conserve valuable glycogen thus making it last longer. The less muscle glycogen you use, the more efficient you are!

 

The Physiology:

Fat is the primary fuel source of the aerobic energy system. As we develop this energy system our body learns to break down & utilise fat more efficiently. It does this by improving oxygen transportation to the muscles, increasing vascularisation ( more blood vessels= more O2), and reducing lactic acid production ( removes H+ ions quicker that want to slow us down), and importantly, developing our mitochondria within the muscle that are responsible for the energy production from fat & carbohydrate oxidation.

So, how do we do this...??

This is where monitoring your heart rate in training is so important.

Go slower to get faster!

Ideally we want to train at the peak of our aerobic threshold to maximise the benefits of aerobic training & development. Whilst this heart rate threshold can be precisely measured in a VO2 Max test, where HR & blood lactate are regularly measured during efforts, it is easier & still very effective to use a simple formula as set out by the HR training guru, Phil Maffetone in the 180 rule.

 

As you become more familiar with this type of training, you will start to get a feel for precisely where this threshold is and when you cross it and see your HR spike up abruptly. Then of course you need to slow down!

Over the weeks and months of this type of training, you will know your aerobic energy system is developing as your training pace increases at the same Heart Rate. This is when you know you can run faster whilst still conserving valuable glycogen.

 

Work Intensity is directly reflected by Heart rate & to a degree Pace/Speed. Training at lower intensity, and lower speeds around your aerobic threshold will ensure you develop this system effectively.  

Work Intensity is directly reflected by Heart rate & to a degree Pace/Speed. Training at lower intensity, and lower speeds around your aerobic threshold will ensure you develop this system effectively.  

The good news is also that when you develop this system, all of your other shorter race distances will get faster too!

So at this early stage of your marathon preparation make sure you spend more time (70-80% at least) of your training time, developing this energy system. Thos that have the discipline to slow down and train aerobically for a period of time, will see great dividends down the road. 

2018, let’s make a plan!

Fail to plan = plan to fail.

Fail to plan = plan to fail.

The year is well underway now, in fact it’s February already! This means it’s time to put the excuses aside, revisit those resolutions & identify your running goals for the year & start to set out a plan.

With that in mind I should just mention we have a crew of about 12 or more runners committed to the Gold Coast Marathon this year (July 1 - just 21 weeks away) if you're interested, and then of course there is Melbourne in October followed by New York in November and plenty more in between just to name a few.

Believe it or not, one of our own has ticked off 2 marathons this January; Hobart  and Disney marathon in Florida ! Not only that but he’s heading to Tokyo in a couple of weeks to make it three for the year already!!

With that in mind, I thought I’d set out a few key races & run events to kelp you decide which ones you’d like to aim for and those you’ll tick off along the way to your ultimate goal for the year. Of course there's  full list on the Australian Running Calendar here;

Here's but a few...

FEB 3 - VRR Tan Time Trial ; 4km, 8km First Sat every month. Great way to test yourself

FEB 18 - Muscular Dystrophy Run 4 Strength ;  10km Won by our very own Run Well runner, James Clarke!

Rip to River ; 10km Beach run from Pt Lonsdale to Ocean Grove. The first run event I ever ran ( 1988.)

FEB 25 -  Sri Chinmoy Yarra Trail Run ; 7, 14, 21km Famous post race pancakes!

MAR 17 - Sharpy’s Beer Run ; 10, 21km Tough, pub for pub a most beautiful trail run. The most fun run ever with the best runners medal ever!!

MAR 18 - Run 4 Kids ; 5, 15.3km Have to do this one at least once!

APRIL 14 -  Great Ocean Trail Run ; 11, 18km Anglesea trails are great!

APRIL 14 - Run the Rock ; 5, 13.5,22km Hanging Rock

APRIL 15 - MS Half Marathon ; 21.1 Flemington

APRIL 29 - Puffing Billy’s Great Train Race ; 13.5km Say no more.

MAY 6 - Wings For Life World Run ; ?? How far will you go! MAY 19-20 Great Ocean Road Run 23,44,60km The most scenic road run.

MAY 27 - Sri Chinmoy Como Landing HM ; 7,14,21.1km Test yourself here!

JUNE 30 - Surf Coast Trail ; 22, 42km Torquay to Fairhaven, a beauty!

JULY 1 - GOLD COAST MARATHON ; 42.2km THAT’S US, GET ON BOARD!!!

