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"How to improve your running form"

This is a real hot topic these days. The reason ?

Well for years they've been doing studies on how you can run more efficient. The research out there all seemed to point in the same direction : running more will help you, but to consciously "thinking about" running more efficient ("get your hips up in front", "stand up tall") seems to have a negative effect as oppose to positive effect on how efficient you run.

So it did not seem that you could do much yourself...
Except to run more.

However, recently there has been a trend towards barefoot running and using minimalist running shoes to improve your running economy. And I've tested this recently and to be honest with you : I think they are on to something here.

Let me share it with you.

How to use minimalist shoes / barefoot running to improve running economy ?

I actually think these shoes can help you run smoother. More so than the landing position, they help with the toe-off and I suspect they can decrease the time you have on the ground. Studies shows that this is one of the key elements to running faster, they even have a case study where they compared marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie with the other elite runners showing this as one of the factors why he run so fast.

How to do it using these type of shoes ?

The best experience I've had is this :

1. Gradually get used to them and use them mostly on the hard runs. I've tested it out on the easy runs also but they seem to work the best when running a bit towards the faster end.

2. Alternate treadmill and outdoors if you are a treadmill runner. I'm a big fan of the treadmill and the combination of a higher frequency on the treadmill combined with the Newton type shoes may be one of the absolute best way to improve your running economy. You get a great combination of higher frequency/fast toe off !

3. If you also add in there some plyometrics (jumps, same as with a jumping rope), you are in for a real nice ride. Finnish studies done on distance runners show that this can increase your running economy in the 5k, even when they substituted some of the runs with pure plyo sessions.

Here's everything you need to known to train for your first marathon in 2011

And finish in an impressive 4 hours or less.


What sports kit will I need to prepare for and run my first marathon?

Don't just dig out an old t-shirt and beat-up pair of trainers. Spending a bit of money on the right kit will make running a far more comfortable and enjoyable experience and make you more likely to keep training.

Here's what you're likely to need:

Shoes: more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better! It is far more important to get a shoe that is right for you and the way you run. Go to a reputable running shop and be guided by their recommendations, and make sure you buy a shoe that suits your running style and your pocket.

Clothing: one of the downsides of training for a marathon is that you'll have to contend with running in all weathers. However, with modern clothing you can stay dry, warm and comfortable.

You'll need a wicking base-layer – opt for synthetic or, for a touch of luxury, go for Merino wool. Next on is a light insulating layer, such as a fleece. And on top you'll need a wind/waterproof shell. With these three layers, it's easy to regulate your temperature and cope with even the most extreme conditions. For legs, opt for either 3/4 length or full tights, or shorts when it's warm enough. Hat and gloves will also be needed for winter running. Running socks are very important, for foot comfort, as are lightweight gloves – again for the chilly sessions.

Of course, you may have to contend with warm weather as well as cold so sun hat, sun glasses and lightweight breathable athletic tops and bottoms are also a must.

And ladies, don't forget to wear a supportive sports bra!

Accessories: a watch with a timer function is a must and, although we won't be using one initially, a heart rate monitor will be useful further into the training programme. You may want to consider one with GPS function so you can track how far you've run. A bum-bag is also a good idea if you need to shed a layer and for carrying keys and phones etc.

Finally, if you're going to be running in the dark, a high-visibility vest or bands are essential and, if you live in a rural or unlit area, you might want to consider a headlamp. Ideally you should run with a partner or in a group, but if this is not possible then try to let someone know you are out running and carry your mobile phone with you.

How often will I need to train?

The dropout rate from marathon training programmes is alarmingly high – the main reason being that many training plans try to pack in too much running in too short a period of time. Four, five or even six runs per week leave little room for any other training and this can lead to injury. There's not much point packing in the miles only to get to your big day carrying an injury. It's far better to have run a few less miles in training but be all-round strong, robust, and injury free.

To succeeed in the marathon you have to know how to prepare yourself for the last part of the marathon race. This is where 90 % of all runners get into problems. 
How do you avoid "hitting the wall" (get really tired around the 30k/20 mile mark) in your next marathon ?  

First of all, you need to learn estimation of marathon finishing time and the secrets of negative splitting.  I've actually done the work for you so that you only have to use the already made calculators in there. I've even linked up to pace charts so that you can know (not guess !) exactly how fast to run/pass each km/mile in the race)

Now, in the marathon you also need to get in energy on the way to "not run out of gas".

This part is CRUCIAL:

You already know this of course.

Problem is, many coaches/programs do not understand how the body works in that regards. They encourage drinking and eating during the marathon but forget/do not know how to prepare the runners for it beforehand. It is like training, you cannot run fast in the marathon without training.
It is the same with energy intake. You cannot suddenly shock the body with large intake of fluid on the marathon race without having prepare it for it before.
To encourage runners to drink a large number of drinks during the marathon without preparing them for it the weeks before (during practice) is one of the most common reasons for marathon stomach cramps. You don't want to listen to that type of advice. 
What happens is that sudden increase in intake usually causes stomach cramps around the 15-20 km mark/15 mile mark. 
There is a solution to this, let me tell you how : 

This can be easily fixed, with practicing extensive drinking during your runs the weeks before, l You actually "train your stomach" into taking up fluid to a larger extent. 

