#sub50project: Sports nutrition Q&A

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Sports nutrition is something that is often greatly overlooked by runners, but how important is nutrition on performance?

The start line for any runner should always be to get your base nutrition right first, then utilise sports nutrition to provide you with what your body needs. If you ignore the fundamentals of nutrition for a runner then you will never realise your full potential, the same could be said for missing out any of the three pillars to success – training, rest and nutrition.

What types of foods should a runner include in their diet and what role does each of these foods play?

As a guide your meals should contain 60% of your calories from carbohydrates – the primary energy source for your body – from foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and vegetables. Lean proteins, which are the building blocks of your body, should make up 15-20%, so consume foods such as chicken, mince and turkey. The remaining 20-25% comes from fats, which play a vital role in supporting the body’s organs, temperature, skin, hair as well as healthy cell function. Ideally avoid foods high in saturated fat and choose sources such as nuts, oils, avocado and peanut butter. You should also consume between 2-2.5 litres of liquid throughout the day, which when combined with your food will aid fuel and hydrate, making you ready for your race and training.

What would you recommend eating before a race or a training run?

The morning of the race you should look to consume a high carbohydrate based meal 2-4 hours before your race start time. Aim to eat a carbohydrate rich breakfast like porridge & toast with jam or honey. Keep your fibre intake low, and avoid high protein and fatty foods. You should try and drink 500ml of water during this period to ensure you’re not dehydrated before you start your race. For that extra boost 30 minutes before your race get your carbohydrate fix through sports bars such as the Maxifuel Viper Boost Bar. This also contains caffeine which will help with alertness and focus to help you get through your race.

Are there any macro/micronutrients that have been shown to improve muscle recovery?

The main nutrient associated with aiding muscle recovery is protein. When you do any form of exercise your muscles are used, and the longer and more intense the exercise, the more stress you apply on them. Protein acts as the building block for your body so not only is it beneficial for things like your skin, hair and nails, but more importantly it helps to support muscle growth and recovery after exercise.

How important is it to take on protein post exercise? What else might a runner need after a run?

Once you have crossed the finish line you need to think about recovery and protein plays an important part as it aids muscle recovery. Carbohydrates are also important to replenish energy stores that you have used up during you run. Aim to consume approximately of 1g of carbohydrate per Kg of body weight and combined with 15 to 30g of protein as soon as possible after the race. For example a 60 kg individual would consume 60g of carbohydrate and 20g of protein. Recovery shakes, such as Maxifuel Recovermax, use a blend of 3:1 carbohydrate to protein to consume after exercise. With regards to hydration, sip on liquid after you’ve finished for the first hour and ensure your urine is of a pale straw colour. This should then be followed by a meal a couple of hours later to continue the refuelling and recovery process.

There have been lots of reports of the benefits of beetroot juice on running performance. Why is this? What other foods/supplements might have a similar impact on performance?

Beetroot juice has had a reasonable amount of reports in the last few years about its benefits to exercise. The effects reported range from altering blood pressure, making the body more efficient at using oxygen and improving performance during anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Whilst some research has suggested possible physiological benefits of beetroot (nitrate) supplements, there is limited evidence linking this to meaningful performance benefits. One ingredient that has been shown to benefit performance is caffeine. Yes it may not be suitable for everyone dependent on how sensitive you are but the benefits of reducing the perceived effort of exercise and increasing mental focus & alertness in effect makes exercise easier.

What sports supplements, vitamins and minerals do you recommend runners should take (if any) over the long term?

Over the long term it’s more important to have a healthy balanced diet that contains a good selection of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and good fats. This will always give you the best foundations to work from and then sports supplements can be used where required to optimise your training and races. Sports nutrition to aid your performance during running comes in several formats and the most common are listed below:

  • Carbohydrate gels – most will provide around 30g of carbohydrates per serving and are easy to carry like Maxifuel’s Viper Active Gel.
  • Cereal bars – like the carbohydrate gels these provide fuel but as an alternative for when you want something a little more filling to nibble on.
  • Caffeine gels – as well as providing fuel in the form of carbohydrates, they provide a kick of caffeine for when the going gets tough.
  • Electrolyte tablets – these help replace the salts you lose when you sweat and combined with water.
  • Isotonic drinks – these come in liquid format and powder versions that you can mix with water. Providing carbohydrates and electrolytes to refuel and hydrate at the same time.
  • Recovery drinks – these normally come in a powder format like Recovermax from Maxifuel, which you add to water at the end of the race to support muscle recovery. They contain a combination or protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes to help replace what exercise takes out.