JULY 21-22 - You Tangs Trail Running Festival ; 5km -100 mile Something for everyone this weekend!

JULY 29 - Run Melbourne ; 5,10,21.1km Big HM event

AUG 26 - Wonderland Grampians ; 20, 37km Spectacularly tough!

SEP 9 - AV HM Burnley ; 21.1km Your HM test before MM.

SEP 23 - Sri Chinmoy HM Burnley ; 21.1km Ditto’ above.

OCT 14 - Melbourne Marathon ; 42.2km Our big race!

NOV 4 - NYC MARATHON ; 42.2km If you’re lucky enough!!

NOV 11 - Marysville Marathon ; 42.2km Another tough one!

 

After that it’s just a case of setting out a plan or program and getting stuck in!  

Here's some key tips on goal setting & how to make them stick.

Commitment to the process will deliver results!  

Please let me me know how I can help you achieve your goals this year; regardless if it's your first 5kms race, Half marathon or you're aiming for your first or your fastest marathon!

Remember, you are 50% more likely to achieve your goals with a written program!  

Don't forget to keep checking our upcoming events calendar here.

2017; the year in Review....2018 awaits!

As this year draws to a close, our 2017 marathon races are behind us for now, and we can sit back & relax and reflect on our achievements for the year. 

We had a big year at Run Well, with some 24 runners completing their marathons all over the world from the Tokyo marathon back in February, to Paris in April and finally New York in November, and many other races including Trails, Halfs, 10k, and Park Runs in between.

The big ticket races for this year were Gold Coast in July, the AV Burnley Half Marathon ( Vic Champs) in September and of course Melbourne in October, where many, many PBs were set

In summary, we had 10 runners in the Burnley Half, and all set new PB's on their way to the Melbourne Marathon. We had 12 finishers at Melbourne this year, with 8 PB's, including 3 runners finishing in under 3 hours and some new RUN WELL PB's set this year;

You can read what some of them had to say about their Run Well experience by clicking here ;

RUN WELL RECORDS ( 2017)

FEB : James Clarke, 10km ; 37:20

SEP : Andy Ray,  Burnley Half Marathon ; 1:19:51

OCT: Darren Bowden, Melbourne Marathon ; 2:55:13

2 x PB's in 2017 @ GC, MM. new Run Well Marathon record ; 2:55:13

2 x PB's in 2017 @ GC, MM.

new Run Well Marathon record ; 2:55:13

 

Congratulations to all those runners that have achieved great things this year, and some impressive new benchmarks to chase down in 2018.

Just as you reach for your second drink this Xmas, let's take a peek at what 2018 has in store, and I'm proud to announce we have some big changes at Run Well to look forward to.

Firstly, the Run Well portal that holds all of your programs, personal info & runners resources will look a bit different, as it has had a makeover! We have switched to a Google docs platform for your program docs that hopefully you will find looks more professional & prettier, but also works much better as an interactive live program.

We are very pleased to announce our new addition to the coaching fold in Ryan Mannix. Ryan has a very impressive running background ( sub 30 mins for 10km if you don't mind) and is also a yoga teacher/guru that takes running zen to w hole new level. You can read more about Ryan's story and relationship with running here.

Ryan will be joining me in coaching our next Running Technique clinic in late FEB 2018, as well as taking our new Sunset Sessions Series from Wednesday night, 28 FEB at 7pm from the St.Kilda foreshore ( meet out front of the Life Saving Club). More on that here.

As well as this we will get together for some longer Sunday morning runs followed by a cooling dip in the Bay and a bit of a group breaky. These runs will tie in with those training for upcoming marathons, with GC18 next on the Run Well list!

 

Stay tuned for more on that.

Ryan Mannix...yoga guru, and can run a bit.

Ryan Mannix...yoga guru, and can run a bit.

Run Well Events;

We have added a new RUN WELL EVENTS page to the website that will feature all of your upcoming Run Well events so make sure you check in to this page to see what's in store.

Weekend Running Events & running training camps;

If you love running then we would love to offer you some running experiences that are not only steeped in running history, but also some of the most spectacular running no more than 70mins from the CBD. 

For years elite runners from across the state have trained in these spectacular areas and world famous trails and have now paved the way for the recreational runner to have the same unique experience. 

Stay tuned next year as we bring you some running experiences that will reinforce and build on the love of running. 

