Train slower. Race faster.

On Tuesday evening, Bob was a guest speaker at the South African Association of Campus Health Services (SAACHS) 2018 conference.

 

‘Beating the Drum’, the aptly labelled theme of the conference, gave Bob the licence to explore the subject which he is so blatantly passionate about: “Using Sport to add to the Health & Wellness Debate”.

 

In his speech, he explored how the act of exercising can take you from a ‘couch potato’ to the person doing things you thought unimaginable.

 

As his point of reference in his speech, Bob relayed aspects of Mark Sisson’s book, Primal Blueprint. Sisson was once a top marathon runner in the USA, and a serious triathlete, where he came 4th in the World Ironman Championships in his prime.

 

Sisson’s teachings today are based on Primal Living, and are far removed from the ultra-style mega training of his and other endurance sporting careers, and is geared toward longevity of health and fitness and not short-term gains of fame.

 

In his book, Sisson says: “We get so lost in the science of human biology, we just cannot see the forest from the trees. We overlook the simplicity and ease with which we could all be achieving exceptional health and fitness.”

 

Sisson goes on to give 6 pointers to an exceptional life:

1) Eating well on animals and plants and eliminating ALL grains, sugars and trans fats.

2) Moving often at a slow pace – low level aerobic activity.

3) Lifting heavy things – can be weights in the gym, your own bodyweight, core exercises or even working in the garden and lifting things therein.

4) Run fast occasionally – on the beach, up a hill or flight of stairs. Ride a bike hard if you must.

5) Play – with family children or grandchildren, but just play.

6) Get plenty of sleep – if we skimp on sleep he suggests “we get a nation of overworked, over fatigued men, women and students.”

 

What Sisson is really getting at, and what Bob has been telling his athletes for years, is that we over train and we over compete. This in turn impacts negatively upon on our health just as a lack of exercise does.

 

Sportspeople seem to get into the situation where they reach a goal on X training and then think well if we do X + Y we will perform better still.

 

This unfortunately is not how it works. And, as Bob knows from experience, coaches have their work cut out trying to convince athletes that to race faster you sometimes need to train slower.

 

That is how the Kenyans train.

 

That is how you should train.

 

Sport and optimum health require a fine line divided between preparation and recovery.

 

Sportspersons need to be encouraged to be the very best they can be, and disengage from the pressure of needing to be better than another – until such time it might come naturally, of course.

 

Being mindful of sport in general and the role it can play in improving the lives and the health of our nation should be our NATIONAL sporting mission.

 

 ATHLETE and MENTOR

The life of an athlete who is on the up, is one of the most stimulating lives to lead.

When an individual runs a first 10km race and finishes it, it is a big deal. It is also, more often than not, the launch pad to a life IN running, but not necessarily OF running.

One of three courses can be followed when a runner crests the peak in their careers and the long downhill beckons. First, they may soldier on regardless and chase age group times and positions or secondly, they could simply accept the reality of slowing down and run more socially with friends, old and new.

The third option is open only to a certain breed of individual who has what it takes to coach or mentor athletes.

The past 15 months have been phenomenal in this regard and the results pre and post the re-launch of BOaST ought to have been stimulating to all that have followed the progress of runners who have been influenced by the team, either on a personalised programme or through a club structure.

No matter how talented, fast or strong an athlete is, achieving optimal running success is unlikely when going solo.

The training is paramount, but so too is race identification, goal setting and belief.

Runners who buy into the role of a proven and successful coach or mentor will inevitably achieve personal bests.

The reasons for that include trust, motivation, instilling belief and working through all aspects of preparation together and openly.

There are of course no quick fixes and it will often take a relationship three or four years to reach its full potential, particularly if athlete and mentor come from different belief systems in respect of training, nutrition, footwear and racing regimens.

A good sense of humour certainly helps when athletes  go a little wayward, as inevitably they sometimes will. Rather than be unsettled by such instances they offer a great opportunity to further build trust between each other as the athlete sheepishly admits that the mentor was (in most instances) right.

So it is that an athlete and a coach or mentor build a “story” that can be used by both to further their own paths and experiences within the sport. Growth is imperative as is change.

On the change front, nothing is more apt an example than that of nutrition and eating habits as espoused by folk such as Tim Noakes, Mark Sissons, Gary Taubs, David Perlmutter and many others.

On the footwear front the shoe companies detest the “barefoot” minimalistic protagonists, because they will simple sell less shoes, while in the nutritional field, many a multi-national would go out of business as the world became healthier.

Debate, and vigorous debate at that, should be the fuel that drives and seeks success. When we think we know it all, then we are indeed over the crest.