Coconut water has become really popular in the last couple of years. Is it all hype or are you better off sticking to drinking water or a sports drink?

Coconut water is a product that contains around 90% water, a small amount of carbohydrates and a couple of electrolytes and is derived from the water naturally occurring in coconuts. It is used as a hydration formula for this reason but the reported health benefits are not based on any research. If you are exercising at a low to moderate rate in normal weather conditions for less than 60 minutes, then just water should be ok for the majority of people. If you increase the length or intensity of exercise then the requirements change. The body’s carbohydrate store will start to deplete, meaning to keep going your performance will rely on fuel and fluid replenishment. You should try to drip feed your body with easily digested carbohydrates. A sports drink can help with this, by providing carbohydrate fuel, electrolytes and water to aid hydration. So as a rule, use water for low intensity/short periods of exercise but for longer periods and higher intensity use an isotonic drink, which are designed for the job in hand and provide the correct amount of carbohydrates to fuel your run like Maxifuel’s Viper Active.

Should runner’s carb load or are we better off upping our ‘good fats’?

Carbohydrate loading is not essential if the length of exercise is not too long or strenuous. If however it’s longer and potentially harder, then carbohydrate loading is an option to look at. It essentially involves increasing your calorie intake the few days before your race by consuming more carbohydrates. The reason you should use carbohydrates instead of good fats is because carbohydrates is the primary energy source for your body during intense exercise. This means your body finds it easier to use it for energy as and when you require it. Runners who recommend carbohydrate loading tend to report they have more energy and can go further before they start to struggle, meaning a potential personal best is on the cards.

I’d like to thank Maxifuel expert nutritionist, Eric Johnstone for his excellent nutrition help and advice. 

sian

#sub50project: Inspirational runners – Sarah

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Can I get a ‘whoop, whoop’ for Sarah off of Dreaming of Footpaths? I came across this phenomenal amateur and newbie runner a little while ago, and was absolutely astonished with her incredible progress. I thought if there’s any little nugget of wisdom I can glean in the hope that one day I might be as awesome as her then what the hell I might as well get her to share it with us!

Since 2010, she has gone from completing 5k in 30 minutes to 20 minutes, and has a an incredible marathon time of 3h 25 minutes. This chick is totally badass!

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I started to run as I’d recently lost weight and didn’t want to put it back on. I was determined to stay in my new size jeans.

But running? I hated it. I turned bright red, I was puffing and panting like a dirty caller and I couldn’t work out how people made it look so effortless! My arms were flailing and I couldn’t get into a rhythm with my legs. Running – ugh! No thanks. But … as it turned out running was the most efficient way to burn calories. I had a lunch hour to work out on and needed to use that hour as effectively as possible…even if it meant spending my time on the dreaded treadmill.

However, after a while it became a habit. I’d get onto the treadmill, switch the playlist on and try to beat the distance I’d managed to run last time. Or better still…do the same distance in a better time. I still have the date I beat 30 minutes for a 5km. It was 3rd of August 2010.

Then….I discovered running outdoors!! I was hooked. It didn’t matter if I was bright red and flailed my arms like a crazy woman when I ran. I was outside! If people laughed at how I looked I could run away from them! I was a runner!

Things that have helped me to improve:

  • Make sure I can run farther than the race distance. This is BRILLIANT as when it starts getting hard you can reassure yourself “I ran further than this in training.” It’s a great mental trick.
  • Don’t make every run a race. You’ll wear yourself out, mentally and physically. Not every training run can be a PB.
  • Do your intervals!! This is crucial if you want to speed up. A good one is mile repeats. Run these faster than you would in your race and give yourself a 5 minute jogging break, then do another.
  • Take it off road. Trail running is brilliant. It’s like a rest day for your mind, you can get muddy and dirty and timing doesn’t matter. Your ankles will get stronger, it’s better for your joints and it’ll be a more effective workout as you’ll be using your whole body. Plus – and this is a big plus – it will speed you up ON road and therefore in your races.

Race PBs:

  • 5k: 20:39
  • 10k: 49:44
  • Half Marathon: 1:35
  • Marathon: 3:25

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Thanks Sarah, if you want some more inspiration go check out her blog here.

sian

#sub50project: Strength training for runners

Here is the third installment from John Wood who coaches for Tri-Coaching, a Bristol-based coaching company that specialises in technique and training plans for athletes of all abilities from beginner to international – and all levels in between! John reminds us that running faster isn’t just about running, we need to think about strength trainng too.