From the world famous Portsea sand hills made famous by Percy Cerutty, to the soft trails that Robert De Castella and Steve Moneghetti would run around in the Sherbrooke forest, to runs on our CBD doorstep, we will be creating memorable running experiences for you to participate in. 

Our first event will be on Sunday MARCH 4 with a spectacular run through Sherbrooke Forest followed by brunch at the superb Burnham Beeches Piggery cafe. All the details you need can be found here.

Both Ryan & I will be taking these group running events that will cater to all levels and take your running experience to a new level. So keep an eye out for updates on our events page for these.

2018....what's your goal?

Of course it is important to set ourselves goals for 2018, so that we can be well prepared to tackle & reach those. At Run Well, we like to consider all runs but tend to focus our groups on some key events for the year. At this stage, we have some strong numbers of commitment for the following...

GOLD COAST : July 1, 2018 : We got quite a crew together for this one already. I'm looking forward to some great training runs together, Long Runs from StKilda, pre-race planning meetings, pre-race pasta feasts, and a post race celebratory get together. Can't wait. Your 20 week program starts on FEB 11, 2018.

MELB MARATHON : October 16, 2018

TOKYO MARATHON : FEB, 2019

FRIDAY MORNING RUN CLUB

Of course our regular Friday morning training session will continue as it has for about 12 years now, when my wife melissa started it way back when. I hijacked it in 2011 when she was pregnant with our first born Duke.

For those that aren't familiar, this is a high intensity Interval session, that consists of a combination of running hills, stairs and various parts around the Tan, and alternates each week with a track session across at AAMI stadium.

This session is great for strength and speed development with a strong focus on running technique & form from your coach!

COST : $10 casual, or FREE FOR MEMBERS!

RUNNING TECHNIQUE CLINIC

6 week Running Technique Clinic: Run better, Run Stronger, Run Faster. Starts early MARCH. Some have done it before, and wish to do it again. COST: $300;

$240 MEMBERS, $120 IF YOU"RE COMING BACK TO DO IT AGAIN!

2 coaches, 4 eyes, years of experience. Rohan & Ryan on hand for this one, to help you take your running to a new level for greater efficiency & economy, and better performance with reduced risk of  injury.

WHEELS & DEALS

We have been working on some wheeling & dealing to bring you some great Run Well deals;

15% off at Sole MOTIVE - ask Duncan

10% off at City Osteopathy ( Queen Street) - Osteopathy & Myotherapy treatments

RUN WELL MEMBERSHIPS

For the first time Run Well is offering a one off membership fee that will cover all of your Friday morning training sessions, as well as a host of items, events, clinics & store discounts. With the addition of your new coach Ryan Mannix, we will be offering more great running based experiences and great training sessions as we work to establish ourselves as more than just a training centre but a great running club. 

full details here

Cost: $250

 

 

 

Yoga is great for Runners!

Let me tell you a little about my Yoga practise.

yoga, yoga, yoga...

yoga, yoga, yoga...

For many years I wanted to do yoga, as like many men i couldn't even touch my toes. But it wasn't until i started track sprinting that I realised that the inflexibility of my back, hips, hip flexors and hamstrings was actually preventing me from striding out and sprinting properly and therefore slowing me down. This was all the motivation I needed to get started, and so i did. 
That was about 12 years ago and I was fortunate enough to have a great (Ashtanga) teacher who taught me well, so that I soon understood that yoga was about strength & support, creating space and lengthening, not simply stretching as I, like many believed.

Over the next 3 years practising twice per week, I learned and realised that yoga was the best adjunct to running i could have possibly asked for as the release through the back, hips & legs, and overall core strength I gained literally released the brakes that bound my running allowing me to propel my body further and faster.

Since then, yoga has been a constant companion of mine, albeit somewhat spasmodically at times ( kids will do that!), but more recently I have returned to a twice weekly practise and am loving the benefits I am feeling not just with running but my daily movements, clearer head and calmer mind.

For runners specifically, yoga will help to strengthen your core, your hips, thighs & glutes, whilst also improving your stability, balance & range of motion; all the important elements of good runners. Great for recovery too as yoga lengthens (loosens) your tight bits, giving the tight, sore muscles (& fascia) that elasticity & energy back that is so crucial to being an efficient runner.

Here's a link to a great article that talks a bit more about how well Yoga fits into a runner's life.

Yes, yoga is an ancient practise that crosses many facets of our existence from the physical to the spiritual and can take many forms with lots of lovely Sanskrit names that can be quite confusing. Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Hatha, Flow, Power , Shadow, Hot....??

