Run Fast – How to Increase Your Running Efficiency

Running workouts are usually aimed at increasing your condition (you’re never conditioned enough as a runner!) but spending some time in improving your form can actually help you run faster given the same level of condition. Or running as fast while feeling less fatigue.

A good, efficient running form is directly related to high stride rate. World-class runners run at 180 strides per minute during competitions and slightly less when training.

Usually runners increase stride length when they want to increase speed more than they do increase stride rate, but this is not optimal.

One study revealed that in order to DOUBLE your running speed, stride length increases by 85%, and stride rate only by 9%. For example, when speeding up from a ten minutes per mile pace to a 5 minutes per mile, the length of a step increases from 18 to 33 inches, while strides per minutes only increase from 83 to 90.

Therefore, working in improving your stride rate (which might feel innatural at first, you’ll feel like you’re doing baby steps) will give you better results than working on increasing your stride length.

As we read here, the physics behind running is straight-forward: when you stomp your foot on the ground you apply a force to the ground and according to Newton’s third law of dynamics, the ground responds with an equal and opposite force, pushing you up and forward. Time is a major component in power. The shorter the time your feet is in contact with the ground during the stride, the more poweful your step will be.

Further, there is a rebound component to this. If you land with your heel and your gait goes through all the surface of your foot, the resulting pronation will cushion and absorb part of the power you are applying. If you land on your midfoot or forefoot, your foot will “bounce” less and applying more power to the ground, therefore increasing the bounce back and the distance you cover.

The last way to increase your running efficiency is to try and move forward more than you do move up and down. All the energy you use in moving vertically is energy you are not using propelling yourself forward, which is the aim of running.

Running is and will always be a sport where conditioning is essential. Muscular, cardio-vascular and mental stamina are the keys for long distance running. But working on improving your form (after all, you are running anyway, why not doing it better?) and achieving a good efficiency will make you run faster at the same level of conditioning or fatigue less going at the same speed.

Want to read more articles about running gear and training? Running Shoes Guru is the best place to find running shoes reviews and running tips directly from industry insiders.

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Posted by The Running Guy - August 1, 2009 at 1:44 am

Categories: Race, Running Speed   Tags:

How to Cope With Race Day Jitters!

It’s just a few days from a big race and I’m already anxious. What am I afraid of? Running a bad time? Totally bonking? Looking stupid in front of my friends and patients? Drowning in the open water swim? Getting a flat tire? Perishing on the street? Where does all this performance anxiety come from? After 30 years of competitive running you would think I would have conquered race day jitters, but they are always there…kind of like an old friend…or a fungus.

So, how do I cope with race day jitters? Positive self-talk, preparation, visualization and organization!

A race is just another long training day in the company of a few hundred, or sometimes a few thousand, of your closest friends. Most anxiety comes from fear of the unknown and lots of negative self-talk. Reality? your friends and family really don’t care what your time is, whether you place or not, and the world will not end if you run a bad time! My patients are just amazed this old lady is still racing! Times are irrelevant! Setting high goals will just stress you out! Focus on running your best race that day! Relax! Have fun! Go into the race realizing you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I treat every race as a learning experience. Even if you get kicked in the face in the swim and lose your goggles, get a flat tire or totally bonk on the run; you learn something you can use another day!

There are many things you can do to stay relaxed. Here are just a few I have learned along the way:

1. Be prepared! Have a pre-race checklist of everything you need. Set out all you clothes and gear the night before and go through the list. This includes checking your bike tires and inflating them. Finding a flat the morning of the race will send your heart rate through the roof. I set everything out on the living room floor then pack my bag. The bike goes on the car the night before after a thorough check. My nutrition is all set out and the coffee pot is prepped!

2. Never change anything the day of the race. This is not the time to try that new pair of Newtons! Stick with your routines. Treat this as just another long training day! Eat what you would normally eat before a long workout. Extra sleep always helps, so go to bed early!

3. Go to the race with a friend. Having your peeps with you can really help diffuse anxiety. Travel to the race together and help each other calm down. DO NOT let your friends make you crazy. Some people actually feed off others anxiety. If this is you, you may be better off with your iPod as your friend while you set up your transition!