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In my first blog I said there were three key elements to running better/faster/stronger. The first was how you train – including speed intervals. The second, more importantly, was technique and being more efficient. Finally – and possibly most important of all – is muscular and postural strength.

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Endurance athletes (and a lot of women, sorry to stereotype) are scared of doing strength work, for what I see as two main reasons:

1) There is the worry that doing strength work builds muscle bulk, which is then seen as unattractive, or as an unnecessary hindrance to running. This is INCORRECT! Yes you can tone up a little more by doing strength exercises, but you won’t automatically become like Jodie Marsh or Arnie just by doing some squats and sit ups! That takes a lot of time, effort, particular training and dietary requirements – and most probably some additional help.

2) Runners see running as the most effective way to train, which is understandable. However if you are busy trying to work on weak muscles and poor kinetic chains, you’re more at risk of injury. Here are a handful of exercises that you can do that don’t require extra kit or going to the gym and will really help your running. I’ll also explain how and why each exercise will help.

Plank:

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Prop yourself up on your elbows with your feet slightly apart. Make sure your body is aligned, your abdominal muscles are tight, and shoulders are directly above the elbows and down and back, not hunched up. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute. Gradually add time as your core gets stronger.

This will help you run tall, with your hips in alignment, without your back collapsing.

Extensions: Lift a foot off the floor (without dropping the hips), or go to moving planks where you move up into a press up position and back down again.

Side plank:

Similar to the plank, but on your side. Elbow under shoulder, hips vertical (not rocking backward), legs out straight. This will help give you the elastic strength around your sides so that you can drive your arms back and help get the lift from the opposite leg.

Extensions: Lift your arm in the air vertically, potentially lift your top leg, or even moving side planks where you sink your hips down, then push back up through your side muscles. All the time your hips stay vertical.

Squats:

A simple favourite! Plant your feet. They should be flat on the ground, about shoulder-width apart. Get below the bar and bend your knees slightly. You’ll want equal weight distribution throughout each foot during the exercise. Feet should be forward or slightly turned out. Feet should be about shoulder width apart to give you good balance but without putting sideways pressure on the knees. Look straight ahead. Keeping your back straight, bend at your knees as if you were going to sit down and back in a chair. Keep your heels on the floor. Make sure that you get your quads parallel to the ground, for full range of motion. Lower yourself. In a controlled manner slowly lower yourself down and back so that your upper legs are nearly parallel with the floor. Do not extend below parallel. Keep the weight distributed on your upper thighs and the heels or balls of your feet, not on your toes or your knees. Keep the downward (eccentric) motion slow, then squeeze and drive upward – you gain more strength that way. The glutes (bum muscles) and quads are what give you your driving force, make you go forward faster!

Extensions: Add weight for extra resistance. To make it extra difficult, go for jumping squats and really get your glutes and quads firing!

Lunges:

Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. To make it even more run specific, as you step forward on one leg, take the opposite arm forward. It’s good for balance, and for neuromuscular memory. This is (if you can picture it) a super extended running stride, working strength, power and balance.

Extensions: Add weight – either across the shoulders or in the hands. You could put your back foot off a step and just dip down, increasing the stability element. Or to super charge, go for jumping split squats.

Single leg balances:

Simple as it sounds. Stand on one leg. With the other, either lift your knee so your thigh is parallel with the ground, or stretch it out behind you (without leaning forward). Running is a series of single leg balances – if we can’t balance on one leg, how can we expect to run efficiently?

Extension: Close your eyes, it throws the body’s sense of balance! If that is easy enough, try these, making it slightly more mobile.

Calf raises and contractions:

Standing on a step on your toes, slowly lower yourself down to the point where you feel a stretch in your calf. This should take 4-5 seconds. Then drive back up to the top (video here). This will help with both absorbing the impact on your calves but also pushing off. You gain more strength from the slow lowering than you do from the explosive push (approximately 40%), so take your time and control the motion!

Extension: Do it on one leg rather than two. If that is easy, minimise the amount of stability you take from a wall/step.

Shin strengthening:

Walk around on your heels with your toes pulled up off the floor for around 45s (video here). Weakness in Tibialis Anterior can contribute to overuse injuries elsewhere in the ankle and shin region. This exercise helps again with that stabiliser.

