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Carb Loading: What Do Elite Runner’s Eat Before A Race? (Part 1)

Carb Loading: What Do Elite Runner’s Eat Before A Race? (Part 1)

The days preceding the big race you’ve been preparing for over several months can trigger anxiety and doubt in any runner. What should I wear come race day? How much should I be running during my taper? What will the weather be like? How much should I warm up? A stream of worries that don’t come into play before a standard training session but are prompted by the pressure put on yourself because of months of preparation.

Another major source of confusion for athletes is what to eat! Here we look at pre-race nutrition and later we will examine the intricacies of feeding yourself during a sustained effort. Pre-race food is something that never fails to spark debate between runners and will most certainly continue to be met with mixed opinions for years to come.

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Why Run Easy? Here Are The Benefits Of Easy Running

Why Run Easy? Here Are The Benefits Of Easy Running

alent can take you far, but as many elite runners can tell you, talent is nothing without the commitment to train hard. Most of the best middle to long distance runners in the world frequently log 160km (100 miles) per week that consists of threshold runs, intervals, fartlek, hill work and continuous short, medium and long runs. No pain, no gain, right? Not exactly.A significant percentage of most elite athletes’ training logs consist of easy running; that is running at speeds less than 1 minute per/km (or 1.5mins/mile) slower than their 10km race pace. This effort “aerobic running” is done right around 70% (give or take 5%) of the maximum heart beat count per minute and at this effort, runners should be able to have a conversation.“The most common mistake most runners make is that they think if they’re running easily then they’re not getting much benefit,” says Brian Rosetti, a running coach in New York City and founder of the Run SMART Project. That couldn’t be more off-base because easy (or sexy pace) running comes with a laundry list of benefits.

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Altitude Training – Why, When And How To Get High (Part 2)

Altitude Training – Why, When And How To Get High (Part 2)

During a short stay at altitude it will be tempting to cram in as many hard workouts as possible to reap the benefits for which you’ve travelled so far. Many athletes fall into the trap of working too hard, too soon. This can overstress the immune system, interfering with the generation of red blood cells and leaving you flat and low on energy. For the initial days at elevation cut back on mileage and stick to easy runs, it’s important to go easy as the body is already subjected to significant stress. If flying from sea level to a significant enough elevation (generally over 2500m), altitude sickness is a real risk – and, importantly, aerobic fitness isn’t a protective factor. Watch out for developments of nausea, headache, trouble sleeping or significant shortness of breath. To start with, focus on feeling, not pace. Pay heed to your perceived level of exertion. It may feel like you’re struggling to even handle a crawling pace, this is a normal part of the adaptation to altitude. If you finish an easy run feeling like you’ve just run a hard race you should be cutting back. Make sure to keep pace easy and only progress to faster workouts after around a week of adaptation.

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Altitude Training – Why, When And How To Get High (Part 1)

Altitude Training – Why, When And How To Get High (Part 1)

The effects of training at altitude on athletic performance have undergone much scrutiny in recent decades. Many athletes who have dominated the domain of long distance running have spent their lives living and training at altitude – notably the East Africans in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda who almost exclusively come from high elevations. And since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, which took place at 2200 metres above sea level, the vast majority of medallists at major championships have either lived or trained at altitude. Here we will look at the effects of altitude training on the body, why athletes incorporate it into their training regimes, and how you should go about trying it out for yourself. Nowadays, altitude training is a component of virtually all elite running programs. Many elites are flocking to elevated hubs such as Flagstaff, Boulder, and lesser known spots in Kenya, Ethiopia and Mexico. But what is it about running at altitude that can give such a boost to athletic performance?

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Running Twice A Day  – What’s The Point?

Running Twice A Day – What’s The Point?

“Cumulative mileage matters–no matter how you do it,” says Brad Hudson of Hudson Elite Marathon Performance in Boulder, Colorado. You can boost your total miles by doubling once a week–and still keep a rest day. Four to 10 hours after a key workout like an interval session or a tempo run, go for an easy 20- to 45-minute run, and don’t fret about pace. This will boost mileage and aid recovery from the first workout by increasing blood flow to the muscles and flushing out lactic acid and other metabolic waste products. The result? Fresher legs for your next run.