4. Visualize finishing. Visualize the entire race the night before. Go to the race website if you are not completely familiar with the course. Visualize a nice calm swim, a smooth transition, an awesome bike and a killer run! See yourself run a PR. My best races have been played over in my mind a thousand times before they ever happened. Remember what it felt like the last time you had a great race! Embrace that feeling!

5. Get to the race early. Get organized! Find the bathroom and then relax. Warm up and keep up the positive self-talk! Remind yourself that you have done the work and the race is just a celebration of how hard you have pushed yourself and your mental toughness! Claim your reward!

Race day jitters can completely derail your race before it has even started. Don’t let the negativity ruin all your hard work and preparation! Relax! Follow these tips and remember to banish the negative, and stay positive throughout the race! Try to have fun! Whether this is your first marathon or your 100th triathlon, remember to celebrate your training and have a great race!

Need motivation to keep on the run? Dr Marybeth Crane is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon and a veteran marathon running podiatrist. This is an excerpt from her book “If Your Running Feet Could Talk”. For a copy of her book or more information on running injuries, she can be reached at her website or peruse her musing on her blog! She also offer doctor-approved foot care products for your health!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr_Marybeth_Crane

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Posted by The Running Guy - May 17, 2009 at 5:12 am

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What it Takes to Run a 10K

The 10K is the most popular run today and new people are joining this quest every year. It is one of those types of sports like mountain climbing that everyone has to do at least once. Some runners go all over the world in order to do this run and it is no wonder that to run a 10K is such a big deal.

There are many things a runner needs in order to run a 10K and some of it starts with their mindset. All runners know that they have to understand what running means to them. This means they have to know that in order to increase their ability they must run several times a week.

They must work on stamina and speed so that they can develop more quickly. They also must have an opportunity to run a 10K on their schedule at some point in time. Many runners understand that they must train for a 10K in a similar way that a boxer prepares for a fight.

There needs to be good nutrition which means that what they put into their bodies needs to be monitored. Delicious fruits and vegetables, lots of water and other beverages to stay hydrated and some protein will work very well. However, some will want to concentrate on eating low carbs for some of the runs.

Runners who run a 10K know that it is about speed and endurance. They know that they have trained for this for awhile and that they can at least get to the end of the race. Many value the chance to get that far because it is an accomplishment in itself.

Other runners want to improve their speed each time they do another race. When they run a 10K it is like the height of their running enjoyment.

There is also a psychological aspect to run a 10K. This means that you have to have your mind focused on the end of the race instead of the beginning of it. When your mind is focused on the end, you know you can do it. You realize that you have already made it and now all you have to do is go through the motions to get to the end.

The physical aspects to run a 10K means that you will need to be able to run quickly and at a pace that works. You will train in a way that has you running up and down hills, creating your own training methods and learning to get your body into shape as a finely tuned machine.

When you run a 10K be mindful that this is about a journey for most runners. You cannot have overnight success for something like this and it will not be something you can learn to do quickly. Most people train for at least 8 weeks before the first time they run a 10K.

To run a 10K it also takes courage to know that you can stop anytime along the way if you need to and no one will think you a fool.

Go to Jogging Tip to get your free ebook on Jogging at 10K Race. Jogging Tip also has 10K Training Information, and forums and blogs all about jogging. Visit Jogging Tip today to get your free ebook on Jogging.

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Posted by The Running Guy - December 6, 2008 at 1:37 am

Categories: Race, Training   Tags:

Running Strategy and Pacing – How to Plan Your Race Strategy

Running a race is quite different than doing a training run. Sure, you push yourself in training, but being at the starting line of a race – whether you are going for the “win” or running it to compete against yourself – is fun, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time.

Regardless of the distance of the race, your level of experience, or your pace, these basic racing strategies will get you off “on the right foot”:

1. Be honest with yourself. Have you done your speed training? If the answer is yes, then you can probably maintain a faster pace. Is endurance your strength? If yes, then you should be more conservative and pass people later. Be realistic about what you can do.