Toe curls:

Standing on a towel with it flat beneath your feet, use your toes to grip and scrunch the towel back toward you. Use all 5 toes for this. Then push the towel back away from you (here).  Strengthens the foot, protects agains shin splints and plantar fasciitis, and improves push-off power.

Doing all these exercises 2 to 3 times a week, maybe instead of that extra (4th/5th/6th) run will help make your running more stable and more strong. Remember form is important as is posture – so if you feel things start to fall apart, don’t push it, we don’t want to cause injury. Equally, if you can’t hold your form on the entry level exercises, don’t try and do the extended versions.

Happy running and Train Smart!

John

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Thanks John yet again for some excellent advice – I think this is something that most runners neglect to do, but strength training is so important and I’m already integrating it into my routine.

sian

#Sub50project: Meet the participants (2) and social meet

So we met the first batch of guinea pigs willing participants last week and word has spread through the blog vine such we have a few more people who want to get involved (the more, the merrier if you ask me!).

In no particular order, please welcome…

Katy

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With the big 3-0 looming I started running again seriously this year, having not run a race since the Great Scottish Run back in Sep 2011, when I clocked a 56 minute 10K. After that, for some reason, I just stopped running, After months of nothing, I decided to start blogging in July 2013 to have some accountability and to motiviate me to keep going. I won a place in the Run to the Beat half marathon in September with just 4 weeks to train!! Hard work and determination got me round the course in just under 2 hours, so was pretty pleased. I then ran the Teach First 10K in October in just over 52 mins and now I’m determined to get sub 50! Oh, and I’m running the london marathon in April so every little bit of training will help…

Bibi

Bibi

A lover of running, tea and yummy healthy food, I founded the blog www.veggierunners.com with my mum, to natter about all of the above. Spending my teenage years on the granola-loving West Coast of Canada, I learned to support my running with plenty of yoga practice to keep myself injury free. I now live in the North of England, where I am trying to buy a house with room enough for all of my trainers and good light for my food photos.

Helen

Helen

I started running in Summer 2012 and blog at www.pixietrails.com. I was initially hampered by gait-related blisters, which took over year to diagnose & fix), and prevented me from running more than 5k without pain. My usual runs are still normally 5k, sometimes a bit further up to 10k. I don’t have the patience to run much further on roads, preferring trail runs, although I have completed two half marathons.

My PBs to date are: 5k: 25.34, 10k: 53.52 (both on my local hilly training route, August & October 2013 respectively), and half marathon: 2h07 (Bristol half 2013 – a lack of long training runs showed in the second half of that race, although the result was a 23 minute improvement on last year’s race!).

I’m therefore quite a way off having a sub-50 10k in my sights. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find the time to prioritise improving my running speed while also enjoying other sports such as cycling, and also doing a lot of travelling around the country for work, so my training for the #sub50project definitely needs to be focused on quality, not quantity. Looking forward to sharing tips, advice and the journey.

Lisa

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I’m Lisa and I’m a 35-year-old mum of two mainly seen running round East London.

Technically I have done sub 50 – just 49.46 at pride 10k in 2012 (did same race 2 yrs earlier in time of 67 mins) but in run up to Brighton half in Feb 2013 my right hip started playing up. I ran Brighton and surprised myself with knocking 8 mins off previous half and completing in 1.50.59. Stupidly I didn’t rest or go and see anyone and kept on training despite being in pain. Ran Bupa 10k and came in at 50.25. I pulled out of RPH as hip so bad and stopped running for the summer. I have appointment at sports injury clinic at beginning of November so once got all clear will get training again. Currently running 10k in 54ish mins. I ran London marathon in 2012 in 4.22.23. Other running aims are sub 4.10 marathon and sub 1.50 half. Here’s hoping physio can fix me.

Josie

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Hello, I’m Josie. I’ve been running for just over 2 years, I started with a women’s only 5k in Hyde Park and haven’t ever really looked back! I’ve done loads of 10k’s and 2 half marathons since then, and this summer saw me take on my first triathlon; the Super Sprint at Blenheim. I loved it so much I entered another one at Eton Dorney, and finished the season off with a 2.5km open water swim race in the torrential rain. I’m a super-temp, actor, yogi and recent ParkRun devotee with a 52 minute 10k that I would LOVE to get down!