Recently I have been practising yoga at my wife's studio in St.Kilda, UP ATHLETIC located right on St.Kilda Beach. Whilst the location itself is hard to beat, the session is run by our yoga guru Dylan who describes his classes as; 

"a dynamic flow based yoga incorporating elements of Tai chi and mindfulness"

Like Dylan himself this is very understated, as this is a strong practise that sometimes has elements of kung fu thrown in. Essentially it's a pretty amazing experience that you must try.

As I know the Owner at Up Athletic pretty well, I have squeezed an exclusive deal out of her for you guys, my Run Well runners.

You can join our yoga classes  for $35 per week, (normally cost $22 casually for non-members) for up to 3 classes. Class times are;
6 AM TUESDAY,
7 PM THURSDAY, 
9 AM SUNDAY. 

This exclusive deal will also include my FRIDAY morning running session, 6 AM at the TAN, if you don't already come to that.

Trust me, sign up for the 6 weeks ( $210) and I personally guarantee you will be feeling amazing and running better by the end.

If you have any questions or queries, don't hesitate to email me or Up Athletic.

As always Run Well, see you on the track or the mat soon!

6 reasons why you should run the Melbourne Marathon this year!

Preparing to run the 42.195 kms to finish a marathon takes four to five months of dedicated training, a significant time commitment that alters your schedule, lifestyle, sleeping and eating habits. Such preparations also require sacrifice and support from your loved ones.

Melbourne Marathon, what a sight.

Melbourne Marathon, what a sight.

The Melbourne Marathon has become the biggest marathon in Australia with a record 6218 completing the course in 2012 and more than 35,000 entries across the four accompanying events – The Half Marathon, 10km Run and the Asics 5.7km run and 3km walk events. And best of all, you get to finish by running a lap across the hallowed turf of the iconic MCG!

Here's 6 great reasons to run the Melbourne marathon this year;

1. It will change your life. You will be tested and challenged, not only in training but mostly in the race itself. 42.2 kms is not easy for anyone.

2. There's still 21 weeks to go. Thus giving you plenty of time to prepare well & perform well!  Your typical marathon training program is 16-20 weeks, so what are you waiting for?

3. You've talked about it for ages, now it's time to just do it! 

4. Tick that Bucket list before you turn 40, or 50 or whatever!  

5. Because runners live longer, are happier & have more sex*! 

6. Goal Setting Reaps Rewards. Running a marathon doesn't just happen. You need to commit, be motivated, set a plan, and stick to it in order to achieve your goal. Thus the sense of achievement & reward once you've completed your marathon is greater than many others due to the greater sacrifice and effort you've put in along the way.

And here's 52 more reasons to run the marathon just in case you need more convincing!

Need more inspiration?

Seriously, you won't regret it, & it will without doubt change your life. For the good, & for the better!  

And when you do decide to do the marathon, then please plan & prepare early & well to ensure that your experience is a good one. If you need help with a training program to ensure you make it to the start line and finish line in good shape, I can help you.

All marathons are hard, however the hardest marathon you will ever run is the one you are least prepared for!  

Be a Finsiher!

Be a Finsiher!

Want to know more?

Go on, what's stopping you?

Sub 2 hour marathon.... what are you doing this weekend?

I've just finished reading the book, "Two Hours : the Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon"  by Ed Caesar. This book is fascinating and compelling as it takes the reader on a journey into the lives of elite marathoners as he traces the history of the marathon as well as the science, physiology and psychology of running. I particularly enjoy reading about these super humans and learning of their lives, for I am forever astounded when contemplating what it must take to run that fast for that long. 

WR : 2:02:57

WR : 2:02:57

To put it into perspective, or in normal terms; I can run a sub 3 hr marathon at about 4 min 15 s per km or slightly quicker, which puts me into a small % of finishers in a marathon field. And all of us, regardless of our own marathon pace has a sense of what that pace feels like, for that long. However, when considering the pace that elite marathoners run, which is currently 2:55 per km (world record pace), I can run 1 km at this pace ( flat out & only just), but cannot run 2 km at this pace. And these guys run this pace for 42.2km. It truly is incredible, almost unbelievable and seemingly super human.

Kipchoge, The Olympic champion with a PR of 2:03:05.

Kipchoge, The Olympic champion with a PR of 2:03:05.