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Diet of Ethiopian Athletes

Diet of Ethiopian Athletes

Interestingly, meat consumption seemed to have a positive correlation with the stature of the athlete. For athletes who were not under management and hadn’t won many races, meat was an expensive luxury, and they ate a diet much more grounded in vegetables and grains. Whereas athletes who had been more successful and had a higher income, much higher levels of meat were consumed. Eating whole plates of goat meat was a status symbol and eating the finest cuts of raw steak was reserved for celebrations: Kenenisa Bekele’s coach treated us, along with some of his other athletes, to raw meat on Ethiopian Christmas Day.

So, what is it that they are mainly eating? There are several staples which most meals seem to revolve around….

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Why Are The Kenyans So Good?

Why Are The Kenyans So Good?

In 2016, 427 Kenyan runners achieved the Olympic qualifying criteria for the marathon.

The top rankings list of the 5,000m, 10,000m, Half Marathon and Marathon is over 75% African athletes and over 60% Kenyan runners.

Ever since the late 1990’s when the African’s began to dominate the distance running world, athletes from across the globe have asked “Why are the Kenyans so good?”

Thousands of runners have even ventured to Kenya themselves to join in with Kenyan running squads to observe how they train, what they eat and how they live to produce such fascinating results.

There have been several theories as to why the Kenyans have dominated distance running events. Ranging from advantageous genetics, to the perfect training environment (dirt, rolling hills at the ideal altitude) or their upbringing and lifestyle, the list goes on.

Of course the reality will be that the country’s athletic prowess can be attributed to a combination of all these reasons and more.

The focus of this article is on one especially interesting aspect of the Kenyan running puzzle, the diet of the Kenyan runners.

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800m/1500m Olympic Gold Medallist Kelly Holmes’s Toughest Workout: 8x200m

800m/1500m Olympic Gold Medallist Kelly Holmes’s Toughest Workout: 8x200m

In 2004, Kelly Holmes won double Olympic gold at the end of a career that had already included an Olympic bronze in 2000 and she gave Athletics Weekly an insight into the training programme that took her to the height of her powers.

Dame Kelly Holmes claims there were lots of ‘killer’ sessions that she used to complete as an elite middle-distance runner but recalls one particularly challenging workout that she did on a regular basis.

8 x 200m split into 2 sets of 2 with very short recovery between the reps and a longer set break.

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Steve Scott (137 Sub 4min Miles) – 5 Technical Running Tips

Steve Scott (137 Sub 4min Miles) – 5 Technical Running Tips

2. Do your drills. Work on running mechanics, even if you think they’re boring. Creating bad running technique habits when you’re young can stay with you forever. Scott would do drills 2-3 times per week, before interval/tempo sessions and never skip them. Butt kicks, power skips, A-skips (skips with high knees), B-skips (knee extensions) were common in his routine…

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Luke Mathews – 1:45:51 800m Season Opener – Training Leading In

Luke Mathews – 1:45:51 800m Season Opener – Training Leading In

Saturday Feb 16th
AM: Hills: 5x600m, 4x300m (Total: 15.6km including warm up/cool down)
Times: 1:45, 1:44, 1:44, 1:40, 1:40, 46, 45, 46, 46. Recovery: Jog back.

Sunday Feb 17th
AM: 1hr30min. 21.3km. Average Pace 4:14/km

[137km total for the last week]

Monday Feb 18th
AM: 1hr8min. 16km. Average Pace: 4:17/km
PM: Sprints/Drills + 15mins Jog

Tuesday Feb 19th
AM: Track Session. 4 sets of 1km, 600, 400. Recoveries: 60 seconds between reps, lap jog between sets. (1) 2:51, 1:38, 59 (2) 2:51, 1:38, 60 (3) 2:52, 1:37, 59 (4) 2:48, 1:35, 56.
(Total: 17.24km including warm up/cool down)
PM: 30mins. 6.82km. Average Pace: 4:22/km

Wednesday Feb 20th
AM: 1hr8min. 16km. Average Pace: 4:18/km.

Thursday Feb 21st
AM: Threshold: 2 laps of Albert Park. 29min36sec. 9.44km. Average Pace: 3:08/km (Total 17.5km including warm up/cool down.
PM: 30mins. 7km. Average Pace: 4:11/km

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Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 3)

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 3)

If you were to explore the training diaries of your favourite elite distance athletes, you would notice that virtually all of them include some kind of plyometric training in their routine. It could be a simple set of box jumps or bounding up hills.