Charlie

Charlie

I’m currently training for my second marathon, the New York City Marathon that I’m running on Nov 3rd (check out www.therunnerbeans.co.uk to see if I can beat my last marathon time!). I’m hoping that post-marathon, transitioning from long runs to short, fast runs and focusing on speed will mean my min mile pace will drop.

My current 10K time is 53.39, achieved during a very busy, overcrowded 10K. After running a 1.52 half marathon a few weeks ago, I know I can run a faster 10K, and I want to earn an elusive sub 50 10,000m!

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http://london-greenwich.mo-running.com

I other news, we are having a #sub50project meet at the Mo Running 10k at Greenwich park on 30th November. It’s just a bit of fun not about PBs (unless you want it to be) and a chance for me to hand out some Beet It Sport for you to try out for a mini #sub50project experiment later in the year.

If you want to run, just enter as an individual here or if you want to come along and support instead (“come on mo fos”, etc), please do. Tashes at the ready people!

sian

#sub50project: Running technique

Another guest post from John Wood who coaches for Tri-Coaching, a Bristol-based coaching company that specialises in technique and training plans for athletes of all abilities from beginner to international – and all levels in between!

No one teaches you how to run. It’s just something we all do, right? So how come some people just float while others seem to get injured all the time?

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Depending on how crunched for time you are, working on your technique and making subtle alterations could make changes to your speed. If time is your friend, and you have a good solid period before you think about racing, this could be something to look at. Equally, if you find yourself chronically injury prone, then this might be something to work on to minimise the impact on your body.

This isn’t to say that there is one rule for everyone, and that we should all be identical of course – just watch the Olympics, any running event and compare all the runners. Yes there are similarities, but there are also differences between each individual – and potentially with one athlete running different length events! All we are looking at here are little cues to focus on to move a little easier and a little faster!

Running ability and technique is potentially limited by various different factors – but they all interlink and have a combined effect on running as a whole.

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Some runners for instance, might find that they can get a full range of movement through the hips, knees and ankles, but may be lacking in strength and control. Whereas others might find plenty of strength in calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes – but are limited by minimal flexibility of the hip girdle and lower spine. A good warm up for hard sessions is necessary to loosen up the body – the harder the session is going to be (for instance like the speed intervals mentioned last week!) the longer and more comprehensive the warm up should be.

Running speed is dictated by the following equation: Speed (or economy) = Frequency (cadence) x Stride Length

So to improve our running speed and economy (i.e. get faster or go easier) we need to work out how to preferably increase both in some way shape or form.

Stride length is governed by the distance between foot strike and toe off. However a longer stride does not mean necessarily pushing out further in front of you – in fact quite the opposite. The further in front of your body that your foot hits the ground, the more shock will go back through your knee, hip and lower back. This also acts as a kind of braking force, slowing you down as well. The closer you can land to under your hips, the less force you put your body under; also the more stable you are. Obviously both of these factors will help minimise injury. From here you can push out behind you to drive off.

To change cadence, first of all find out what you normally run at. Count your steps for a minute. The number bandied around as the ideal is 90 – but that’s a little too general – depending on pace, strength, mobility etc, a good number would be between 85-95 (or 170-190 for both feet together). Before I started looking at my technique, I was around 72-74 strides per minute! The first thing to think about with cadence is standing up nice and tall. Pull your core in and lift the hips up and forward. Might sound odd but try it jogging for 20seconds – it should help shorten contact time on the floor and minimise the chance of your feet stretching out in front. If you do any running on a treadmill, do spells where you count your strides for minutes at a time, looking to increase your cadence incrementally.

You can do drills like fast feet and heel flick drills with high turnover – essentially working the front end or the back end of the running stride at speed, the heel flicks help activate a knee bend which is very useful in getting your foot forward nice and quickly. By using your hamstrings to bend your knee once you have pushed off the ground, you have a far shorter lever to lift forward (from the hip; see YouTube video for more information).

Many runners don’t pay enough attention to the action of their upper body. They allow the upper body to remain passive and if anything overly rotate through the torso. We need upper body rotation, not only to counter the desired rotation of the pelvis and lower body as we run, but also to help engage the core properly. However many runners display excess rotation, making life harder for themselves. With the rotation should obviously come the arm drive from the elbows. The quicker you go, the bigger the movement of the arms should be – just compare Usain Bolt’s arm action to Mo Farah (and not just in their celebrations!). The 2 similarities between them are that the elbow moves forward and back (not round the sides) and that it moves in time with their opposite foot – helping with that upper body rotation and spring loading. This is something that you can use as a cue for when you tire; as you start to struggle, think about driving the elbows back with force.