Much has been written recently about this quest as the two major footwear players in marathoning, Adidas and Nike are jostling for bragging rights as they drive the push & put up the cash to break the 2 hour barrier. In fact, each has released their own sub 2 hour shoe that will carry the successful runner to this ultimate glory. Nike will be first to the chase, as they have pulled together a team of elite (Nike sponsored) athletes to have a crack at it this weekend.

Naturally, and perhaps unfortunately the worlds best marathoners are split between the two major sponsors, with Adidas boasting the three recent record setters including the current world record holder, Denis Kimetto (Berlin 2014 2:02:57), Wilson Kipsang (2:03:23) and Patrick Makau (2:03:38) whilst Nike have the current Olympic champion and second fastest time holder (Kipchoge, London 2017 in 2:03:05) amongst others.Adidas boasting the three most recent record setters including the current world record holder, (Denis Kimetto, Berlin 2014 2:02:57) whilst Nike have the current Olympic champion and third fastest time holder (Kipchoge, 2:03:05) amongst others.

To bring you up to speed with the Nike lead Breaking2 project, click here.

And in fairness, if you'd like to check out Adidas sub 2 shoe, click here.

Nike pacers in Monza 

Nike pacers in Monza 

It is somewhat reminiscent of the race to break the Four Minute Mile, in 1953/54 when the two major players, Roger Bannister & our own John Landy were running their own projects on opposite sides of the globe, battling to be the first man to break the 4 minute barrier. What each man lacked were pacers to carry them fast enough & far enough through their race at the required pace, before they could launch their final assault into the final lap. No-one could come anywhere near Landy in Australia which left him hanging agonisingly close, whilst Bannister set-up the perfect controlled time trial ( not a sanctioned race) to have his pacer take him as far as he could before he too could only manage a 4:02. Whilst he didn't reach the mark then, he did however find the belief, and he eventually broke it the following year in a proper race. Landy soon followed and further trimmed the mark when he came to Europe where the competition was strong enough to push him to his limits & find the extra yards. This complete story is one of the best running books I have ever read, which I highly recommend; The Perfect Mile, Neale Bascomb.

Whilst many will debate the philosophical correctness of such a bold attempt in a totally controlled environment as opposed to a legal race, the process of the project or experiment itself is a fascinating insight into the depths of exercise science, physiology, and the physical limits of these incredible athletes to follow and observe. And whilst I don't believe the 2 hour barrier will be broken this weekend, like Roger & John in 1952, the belief and impetus will be in motion for it to be possible. Clearly, now the once unfathomable feat is in sight and it is not longer a case of 'if' but rather 'when' this will happen.

If you have nothing better to do this weekend, tune in and see how it unfolds for yourself. With only 23 weeks until our own Melbourne Marathon, what better way to kick start your own sub ?? project!

Tune in at 1:45 pm tomorrow!  

Tune in at 1:45 pm tomorrow!  

For more on the Breaking2 Project, including live video of the attempt from Monza, Italy, click here.

Less than 26 weeks til the 2017 Melbourne Marathon

" For curious reasons, we do care and it does matter. Twenty-six miles and 365 yards is not just a distance. it has become a metaphor. Nobody finds the marathon easy - even professionals, especially professionals. The distance is democratic that way. Everyone who runs a marathon is running against his or her limits. Everyone is forced to manage a certain amount of pain and to recruit hidden reserves. Whatever one's talent or preparation, nobody runs an easy marathon. Mutai's prayer at the start line is not to win, but to finish it. "
-  TWO HOURS, Ed Caesar

With only 26 weeks to go, and one thing is for sure;
Whilst there are no easy marathons, you can bet that the better prepared you are the better your race experience will be.
And so, the time is now to get your personalised program underway, and be well prepared for your Melbourne Marathon on Sunday October 15, 2017 !

It is often said that the hardest part of the marathon is getting through the training, getting to the start line. I couldn't agree more with that statement. That doesn't mean go easy in your training, quite the opposite. That means your training program and how you complete it is vital to your success. This is where many get it wrong, resulting in becoming a non finisher or even worse a non starter. It is very important you get this right from the start.

The objective of a good personalised program is; 

1. Get you to the start line in one piece. This means well prepared, with a race plan, and injury free.

2. Allow you to the finish the race well, elated, and more than a bit tired!

3. Meet your realistic goal race time or perhaps better it.



At Run Well, we can help you to have a successful marathon experience, whether it's you're a First Time  Marathoner, or you are training for a personal best.