There is, at the end of the proverbial day, nothing more satisfying than being a part of the development of a runner and imparting life experiences so that they might achieve their goals.

Beating the holiday lethargy

🎶 ‘Tis the season to be jolly tra la la la la la la la la🎶

Christmas time is the best time of year for family, for eating and for much merriment, but it’s not necessarily the best time for fitness levels. It is very common to lose that loving feeling towards running and cross-training over this period. And by the end of the holidays you experience a guilt for over indulging in food, tarts and chocolates, and doing the minimal amount of exercising.

We know that it’s darn tough to stay on track with your fitness when you’re surrounded be all the distractions of the holiday season. From parties to shopping to cooking; it can feel a little like running through an obstacle course.

The most common complaints we get this time of year relate to time and energy. Our time is limited and is taken up by family, family and more family, right! More than that, we feel more lethargic. When both of these two factors collide, it can lead to missed workouts and inactivity.

It’s important to know that you’re not alone in this.

While you use the holidays to rest and recover from a busy year, you CAN still enjoy the benefits of feeling fit and getting your exercise in.

Here are some useful tips that help me:

1. Set a realistic goal each week

On a Sunday for example, sit down and set yourself a plan that works based on the flow of your life over that week. Budget your time wisely and exercise when you can. If you only can only spare 30 minutes on a day that’s ok, 30 minutes is better than nothing! Maybe just increase the intensity on the shorter workouts. For example, do some hill sprints or speedwork in your 30 minute runs, and a slower longer run when you have more time.

2. Post your goal to a group of people that care about your fitness.

This may be your local running group, a Facebook group, or even a temporary whatsapp Holiday Fitness Group created just for the holidays. The main thing here is that you are connected with a person or people that either have the same mindset as you or who is willing to help you keep accountable.

The goal is to keep it simple, move regularly, and stay motivated by being connected to a group. It’s all about creating meaningful mini challenges and telling people about them.

Finally, getting in your workouts, you will be boosting your metabolic rate, upping your happy hormones, and even improving your speed and fitness. What more could you ask for in a busy holiday season!

SOLD OUT – the New Phenomenon

COMRADES MARATHON SOLD OUT and then sold out again 21500 entries in just 21 days.

TWO OCEANS 56km SOLD OUT their 11000 entries in two days.

Those are the big two, but then there is Om die Dam a 50km way up north. An established event of 28 years, but not one that is expected to receive a rush of entries right?

Wrong. Entries opened on 6 November and by 8 November only 50% were left and as I write they may well be all gone.

Where did this hysteria pop up from? Well it did not just arrive. Every time a landmark is reached in respect of race anniversaries, the new millennium or 2010 entries have shot up.

The Two Oceans 56km took a bit of a knock when the half marathon was introduced and took a while to recover its previous numbers, but then in 2014 the entries sold out a week before closing for the first time. In 2015 they were sold out a month before and in 2016 by 2 January , just 32 days after they opened, they were all gone.

This year after what happened at Comrades and with the momentum of previous years it was predicted that it would take Two Oceans two weeks. It actually took only two days.

So, what is this new phenomenon and what does it mean to us as runners in respect of our training and racing?

First, we need more than ever before to be totally focussed on what we are doing and be meticulous in our planning.

Runners who perform at a meaningful level need a coach more now than ever before and may in fact need even more support on the logistical side.

Being a member of a running club has always been essential to the big ultras, but choosing a club that has infrastructure, experienced coaching and training methods along with innovation is ever more important.

ENTRY IN – WHAT NOW:

So the pressure is off. Your entry is in and been accepted. Be sure your 2018 fees and licence are all in tact as this will need to be verified by the race organisation and club.

In respect of Two Oceans training should already be underway given that it is a few weeks earlier in 2018. If you do not have a coach – find one.

Comrades however, is only on 10 June and should not be top of mind at all.

It is not often that Two Oceans and Comrades can be raced in the same year, without serious doubt as to recovery, optimum performance and so on.

2018 is however a much kinder year in that there is an 11 week break between the two. Still not completely ideal, but certainly manageable for athletes who are able to focus on their running, training and rest periods.

With Two Oceans early I would suggest skipping a qualifying marathon in 2018 if you have a reasonable one in the bag.

So my athletes would be encouraged to focus on Two Oceans, racing a half marathon, a couple of 10kms and maybe a 32. The 56km could then be raced and a personal best recorded, followed by a few easy weeks before embarking on Comrades specific work outs.

If they are not running Two Oceans and Comrades is the goal, then a well prepared for Buffs Marathon in East London, South Africa would be the call with a pb or “close to” being the objective. That takes place on 18 February, allowing for two weeks recovery and then easing into Comrades training through March, April and May.

