Clock change = running change?

Thursday, 27th October 2016

Autumn is here, the clocks have changed....

....time to take control?


Lights out until March 2017
You may be reading this LGN Top Tip prior to the October 30th clock changing or possibly digesting these words post clock change and it is 4pm while you look out the window to a dark outside world….
… as Bob Dylan quite literally once sung ‘Times, they are a changin’ and this is now a chance to accept the lost visual stimulation and instead 'take control' of you running when the sun’s illumination goes into hibernation.
Dark running = Control - Why?
The UK’s autumnal clock change lends itself wonderfully to us runners gaining a better understanding of what our bodies are telling us, without the visual cue of speed we are left to ascertain tempo by gaining better running empathy with what out body is telling us (assuming you're not using GPS - which is notoriously poor at providing correct pace anyway).
‘Control’ is a key step in LGN’s ‘Three C Philosophy’ (free pdf download from bottom of page) and this is the time of year to really get to grips with the concept, because running empathy = faster running. This increased sense of running empathy is hugely important in understanding pace judgment both in training and when racing for a new personal best (PB) time.
Pace - The final frontier: 
It is the subtlety in required pace change that many runners don’t initially understand and leverage, hence a new runner will often describe how they have only two running paces:
  1. “Sprint for a bus”
  1. “Jog round the block”
When in reality all runners, regardless of ability, have many more pace changes available to them and it's normally just a case of identifying and holding each marginal pace change. 
Why you might want better running ‘Control’
A greater control of your running pace will give you far more opportunity to find your threshold in training and equally will provide far greater experience & judgment in races to ascertain what is the optimal pace to get the best possible performance from your current fitness.
When runners get the desire to run faster it can be an enjoyable but ultimately frustrating process, with many going out too fast at the start and then losing time by fading badly, or some might say even more frustratingly is when you realise with 200m left to go that you actually have oodles of gas still in the tank, but it is by then too late to achieve your target time.
In training and racing when you have a good grip of subtle pace control it also allows you to throttle back marginally, and so allows you to recover from potentially red lining your body without having to resort to jogging in order to recover, this can be a big confidence boost when training with a group of faster runners.
Bottom line is that Control puts you in charge of your running, and it is the pivotal moment when the run is no longer in control of you (“how much longer?...”) and instead you a now able to be the captain of your own running destiny.
LGN’s lack of light empathy & control:
  1. Run with stated aim to listen to your body
  1. Identify to your body’s natural metronome as you change pace via breathing and foot noise
  1. Leave at home mp3 player, i-Pod, Garmin, HR monitor and extraneous stimuli
  1. To seek the most subtle tempo increases, feel for your forefoot and toes getting more engaged in your running stride and your centre of gravity moving slightly forwards
  1. Slowly start to identify very subtle changes in tempo gears
  1. LGN's key tempo training run as below is a good way to test your progress
Once per week aim to run the same 30 minute (approx) running loop:
Tempo Run Week 1:
Aim to run it initially at what feels like 1st Gear aka your normal steady run pace and time exactly how long the loop it takes.
Tempo Run Week 2:
Now you run the exact same loop at 2nd  Gear which is the most subtle increase you can identify on pace from previous week, your goal is to run the same loop less than 30 seconds quicker, with the ideal to run it only 5 seconds quicker as this represents truly subtle pace increase and please don’t look at your watch until you get home – that would be cheating!
Tempo Run Week 3:
If last week you managed to run your loop less than 30 seconds quicker then you progress to aiming for 3rd Gear and once more looking for no more than 30 seconds improvement on last week’s time. However, if last week you ran more than 30 seconds quicker then week 1 you go back to trying to find the tempo that will achieve this goal.
Tempo Run Week 4 & beyond:
Continue the same pattern of progression or replay, remembering that key is not to simply go faster, but instead find the smallest margin of tempo increase.
Happy empathetic and controlled running from all the team at LGN!


« Go back