The Secret to Running Faster
Why this new enthusiasm for drills? I think it was Rick who pointed out a podcast by Peter Magill where he lucidly explains the importance of drills for older runners. Pete mentions studies that show runners do a great job of retaining their stride frequency into old age. An 80-year-old runner can run the same number of strides per minute that they ran with at age 30. What they can't do is run with the same stride length. Pete says, "that by not doing things to maintain your stride length you're just getting slower."
This loss of stride length is a particular problem for long distance runners — especially those who never do speedwork or shorter races. It's pretty obvious that my stride has become shorter over the years. How short? About 25 centimetres (9.84 inches) shorter for each stride during a 3k race! If I could regain just a fraction of that stride length I might be able to run an age-50 PB for the 3000.
The other thing I plan on doing is to get the Goldilocks training happening. Joe Garland talked about this in a recent blog post about Charlie Spedding. Goldilocks training is running a workout not too hard, not too easy, but just right. Apparently this is the effort that Kenyan runners fall into naturally during their workouts. Marius Bakken took lactate measurements from Kenyan runners and discovered they always run at around anaerobic threshold. This intensity is from 87 to 88% of maximum heart-rate, with variations from 80 to 88%.
So, that's the plan. My next big thing is a 10,000 metre track race on November 12. A time of 44:54 or quicker is what I'd like to run — that would be an M50 PB. Is there time to perfect my new longer stride?