Or if you’re Eliud Kipchoge – 1 hour of ‘rhythmic dancing’ and jumping on steppers, performed thrice weekly with your Kenyan comrades. But you may also wonder – exactly how relevant is it for distance runners to be interested in improving their jumping ability? After all, isn’t efficient running all about minimising vertical oscillation and maximising the conversion of energy into forward motion? 

The authors of Better Training for Distance Runners, Dr David Martin (exercise physiologist) and Peter Coe (Seb Coe’s coach), argue that a modest amount of plyometric training will add a beneficial power component that would not be acquired through the more traditional isotonic training techniques (i.e. lifting weights or wall sits). Such power would be relevant for sudden pace changes and reducing your risk of injury. In this article we outline the key points from Martin & Coe’s bestselling classic on plyometric training.

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Five 800m Lactic Tolerance Workouts by Elites

Five 800m Lactic Tolerance Workouts by Elites

#2: Wilson Kipketer (past 800m World Record holder and currently 2nd fastest 800m runner of all time)

Training Session: 600m, 300m, 600m, 300m with 5mins recovery after 600m’s and 10mins recovery after 300m’s.

Kipketer would complete this training session around once per month in the competition period. Kipketer would aim to run the 600m intervals in 1:16-1:17 (slightly slower than goal 800m pace) and 300m intervals in 35 seconds (slightly faster than goal 800m pace).

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Are You Overtrained? Everything You Need To Know About Overtraining

Are You Overtrained? Everything You Need To Know About Overtraining

The overtrained runner may maintain speed but with poorer form and with greater expenditure of energy. David Costill, PhD of Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, cited one other runner who, early in his training, could run 3:45/km pace at only 60% of his aerobic capacity. Later, when he became overtrained, the same runner had to use 80% of his capacity to maintain that same pace.

As athletes enlist all available muscle fibres in an attempt to maintain their training pace, they invariably exhaust their fast-twitch muscle fibres than their slow-twitch muscles. This is one reason runners lose speed: their fast-twitch muscles have become exhausted through intensive training.

But glycogen depletion is not the only problem. Another is microscopic damage to the muscle fibres, which tear, fray and lose their resilience, like a rubber band that has been snapped too often.

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Seb Coe Running Strength Program (Part 2)

Seb Coe Running Strength Program (Part 2)

In this article, we will explore the different types of resistance training that runners have used over the years. This is a summary of the key ideas from Chapter 6 of Better Training For Distance Runners written by David Martin & Peter Coe. 

Static Resistance Training: Isometrics

What is it? This is when we push against an object that is immovable. Our skeletal muscles generate tension but does not lead to movement. As such, muscle length stays constant throughout the exercise (at least externally; there are some changes which also occur microscopically).

Where’s the evidence? While there are many variables involved, the current status of studies suggest a weekly improvement in muscle strength by 2-5% when static resistance training is used. While the initial gains are sizable, they plateau rather quickly after about 5 weeks.

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Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 1)

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 1)

Virtually all elite runners incorporate some kind of strength and conditioning work into their training routine. There are various reasons – to enhance muscle strength and endurance, as well as minimise risk of injury. But what kinds of exercises should we do? How often should we do this? How lean is too lean? Should we use weights? In this series, we will share the principles and practicalities on how runners should approach this minefield. This is a summary from Chapter 6 of Better Training For Distance Runners written by David Martin & Peter Coe.

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The Benefits Of High Mileage

The Benefits Of High Mileage

Will running very high mileage actually make you a better runner? It can – but the main reason why it can isn’t what you’d expect. It won’t necessarily improve your aerobic or anaerobic threshold, VO2 Max or general fitness, but it will improve your ability to use fat as an energy source and this is key for racing a marathon.

The late physiologist Al Claremont claimed that high mileage helps you better utilise glycogen, the starchlike substance stored in the liver and muscles that changes into a simple sugar as the body needs it. Carbohydrates in our diet are our main source of glycogen – one reason spaghetti is such a popular pre race meal for marathoners. Glycogen is the preferred fuel for running, but your levels can become depleted within 60 to 90 minutes. Thereafter, your source of fuel is fat, which is metabolised less efficiently.

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