Category Archives: Racing

Put an End to Starting Races Too Fast

We’ve all been there; most of us more than once.  You’re at the start line.  Excited, waiting for the race to start.

The (simulated) gunshot. The race starts.  Buoyed by the cheering crowds, adrenaline pumping through your veins, you take off like a sprinter out of the starting blocks.

Then, you look for daylight. “If I can just zip around these two football players and dart past that slow guy who should have started in the last corral, I’ll be in the clear and can run my race.

Repeat three or four more times during the first mile.

The result? Despite knowing better, you start way too fast. You spend too much precious energy running sideways searching for a clear path; looking more like a quarterback trying to avoid being sacked by the enemy linemen than like a marathoner.

You pay a steep price at the end of your race.  Tired muscles.  Legs that seem like they’re made of lead. Your form is shot. Your lungs burn. Your chest feels like it will explode.

Your morale takes a beating too. An endless stream of runners pass you as you stumble towards the finish line.  To add insult to injury, a few of them have no business finishing before you.

Why does starting too fast kill your race?

Increase Your Stride Rate to Run Faster and Reduce Injury

Your running speed is dependent upon two factors: stride length and stride rate (also called turnover or cadence). Increase either factor and you’ll run faster.

Recent research shows that increasing your stride rate may also decrease your injury risk.

Findings reported by Dr. Reed Ferber in the July/August issue of Running Room Magazine supports this conclusion. Ferber reports on studies involving recreational runners

Cure Your Gastric Distress and Race Faster

DrinkingWatersmLike many runners, our coaching client Linda has difficulty tolerating sports drinks during training and racing. The resulting severe stomach cramps have ruined many long runs and has dashed race plans. It makes fueling during long runs and races very challenging.

Well, a solution may be at hand.

Alex Hutchinson writes in his Sweat Science blog  — over the past nine years, several research studies have shown that swishing a sports drink in your mouth and spitting (not swallowing) boosts performance in endurance events longer than 30 minutes in duration When and Why to Swish-n-Spit Your Sports Drink.

It may be hard to believe, but it’s hard to argue with ………. as the evidence mounts.

Treadmill or Dreadmill?

TreadmillsmDid you know treadmills were first used in English prisons in the early 1800’s to “correct” prisoners’ behaviour?History and humour aside — due to the nasty weather this winter in most parts of North America, many runners are completing much more of their training on treadmills than they usually would.

Let’s consider – are treadmill running and outdoor training equivalent? Are any adaptations required to make the two more identical?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of treadmill running?

One major difference between treadmill and outdoor running is the lack of wind resistance indoors.   Expending energy to overcome wind resistance makes outdoor running more difficult. Research shows setting the treadmill at a 1% incline will cancel the advantage of not having to overcome wind resistance, making the two more equivalent.

What You Need to Know about Osteoporosis

Used with permission by Jeff Galloway.  Excerpt from Women’s Guide to Running by Barbara and Jeff Galloway, Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd. www.JeffGalloway.com

After age 30, we lose bone mass each year. Weight bearing exercises, such as walking and running, have been shown to strengthen the bones (or at least maintain bone density), when there is adequate calcium in the diet. Some strength exercises can also strengthen connections to the spine and can help to maintain bone strength in this very important structure. Ask strength experts for other exercises that can help you. Swimming and cycling are two examples of non weight-bearing exercises that will not promote bone density.

Research Shows – Older Does NOT Mean Slower

maturefastsmFabulous news for older runners who aim to improve their running and racing!  It was commonly believed that running economy (one’s ability to utilize oxygen at a given pace) decreases with age.  The higher your running economy, the less oxygen you require to run at a given pace.  Therefore, an “economical” runner can continue running at a given speed for a longer period of time than her less economical counterpart.  Running economy is reliable indicator of distance race performance.

An article written by Gretchen Reynolds (that appeared in Tara Parker Pope’s December 21st, 2011 New York Times Well Blog) reported on research conducted at the University of New Hampshire (published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research) that lays this myth to rest.  Dr. Timothy Quinn, the study’s lead author: “Contrary to our beliefs, economy did not decline with age”.  Being able to utilize oxygen efficiently, middle aged and older runners are capable of fast running and race times.

The #1 Best Workout for Distance Runners?

RunningonTrackSmallAre intervals more beneficial to distance runners than other workouts, such as steady state runs or tempos?

(Intervals consist of short bursts of high intensity runs separated by a recovery period of slow jogs.  Tempos are run at a “comfortably hard” pace, about 85% of max heart rate or an 8 out of 10 on the perceived exertion scale. Steady state runs are run slightly slower than tempo runs).

An article written by Alex Hutchinson in the March/April 2011 issue of Canadian Running reported on a Danish study that attempted to answer this question.

The study consisted of two groups that ran three times weekly.  The interval group ran 5 x 2 minute sprints (5 repeats of 2 minute sprints) at 95% max heart rate. The second group completed hour long steady state runs at 80% max. After 12 weeks, the group running intervals had increased aerobic fitness by 14%, whereas the steady state group increased theirs by 7%.

Train Less, Race Faster

RelaxingsmThe Critical Importance of Strategic Rest and Recovery

One of our favourite quotes is applicable to many areas in life.

Take time to recharge your battery. You won’t get the Golden Egg without
first taking care of the Goose.

Frank McKinney

We don’t know if Frank is a runner, but his words are very relevant to running and racing — staying free of injury and illness and racing to your fullest potential.

Daphne Lovegrove (North Bay, Ontario) was running 5 days per week. In addition, she hit the gym for two strengthening sessions and a spin class every week.  She did yoga too.  Her dream was to qualify for Boston.  Daphne needed to reduce her marathon time by 23 minutes to qualify.

She asked: “What is the best way to improve so that I can qualify for Boston without killing myself?”

Win a FREE Copy of “Injury-Free Running For Women Over 40”

Next Monday, Injury-Free Running For Women Over 40 will go on sale at a one-time low introductory price.  However …..

Here’s your chance to win one of FIVE copies of Injury-Free Running For Women Over 40.

It only takes a couple of minutes to enter.

All you need to do is reply to this blog post telling us “why Injury-Free Running for Women Over 40 would be perfect for you“. Please feel free to share about your past and current struggles with injuries and how this ebook will help you get better results.

We’ll read every one of your responses this weekend and choose the FIVE winners. We’ll notify the winners by email. The winners will be able to download the book and special bonus reports too.

Thank you for participating.  Good luck!

P.S.   Don’t miss the introductory offer that starts on Monday.

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