2. Plan your pace and start slow. This is the hardest thing to do. You get so caught up in the excitement of the race, and you jump off the starting line like a horse out of the starting gate. Your adrenaline is pumping, and you’re so ready to get started that you don’t even feel like you’re running too fast. But when you see your first mile split and it’s 30 seconds than you’ve ever run, you know you’ve gone out way too fast.

3. Make adjustments. If you find that you’ve run the first couple of miles too fast, slow down a little to get to your planned race pace. You know if you can maintain that pace for the rest of the race. If you slow it down a little and by the last couple of miles you feel you have lots of energy left, then kick it in.

4. Hold your pace. If you manage to start out at your planned race pace, focus on maintaining that pace. Many studies show that running even splits often lead to personal records.

5. Run your own race. You are responsible only for yourself. You may have training partners, but when it comes to a race, you should “do your own thing.” You must not feel guilty about leaving a friend behind, nor should they feel like they can’t leave you behind.

6. Set your own goals for every race. Only you can determine your own personal challenge. Just because your partner wants to run a certain time, that does not mean that you must also. Your goals should be appropriate and realistic for you.

And, now I would like to offer you a free special report entitled, “Running 4 Your Life: How to Improve Your Physical, Emotional, Relationship, and Spiritual Health.” Go to http://www.Running4YourLifeblog.net

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 8, 2008 at 7:34 pm

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Marathon Running – How to Pace Yourself

Picking the right pace for yourself during the marathon is the key to how well you eventually complete the race. First of all it’s important to understand what is happening to your body as you progress through the long marathon distance.

At the start you will be running quite comfortably (hopefully anyway!!), due to your marathon training and your carbohydrate stores (glycogen reserves). However your supply of accessible ‘fuel’ is limited, and as you get to the 17 mile mark and later you need to draw energy from your bodies’ protein and fat just to keep going. At the same time you are also fighting dehydration. You can lose 2 – 3lbs per hour of body weight as you sweat during the run.

Now imagine that it’s a windy day or a hilly course (or both!). Your energy output has to increase if you want to maintain your pace and time goal. However this may well mean that you’ll use up your available energy stores before you even reach the 17-18 mile mark.

The same goes for the temperature and humidity level during the race. If these are high you will sweat more and be more affected by dehydration. This will negatively affect your performance by 10 to 15 %, which translates into about 1 minute per mile. In other words you will be slowing down…

Marathon runners ‘hit the wall’ because their glycogen reserves are depleted and they feel really weak. This feeling will be compounded by the effects of dehydration. At this point many runners have stop and walk just to keep going. Obviously they will be unable to meet their marathon time goal.

So, knowing all this in advance, the wise marathoner will carefully assess the race conditions at the start of the race. If it’s hot it’s best to start slower until you have reached a steady running rhythm. The same goes for running into a headwind. You should also take into account your running form after six miles or so. Are you relaxed and feeling as good as you should at this early point in the run? If not – it’s time to slow down for a while to see if you recover.

To successfully complete a marathon you must run as far as you possibly can within your body’s comfort level. That might sound like an oxymoron when we’re talking about 26.2 miles, – but it is possible! If you can reach the 16 mile mark without a lot of stress then you have a good chance of finishing the race without too much trouble.

The key point is to start out with a target pace range in mind, and not an absolute goal like 3hr 45 m. For example you might pick a pace between 8:30 to 9:00 minutes per mile (for a marathon time in the 3hr 40m to 4 hr range approximately). Then adjust your pace according to the conditions and your own running ability on marathon day. It’s usually better to start at the slower end and then increase the pace as you get further into the race.

Try this and you may well be pleasantly surprised with how well you complete the race.

Mike is a fitness enthusiast, runner and walker who has completed over 25 marathons. For more information about running the marathon, download a copy of his Free report ‘Marathon Race Strategies‘ Mike is also the developer of customized training logbooks. To get your own personalized Running Log, visit Custom Running Logs. His website about marathon information and training can be found at: 26.2 – The Marathon Website.

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Posted by The Running Guy - May 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm

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