RUNNING EVOLUTION: THE RUN SESSION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

TRANSITION FROM OFF-ROAD

My training life is hugely different to what it was 18 months ago. At that time I was training mostly off road across 6 disciplines competing in a combination of XTERRA, Multi-Sport, Ironman and 70.3. Life has changed since then and in some ways its more simple. Training is as simple as swim, bike and run and to be honest, I didn’t know whether this would be enough to keep me motivated. But for me, the goal of Kona is one that I think about every day. It has captivated me and holds my entire focus. The satisfaction I get from training isn’t as much from the environment I train in any more but the gains I achieve when I work hard. I have found an unlikely amount of satisfaction in the process of the road to Kona, and for me I know that every element of that process requires a uncompromising level of commitment.

One of my key areas of focus over the last 6 months has been dedicated to the process of running economy. When I started racing 70.3 and Ironman, I had many people comment that I needed to run more efficiently. But there was a part of me that didn’t want to let go of the way I ran, as it was this method that gave me my success off-road and its hard to change something that has always worked. But last year when I decided to fully commit everything to Kona, I knew that I was going to have to let go in order to move forward. This was the beginning of my running evolution, and the running track is the location where I was able to achieve that progression.

RUNNING TRACK

I have realised that it’s the intensity of running that I enjoy, which is probably why I loved running up mountains. Now I view the track as a place to run hard and push my limits, same as I did in the mountains but now it’s around a monotonous green oval. Being able to work at max effort in a really controlled environment, with no place to hide has helped me to evolve and has proved to me more than anyone just how important it is both from the perspective of performance and injury prevention.

For me the key things I have achieved during track sessions is the new awareness of my movement patterns and how they tend to change when fatigue sets in. It has helped having a coach with me during these sessions as I now have a real understanding of what lapses when I am tired. Everyone has their idiosyncrasies when fatigue sets in, and they tend to be small things, but I’ve learnt the hard way just how much they can really affect your ability to maintain speed in the back half of a long race. Focusing on technique when I’m fatigued has been vital in my improvement as a runner and when I am running on the track one of my key objectives is to ensure that I maintain good form in every set.

Santa Cruz 70.3
BEFORE: Fatigue sets in at Santa Cruz 70.3 in September 2017

Technique has been a focus over the last four months – increase my turnover, bring my hip positioning slightly forward, and straighten up my posture so I can stabilise my hips through my core and upper body. This should all add up to more power through my posterior chain, glutes and hamstrings for the back part of my stride. I know a lot of people commented on the change in my running at Cairns. It was good to hear and my run time in Cairns has given me the confidence that I am following the right process.

Battling with Javier Gomez at Ironman Cairns
AFTER: 26km into the marathon at the Asia Pacific Champions in Cairns, June 2018 © Korupt Vision

WHAT’S NEXT

My race focus at the moment is on 70.3 Worlds and Kona. The knowledge that it’s going to be really hard off the bike is a key motivator to raise the upper limit of what’s possible when it comes to the run. This will be my first time racing 70.3 World Champs, and I only have a handful of experiencing racing 70.3s. But some of those races have been really tough, and I think I’ve learned enough to give me a good shot at being there in the final 21km’s of the run. I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing. I’m confident that the things we did in preparation for Cairns will continue to serve me well, and will continue to make me stronger and faster. But as I’ve found out more times than I care to recall, confidence is great – but execution is another thing altogether.

THE TRACK SESSION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

This is the key track session I have been using and will continue to build on over the next 3 months leading into 70.3 Worlds and Kona.

 

WARM UP DRILLS

FOCUS:

  • Increase range of movement
  • Activate key muscles in the posterior chain in preparation for the main set
  • Strengthen the posterior chain using tyre pull

Lunges x 15-20 + 50m jog
Knee to Chest x 15-20 + 50m jog
High Kicks x 12 + 50m jog (keep torso long)
A-March 2 x 20m + 50m jog (heel to butt, big toe up)
Fast feet 2 x 20m + 50m jog (quick contact, head up)
A-skip 2 x 20m + 50m jog (quick contact, heel to bum)
Running strides 3 x 50m


MAIN SET

FOCUS:

  • Over time, improve my ability to maintain economy at race pace
  • Progression: the progression of this set will aim to reduce recovery without losing speed, followed by increasing sets and therefore distance
  • Create length and efficiency in my movement patterns

3 sets of the following (400m, 400m, 800m) @ target 5K race pace (3 min/km’s)
1:30 jog after the 400 m sets
3:00 jog after the 800m sets

Run session main set
© Korupt Vision

WARM DOWN

FOCUS:

Focus on maintaining range of movement and releasing the key muscles worked during the work out

1. Pigeon stretch – Stretching the hips as well as the groin and the hamstrings
2. Side lunge – Stretches the psoas muscle, quadriceps muscle and strengthens the external obliques
3. Seated twist – Mobilizes the lower back, stretches the glutes
4. Lying hip and glut stretch – Releases the lower back, stretches the glutes and improves range of motion through the spine

Run session warm down
© Korupt Vision