It is so important to have a coach who has been there and experienced some of the pitfalls to racing ultra marathons or indeed any other distance. Listening to friends or competitors is fool hardy. They possibly mean well, but have no real vested interest in your success and probably harbour illusions of beating you anyway. And so they should.

Friends are for socialising and racing is for winning no matter how humble the goal.

Running in a group: Why it’s the best thing for your running

Contrary to what people see at races, or experience for themselves, running IS a team sport.

All runners that have excelled at running (I’m talking even the Eliud Kipchoge’s of the sport) have done so because they trained in a team.

If you train solely on your own, you place yourself at a disadvantage, and you lose all the benefits that training in a group gives you.

Here are 5 reasons you should be training in a group:

  • You become accountable

It is incredibly easy to skip a session if there is no one waiting for you to join them. I mean, why would you put yourself through a gruelling sprint session or run a long run without a team mate to encourage you on?  When there is someone counting on you, you are more likely to show up.

  • You remain consistent

Running in a group allows you to remain consistent in your training and will help you stick to your programme or keep you on target for a race.

  • You never lack for motivation

When you run in a group there will more than likely be someone who is faster than you. This will encourage you and motivate you to be a faster, better runner. Even if you are a non-competitive runner, you will become a better runner by being motivated by other runners around you.

  • You will have the opportunity to learn from others

Running with others is a great way to learn tips and tricks from seasoned runners. Runners love to talk about running while they are running!

  • You benefit from ‘Social Facilitation’

Social Facilitation is a psychology term that describes the tendency for people to perform better when in the presence of others than when alone. Not only would you perform better at your running, but running with a group helps you have a better day!

At BOaST, we promote group training. If you are running on your own, talk to us, and we’ll welcome you into our group training sessions!

Janine Donaldson’s BOaST experience

I began to see my Friends improving on their PB’s and I wanted to do the same.  I asked a friend of mine what she was doing differently and she advised that she had joined BOAST.  I was very interested and she invited me to a session to experience it for myself.

After one session I was HOOKED!  It was hard work but we all know that with hard work, comes reward!

The rewards have been great!  I have seen my 10km time drop by 8 mins on my previous PB’s, my 21km time dropped by 9 mins, my Marathon time dropped by 20mins, My Two Oceans time dropped by 53 mins and  my Comrades time dropped by 40mins.  Needless to say that I am ecstatic with the results.

I also found myself getting prize money for placings in my age group on a few of the races, this was new to me and actually quite exciting.  I felt like a “Real” Runner! Lol

The training and expertise that we have available from Bob and Steph combined is to put in a simple word “Priceless”.

I would highly recommend the BOaST training program as it definitely pays off!  Not to mention the friendships built and the personal milestones reached.

Have Fun!  Believe in Yourself!

Janine Donaldson

If you want to add your own story, email it to bob@boastrunningsuccess.co.za or steph@boastrunningsuccess.co.za

 

 

 

Pre-race Tips

We all have our own pre-race routines. But whether you are running a 10km, 21.1km or full marathon, there are some things that you should do the day before a race to avoid making decisions that will cost you time or discomfort during your race.

Eat properly the day before

I don’t want to get into the low carb versus high carb pre-race eating habits, but it is recommended that you increase your carb intake in the days leading up to your race. You definitely should not overeat the day before the race, but rather eat amounts of food that you would normally eat,

Avoid unusual foods

Stick with foods that have worked well for you before your long training runs. If you’re planning to eat dinner out, check the restaurant’s menu to make sure they serve foods that you’ve eaten before your long runs.

Stay hydrated

Drink a lot of water throughout the day. It’s may be helpful to also have one sports drink to ensure that you’re getting some extra electrolytes. Avoid alcoholic beverages because they have a dehydrating effect, and they’ll interfere with your sleep.

Rest your legs

Stay off your feet, rest, and relax. Spending too much time on your feet will tire you out. If you do need to walk around (when you go to the expo, for instance), make sure you’re wearing running shoes or other very comfortable shoes.

Go for a short run

A slow very short run the day before a race is great for those pre-race jitters, or just to stay loose. If you do run, keep your thoughts positive and keep telling yourself that you’re ready for your race. If you feel you perform better after rest, then just relax during those 24 hours leading up to the race.

Trim your toenails

Check your toenails and clip any that are too long. Keeping your toenails neat and short will prevent them from hitting the front of your shoes, which can lead to bloody, black toenails, or foot pain.

Get your kit ready

Lay out all your clothing and gear for the race the night before.