At no point have I mentioned how your feet should hit the ground (heel/midfoot/forefoot) – this is intentional! It is far more important WHERE your foot lands rather than HOW. One of the main issues we see in runners is the tendency to over stride, landing the foot (regardless of contact pattern) significantly ahead of the centre of gravity. This increases the braking forces experienced upon initial contact, as well as increasing contact time/soft tissue stress. Usually the over striding athlete will display a significant heel strike, loading the heel upon contact. By thinking about landing under the hips rather than out in front, by increasing cadence, and by lifting the hips up and forward, it doesn’t matter whether you land on your toes, on your midfoot or on your heel; either way, the landing should be relatively light, controlled and less shocking to your body.

As I mentioned, there isn’t one perfect way to run – we’re all too unique as humans. However there are some standard practises which are useful to work towards to make ourselves as efficient and stable as possible.

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Thanks John for some excellent pearls of wisdom!

sian

#sub50project: Unlocking the psychology of running

So on Wednesday we had the second of the #sub50project twitter chats on the psychology of running. This is a very broad topic so I was unsure how it was going to pan out, but we had some really interesting points raised by all. Big thank you to those of you who joined in and made it happen!

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Listening to audiobooks or nothing at all may be preferable to music

Interestingly, quite a lot of you said that you prefer to run without music to take in surroundings, listen to your body and savour the silence. Victoria mentioned that running is her ‘me’ time so she has ditched the music. Also, on race day, if you have headphones on you can’t soak up the race atmosphere, which can bolster you along. As an alternative to music, some of you mentioned listening to audiobooks and Chris suggested podcasts instead.

Would you ditch the music or do you ‘need’ it?

Running and anxiety: PB chasing and compulsive Garmin checking may be detrimental for performance and spoil the fun of running 

Can checking our Garmin’s frequently help or hinder performance, raised Helen? I for one can become obsessed with checking my Garmin and we wondered if seeing a slower pace than expected could cause anxiety and actually have a negative impact on running performance. Also, getting wound up about running all the time takes away the enjoyment of it. We all agreed that for short runs, we can leave the Garmin at home, but it’s more important for longer runs (10k and over) to ensure we are on track to meet target time. Steph suggested Parkrun as a good run to try running without the Garmin.

Could you run without the Garmin or are you surgically attached to it? How about giving it a go at your local Parkrun this weekend?

Adding your  name to your race shirt makes you feel like a rock star – fact!

By adding your name to your shirt on race day and hearing random spectators shouting your name out can really lift your mood – got to be a good thing right?

Uncontrolled pre-race nerves can be a bad thing

Steve mentioned that his best races have been spur of the moment race entries with poor preparation. John mentioned that nerves are good as thing as they increase adrenaline thereby increasing speed, but you have to be able to control them.

We need to bask in post-race successes rather than focus too much on what could have been

Lisa, Danny and I all confessed to focussing on the negative after a race – should have drank more, taken a gel, eaten more, or sprinted sooner/later etc. Shoulda, woulda, coulda! This seems to add extra stress and stops us enjoying the run as much as we should.

Are you guilty of this?

Having a mental strategy can help provide focus during a run

Lots of you mentioned breaking the race up into bite-sized chunks – eg, half marathon into 4x 5ks, making it seem much more manageable. In addition, others mentioned mantras that they say to themselves such as ‘I love my daughter’ and ‘just keep going’, etc. I visualise my disappointment at failure and that spurs me on, while others think of positive thoughts to get them through. Others picked a person to try and stick with for the race.

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Thanks again everyone for contributing and giving us all food for thought for the next run.

sian

#sub50project: Twitter chat on Wednesday at 8pm GMT

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Coming up on Wednesday 23rd October at 8pm GMT is the second #sub50project twitter chat. The topic of the discussion is “Impact of psychology on running performance”.

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We all train ourselves physically for a race, but do we prepare ourselves mentally? Do you have any mental strategies for staying focussed during a long run? How do you compartmentalise a race so that the pace seems achievable over a given duration? What about challenges and pressures outside of running, such as pressures from family and friends who don’t ‘understand’ why you run? How do you deal with mental fatigue?

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If you have the answers to some of these questions or you would love to learn more, than please do join in. Anyone with a twitter account can join in by using the hashtag #sub50project.

sian