This is a fundamental principle in marathon running
There are very important details you have to learn in order to know.  If you don't know all the details, you'll just be making the same mistakes as all the other average marathon runners.
If you are unsure about how to do it exactly you can owe it to yourself to check out the 100 Day Marathon Plan.
I have made all of these tricky things in the marathon very easy to solve and they do work.
If you use these easy methods, you will conquer the marathon wall challenge.


And that's not just a promise, it's a guarantee.

No tricks, no gimmicks, no B.S.

It's all spelled out for you. If you're serious about your personal marathon training...and therefore becoming a a better marathon runners that your fellow marathon will admire in your progress then  start learning about these amazing secrets right now.

Kind regards,

PS : I have not forgot your two workouts for today ;)  Here they are : 
Core Marathon/Half Harathon workout #9 :
50 minutes where you alternate jogging and walking about 50 %/ 50% (you walk 1 minute, run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes etc)- almost in . Immediately thereafter run 5 x 5 minutes in Effort 3. Recovery 3 minutes.
What this type of session does is actually to simulate what happens in the marathon. Notice how your legs feel after going immediately over from the walk/jog into the 5 x 5 minutes in Effort 3.
That "gelly feeling" of your legs is EXACLY how many runners feel from the 30km/20 miles and in in the marathon. With this type of session you train your running strength for just that. 
Core Marathon/Half Marathon Workout # 10 :
NOTE : only do the below session if you are already marathon fit and are at least 3 weeks away from the marathon ! 
40 min easy, 40 min increasing, 40 min above marathon pace. All continous 

Marathon key session. Be careful in the beginning; respect the first 40 min easy. This will help you over the last 10 km of the marathon. Drink after the first 40 min (but do not stop).
You are gradually getting used to marathon pace with this type of session. Make sure to respect the pace on the way !

Three Main Ways To Avoid The Marathon Wall

I will share with you three main aspects that will likely make your next marathon a much more comfortable ride through the 2nd half :
  • Estimation of marathon time and negative splitting
  • Go hard on drinking practicing the weeks before
  • On and off easy long runs and hard long runs for the last 6 week period

1. Estimation of marathon time and negative splitting

If you look at statistics, over 90 % of the best all time marathon times are set with negative splits, meaning you run the last part of the marathon faster than the first.

Both current world records for men and women are set this way. And if you ask other marathoners about their personal record (if they have run multiple marathons) I bet at least 2/3 of their personal bests are run the same negative split way.

This is how you can do it : exactly the weekend 4 weeks prior to a marathon do a half marathon/10k.

From the half marathon time, add 4,5 % to the average km/mile time to find your marathon predicted "goal-time" which means what marathon shape you are probably in. If you run a 10k, add 9,5 % to that time to find your predicted "goal-time".

If you want to run 3:00 marathon, what would be 1.26.07 half marathon and 38.57 10 k.

For a 4 hour marathon, that means 1.54.50 half marathon and 51.57 10 km.

Now. This is the key.

To that exact predicted time, say 3:00 marathon, add 2 minute to the "average time" you are suppose to pass the half (in this case you add 2 minutes to a 1:30 half marathon, giving you 1:32) This means you should pass the half in 1:32 and run the second half in 1:28.

This stategy makes it close to impossible to run out of fuel and hit the marathon wall because you run exactly the right negative split pace.

2.Practice drinking as part of the marathon challenge

In your training, the last 4-5 weeks before a marathon brings lots of fluid (with sugar) and drink every 5k.

This goes for ALL hard trainings + the long runs. What this does is to teach your intestins to absorb more energy (which is a limiting factor) when you run the marathon later.

The result ?

You are able to get more energy into your system and running out of gas and hitting the marathon wall is less likely.

In the marathon itself, always drink sports drinks vs. water.

3. On and off easy and hard long runs

This is a biggie. What most marathon runners do in their marathon training schedule is to only run easy long runs to get used to running longer (typical 2 hour easy runs).

The most effective way though is to alternate a long hard run and easy long run every other week.

Say you are 6-8 weeks away from your marathon. And you have your long runs on Sundays. What you want to do is to run one Sunday for two hours easy.

But the next one, go for 30 minutes easy first, before doing continous running for 1:30 of hard running.

For example, if you run with heart rate monitor and max heartrate is 200 : first 30 miutes below 140 heart rate. Then 30 minutes at 160, then 30 minutes at 170 before finishing it off at 30 minutes at 175-180). THIS is what specific marathon training is : increasing pace with increasing length.

Which will make the post-30km of a marathon alot easier for runners on all levels.

Good luck with your future marathon challenges.