Essential items include:

  • Race bib (number) and safety pins
  • Race timing chip (if it’s not part of your race bib)
  • Running outfit, hat, shoes, and socks
  • Wristwatch
  • Your race fuels, such as energy gels (whatever you’ve been training with)
  • A product to prevent chafing, such as petroleum jelly
  • Sunscreen

Stay relaxed

Use visualization techniques while you’re relaxing during the day. Envision yourself on the course. Think positively about all the work you’ve put into your training. It will be worth the effort to avoid pre-race anxiety.

Tips on running a PB

We have had our runners running some incredible PBs over the last few weeks. Whether the PB was a better time or a first race, a goal is a goal! Attaining your goals takes hard work and a lot of dedication! Here are some techniques you can do on your own that you can do to get your PB. These things have their place, but they are best done as a team/group, and with someone, who knows your potential, to either push you or rein you in.

Incorporate hills in your training

Running up hills is a great way to develop race pace. Those that incorporate hills in their training have better overall muscle strength and are able to teach their bodies to run more economically.

 

Incorporate interval training into your programme

Interval training refers to when you vary the speed and intensity of your running in certain training sessions. Doing this type of training teaches your body how to adapt to sudden bursts of speed when you need it to – like on the home stretch of a race! Interval training puts the fun into your training. You could, for example, run 120 seconds at full speed, followed by two to three minutes of easy jogging. Or, you can run 4x1km at full pace, with two-minute easy jogs between each kilometre.

Strengthen your core

Your core is the platform for all your running success – the stronger it is, the faster you will run. Runners who have strengthen their core perform better, are more aware of their running posture and body positioning when running.

Planking is a great all-round core strengthening exercise. Do it once a day for 30 seconds.

Get enough sleep

We all know that we need sleep, but it is even more important to get a good night’s rest while you are training. Sleeping gives your body a chance to rest, recover and build muscle and energy reserve.

On the eve of your race, aim to get at least seven hours of sleep the night before your race.

Eat right

No matter how much you train, if you don’t eat the right foods it’s going to get harder and harder to set better times. Good nutrition is key to the success of any runner, and you need to make sure you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong ones. Think of your body like a car – you need to put the right fuel in it for it to run efficiently. Leaving the nutrition debates aside, your body needs more protein and carbohydrates than normal while you are training. Incorporate foods high in protein and eat healthy carbs (lots of vegetables and fruit). You want to avoid foods high in sugar.

Relax!

Relaxed runners run more efficiently and expend less energy, which lead to faster times. When you are tense and tight while running, you use a lot of energy that could be used in your legs. During your training routines, focus on keeping your shoulders, hands and neck nice and relaxed. Once you learn to do that without even thinking about it, your race day form will be much more efficient.

Warm up

At the start of a race, you have to be that person that you have sniggered at in the past…the over zealous warm upper-er. Warming up allows the blood flow to get to your muscles, and allows them to run harder quicker. Warming up is beneficial in getting your PB.

Smash the last 400-500m

Around 400m from the end of the race, when you are tired and exhausted and feel like you cannot go on anymore, take a deep breath and run as hard as you can until you pass the finish line. Tell your mind that your legs can collapse at the end, you can vomit at the end…just keep pushing. You won’t regret it!

 

If you are looking to incorporate any, or all of these things, contact us. We will get you get your PB.

 

 

 

 

Why we believe in the Long Slow Weekend Run

Runners who enjoy participating in 10km races and half marathons often fight against doing a weekend long run. This couldn’t be a bigger mistake. The weekend long run is one of the most crucial parts of anyone’s training preparation – whether you’re running 10km or the Comrades Marathon. The long run doesn’t just prepare your legs to be able to run longer distances, but it does a few key things that will help you at any of your racing distances.

I recently read an article about Peter Snell, gold medalist in both the 800m and 1500m events at the 1964 Olympic Games. Two months prior to the event, his coach encouraged him to run 100 miles (160 km) a week and included a marathon in his programme. And, well, the gold medals tell the success of the story.

Other than building lifelong friendships, humbling you and making you realise more about yourself than anything else, running long distance training runs do a few things:

  • On a physiological level, it allows your body to increase enzymes in your muscle cells and grow the small vessels that surround the cells. These muscle changes allow more oxygen to be delivered to working muscles. More oxygen to your muscles means that your muscles have enough energy to get you to the end of your race.
  • It strengthens your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  • It teaches your body to be efficient.

Now, a long run doesn’t have to be 3 hours long. To gain the effects of the points above, you need only do a long run of between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes.

Whether you are a competitive runner, or a recreational runner, we all have that inner desire to run a faster race than the previous one. Incorporating a long slow run into your training programme could be the very thing that helps you achieve that