Thank you so much those of you who attended and got involved with the #sub50project twitter chat yesterday. The topic of this month’s chat was on “What’s the secret to running faster?”. You can check out the tweets by searching twitter using the hashtag: #sub50project, but here is a nice little summary of the chat:
What role does physique play?
Lots of you thought that being lean, long-legged and having the ‘long distance runner’ physique was an advantage to start with, but the consensus was that this was not a prerequisite to running fast. Becs felt that hard work was the most important contributor to running success. Laurie pointed out that good genes will help, but average genes are not a limiting factor – they may just make progress slower.
Positive mental attitude and running faster
We all agreed that having a positive mental attitude was almost as important as hard work! Carli said that this was one of the main things that kept her going after developing an injury during the marathon. Katie and I agreed that we both suffer from mid-race negative thoughts and need to up our mental game! Laurie shared an example of two friends who don’t fit the runner profile and smoke who run fantastic half marathon times. We wondered if this could be due to unbelievable self belief and wanted to know their secret (at least I did!).
Training wise, hill sprints, threshold training and fartlek sessions were all thought to be essential ingredients for developing speed. I for one know I can work on this, but it’s a difficult type of training to do alone.
Timing yourself during a race
We also touched on whether you should time yourself during a race and this is something I would really like to try out as I think I sometimes get too hung up on the numbers. Becs said she never times herself during a race (and Becs is a super speedy runner!). Katie has not timed herself at her local Park Run before and achieved a PB, but felt it was too risky not to use her trusty Garmin for a race when she doesn’t know the course.
Pre-race nutrition and hydration
Caffeine was mentioned pre-race either in the form or tea, coffee and energy drink or a gel, but not everyone was a convinced by caffeine pre-run. Lots of you were fans of porridge, bananas, malt loaf and chia seeds as part of your pre-race nutrition regime. Slow-release carbs were thought to be important. Both Anne-Marie and I are big fans of crumpets as an alternative to bread as they are easier to digest pre-race (preferably with lots of jam!). Hydration pre and during a run is important too – not too much/too little. Difficulty in keeping hydrated during long training runs could be avoided by using a hydration belt, backpack or stashing water bottles en route.
Interestingly, lots of you mentioned the benefits of cross training as part of your running training. Leonie got her great half time after practicing bikram yoga with only 10 runs – she said that the core, leg strength and hip flexibility really helped. Rosie, Katie, Jen and Kate mentioned that they have run PBs in the past cross training on the bike and doing other workouts. Leg strength training (lunges, squats etc) and core work were thought to be almost as important as running itself – something that a few of us really felt we need to work on (including me!).
We didn’t cover the topics of sports massages or post-run nutrition, but we can discuss these on future chats.
Really looking forward to drilling down on these issues some more over the next few weeks.