LGN's aggregation of marginal gains

Thursday, 2nd April 2009

Aggregation of marginal gains


‘You what?!’ we possibly hear you cry.

Well ok, so we at LGN may well have purely studied for various sports science qualifications which ordinarily would not give us the clout to string such long words together in a rather catchy phrase, however, as we love sport we have passionately followed British Cycling with glee in recent years culminating in the 7 out of 10 Gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and that term ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ just kept popping up.

Indeed when David Brailsford the GB team’s Performance Director was asked what the secret to the success of the team was, the answer was clear; there was no one secret, sure they had some very fancy carbon bikes and kit which nabbed the headlines, but in essence it was all about meticulous attention to detail that made the overall difference. In essence it was the focus given to the hundreds of tiny things that when brought together created the success of the whole.

As Brailsford explains “Taking the one percent from everything you do. That’s what we try to do from the mechanics upwards; if a mechanic sticks a tyre on, and someone comes along and says it could be done better, it’s not an insult – it’s because we are always striving for improvement, for those one
percent gains, in absolutely every single thing we do.”

While many captains of industry have been throwing away their grand blue sky thinking of risk all to gain all strategies and instead inviting Mr. Brailsford round for dinner…… we as runners could and possibly should apply this same philosophy whatever our respective goals.

The micro as opposed to macro approach clearly crosses into learned experience that LGN would normally extol, especially at this time of year to the Spring Marathon brigade.

LGN’s aggregation of marginal gains; a runner’s translation;

LGN Maginal Gain #1
Sleep is essential for recovery process, instead of macro approach and one night trying to go to bed before you wake up… instead try routine of going to bed 15 minutes early every night and thus over each week gain almost 2 hours

LGN Marginal Gain #2
Think quality of running not quantity, often easier to keep plodding along to schedule without challenging how you feel, be brave, have days off when required and then invest renewed energy in the next session

LGN Marginal Gain #3
As weather gets milder don’t think hydration means drinking gallons of water prior to a long run, think about it days before and consider taking on extra essential electrolytes

LGN Marginal Gain #4
Marathon runners, consider using a Sunday run to mimic big day race conditions, get up at c.5am, practice eating porridge this early, practice nibbling on pre-race snacks prior to run and ensure that 26th April et al logistics do not throw you off your running rhythm

LGN Marginal Gain #5
Running shoes past their best? Calculate approximate mileage and get new shoes before the 500 mile mark or if just older than 2 years, mid sole and cushioning degrade over time and the last thing you want is a niggly injury being the motivation to open wallet

LGN Marginal Gain #6
What ‘fuel’ are you putting in your body? Carbohydrates are important, but quality of carbohydrate is equally vital, check labels and invest in high octane healthier options

LGN Marginal Gain #7
Change running route, get out of a possible running rut and aim to stimulate the mind to stimulate the body by looking at new scenery

LGN Marginal Gain #8
For those aiming for 26 miles in April, check fueling strategy, your glycogen store (petrol tank) is limited, have a race day plan to pre-empt and not react to energy needs

LGN Marginal Gain #9
Toe nails, cut them early well in advance of any race, last thing you need especially if endurance related is tender toes as feet naturally expand in race

LGN Marginal Gain #10

Make sure majority of your running is enjoyable, happy running often equates to good running, run with friends, run with music or take a train to run in a new environment, but keep it smiling to keep improving


Now that Spring is officially sprung, we at LGN wish you a new fantastic running season and hope that you can find your own additional marginal gains to ensure you get the most from every running stride.


Happy running!


Do a runner with LGN

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