If you're Thinking about running the Marathon this year, but are unsure what it takes, here's a brief outline of what you can expect.

Enquire here for your free program assessment, or to ask how we can help you to BE A FINISHER in 2017.

Running Training : it's all neurologic!

There are essentially just two types of running; training & racing. And the only difference between these two, is your pace or intensity. 

If you're not running with good form at all times, you're training your body to do something different.

If you're not running with good form at all times, you're training your body to do something different.

What I mean when I say this is:

With racing we are typically asking our body to perform at the highest level of intensity, with a high level of focus or concentration on every aspect of our running and running form. This we do to maximise our performance for the race.

But what do we do differently in training, when the pace or intensity varies so much?

Training comes in all different shapes & sizes; Recovery, Intervals, Pace, Tempo, Threshold, Steady State, Long Runs.

In training the only difference should be the intensity, and as a result cadence (but only slightly). The mental focus on running form should be just the same.

Here’s another way of looking at it, that most runners will understand.

There is good running form, and poor running form.

Good Running Form = tall posture, strong trunk, high foot/knee pick up, high cadence, yet smooth, light & easy. Good running form sounds like tap, tap, tap, tap. You get what I mean.

Poor Running Form = bent over posture, low hips, collapsing into knees, low feet that drag, slow cadence, bumpy, heavy, hard. Goes more like thud…, thud…, thud….

Whatever your run, your form may be better or worse depending on many factors. If we consider this on a linear scale, and as a runner you will sit somewhere along that scale at any given moment as you run. Most of us will start a run at the better end of the scale ( best form) and often move backwards as the run progresses as our strength is challenged and fatigues takes its toll ( poorer form).

Unless you’re Mo Farah, you’re probably not always at the far right (best) end of the scale, but you still should always be working towards that goal. By that I mean regardless of the type of run, hence the pace/intensity of your run or what stage of your run, you must always focus on good running form, thus aiming to strengthen the neural pathways, and associated muscles that produce good running form. For it is good running form, that produces efficient running that when combined with strength & power means you run fast!

You must always practise good running form always, regardless of your run.

Mo Farah, doesn't get much better!

Mo Farah, doesn't get much better!

This sounds like a lot of work I agree, but the consequence of not doing this is the bigger problem.

As the body responds to it’s environment always ( i.e. how we train it), if you spend time running or allowing yourself to run with anything less than good form (poor form), you are teaching or training your body/muscles to run this way ( poorly).

Now that is clearly counterproductive, and you just simply cannot afford to be doing that, if you want to become a better runner, or remain a good runner, or even get the most out of your training.

So what of slower runs; steady pace long runs, recovery runs and easy runs.

Our body is a dynamic organism in that it is constantly adapting and responding to it’s environment. In this way, we are the product of what we do, or how we keep or train our bodies. Thus running training provides a stimulus that results in stronger, fitter muscles with better condition for running due to accompanying physiologic changes.

But when we train for running, and we achieve stronger, fitter leg muscles there is a higher force that provides this change that must be considered. And this is the brain & nervous system.

When we train to get stronger, we are actually stimulating the nervous system to build a stronger neural connection or pathway to those muscles (and supportive structures & mechanisms) required for that activity (running), and thus adaptation towards greater power/strength & physiologic conditioning can be achieved in those muscle functions.

Not only that, for we are also training the body and in particular, your posture & legs to move in a specific & deliberate manner, and in doing so developing your motor pathways. This of course is also known as your running gait (or form) and very important for running efficiency.

The important point to understand and remember is that this is happening on every run. It is after all neurologic, always.

So in effect, we are not (just) training muscles, but training your nervous system to produce stronger signals, of greater intensity that result in stronger motor patterns and a stronger muscle response. So the effect of this stronger neural pathway, is a stronger, fitter muscular system that produces a stronger response that results in more efficient & more powerful running. This is what makes you faster!

And so, training your body to run, and Run Well means we must practise good running form on every step, of every run, regardless of the type of running session we perform, be it training or racing.

The question you must ask yourself is;

When I am running, when I am training, am I running with my best form, or am I doing something else?

Who is running with better form?

Who is running with better form?

 

If you find during a running session that your form has gone, then you must slow down or stop, get it back together, and then continue with good form. Otherwise you're being counter-productive.

For maximum results & performance, you must always focus first on Running Well.