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How to Race Faster at the Great Trek

Published on October 16, 2023

Run Faster! Everyone would like to run faster in races. Over the years there have been several running research studies proving how you can race faster with more than just workouts. I imagine if you could add them all up together you would have a ten percent improvement! Let’s make a list of some of the research results:

1) Fuel Loading – proper fuel loading can improve your race time by as much as 10 percent (let’s use 2 percent);

2) Balanced Taper – tapering for an event can improve your race time up to 5 percent. There needs to be a balance, as too much tapering is not helpful either;

3) Racing shoes – racing shoes are lighter and more flexible allowing you to race faster. Racing shoes can improve your time by 2 to 3 percent – carbon plated shoes even more – up to 5 percent;

4) Hydration – a loss of 1 liter of water can lead to a 2 percent reduction in race time. Hydration with electrolytes can improve your race performance;

5) Drafting – drafting is used predominantly in cycling however there is a drafting benefit in running of 1 percent;

6) Smiling – apparently smiling while you run improves your overall attitude about your run and can make you run faster by 2 percent;

7) Relaxing muscles – lowers heart rate and less effort to run resulting in a 2 percent improvement (concentrate on relaxing your shoulders);

8) Hand position – holding your hands in a relaxed manner with thumbs on top of index finger and pinky finger pointing outwards can help your run faster. Half a percent for that concept; and,

9) Cadence – Improving your cadence by 10 steps per minute has shown to reduce the rate of injury and improve race times by 1 percent.

Let’s add them up using conservative numbers:

Carbo Loading2%
Tapering2%
Racing Shoes2%
Hydration1%
Drafting1/2%
Relaxing Muscles1%
Hand Position1/2%
Cadence1%
Total10%

When you have gone through a successful training cycle you want to run your best. Sometimes factors can work against you such as weather conditions or travel delays. There are factors you can control, and each of the items listed above can make for a better race day.

Contributors

Carey Nelson
Co-Owner - Forerunners Main Street & Clinic Director (2007)

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