🏃♂️ Be yourself...
We are happy to welcome a new contributor to the Happy Runner Weekly, Rob Dodds. Can you welcome him with a happy email?
This week we have a brutal 5k workout, two tips to improve your mental game, and a story to find your running strengths.
Happy running, 😁
The Most Famous 5k Workout
If you want to improve your speed and times, you need to learn to run fast when your legs are tired, and your lungs are screaming for you to stop.
With that in mind, we want to recommend one of the most famous workouts of 5k runners.
Roger Bannister made this workout famous because he had only 1 hour to work out during lunch breaks while in medical school. His coach, Franz Stampfl, had to find a way to train Bannister’s speed-endurance, aerobic power, and stamina in an efficient manner.
Since then, the best milers and 5k runners globally, like Sebastian Coe and Hicham El Guerrouj, have done it regularly.
The workout has two great benefits:
- It’s efficient. The workout takes only 30-40 minutes to complete.
- It’s easy to do and understand.
As we just mentioned, the workout is super easy.
- 3km easy warm-up
- 10x 400 meters at mile pace
- 2 minutes walk/jog after each rep
- 1.5km cool down
What’s my mile pace?
If you haven’t done a mile in your life, or for a very long time, you can use your most recent 5k or 10k time and use the following ratios.
- 5k pace minus 30 seconds
- 10k pace minus 45 seconds
If your 5k time is 20 minutes, your pace was 6:26/mile. Your mile pace would be 5:56/mile.
If your 10k time is 45 minutes, your pace was 7:15/mile. Your mile pace would be 6:30/mile.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reply to this email, and we will be happy to help.
You can watch 2x Olympic Medalist in the 5k, Paul Chelimo, do this workout and his thoughts here.
How to Get Over a Bad Run
Working on your mental game is often an overlooked part of training. But as Alex Hutchinson says in his book Endure, it’s usually your mind what holds you back to run faster, or longer, or achieve a new PR.
We, runners, are our worst critics. Sometimes no matter how much progress we make, we tend to define our identity or training by our last run.
If it goes well, we are elated and ready for our next workout, but if it goes bad, we question everything and try to find a quick fix or new way to do things.
The reality is that…
EVERYONE HAS BAD RUNS
Read that one again. Everyone has bad runs.
Here are two tips to help you stay motivated and become your own best teammate.
1. Look at The Big Picture
Your progress and success as a runner are not defined by one bad training session or race.
It’s about the hundreds, or thousands, of hours you have put in over time. It’s about consistency and getting out of the door even when you don’t want to.
So, the next time you have a bad run or race, remember all the good things you have done, that tomorrow is a new day, and that the important thing is to be consistent.
2. Positive Mantras
Don’t underestimate the power of words and thoughts.
A simple mantra can make a huge difference in your mental state. Take 10 minutes to create something with a lot of emotional value for you.
Think about why you run, how it makes you feel, etc.
Here are two I say constantly:
- It’s about the long run.
This one reminds me that consistency is key, and it makes me laugh because of the double meaning of “long-run.”
- Do it for them.
I started doing exercise consistently after my daughter was born. I want to be a good example for my kids. Every time I feel down, repeating this mantra a couple of times helps me get my shit together.
Do you have any positive mantras?
Find Your Running Strengths and Use Them
One quick way to get demoralized (and injured) is to find a faster runner than you, then, without any regard for genetic and physiological differences, attempt to imitate their stride or training regimen.
In a past running group, there was a runner who inspired me and spurred me on. Despite being more than a decade older than me, he was not only a faster runner but kindled my envy with his (seemingly effortless) long and powerful stride. When I ran alongside him, with my shorter legs and choppier steps, I felt like I needed to take two or three strides to match a single one of his.
After numerous fruitless attempts, I eventually discovered that no amount of long runs, hill sprints, or plyometrics could convert my stride from its current state to one of power and grace like that of my fellow runner whom I longed to emulate. What I did learn, though, was that my short stride and high turnover conceded me some advantages.
It has been well documented that a higher cadence helps to reduce injuries (Influence of Stride Frequency and Length on Running Mechanics), but I also found that it allowed for rapid acceleration, relative to runners with a longer stride who potentially need a little more time to increase their pace.
Armed with that knowledge, when participating in some friendly competition with my fellow runner mentioned above, I discovered that I could occasionally beat him by staying on his shoulder and then bursting past him at some point on the last lap, putting enough distance between us before his superior speed kicked in.
Don’t try and be another runner. Be yourself.
Recognize your weaknesses, find your strengths, and use them to your advantage.
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