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The Unelite Athlete

The Tortoise & The Hare – Can’t we be both?

We all know the story of The Tortoise and The Hare, the Hare goes out way too fast, has a nap to recover, and all the while the Tortoise plods on and wins the race.

It’s a nice story but, let’s put it in today’s terms of racing. I know we aren’t in the 1% of elites on the world stage, however we can learn a lot from them.

The athletes who are short distance racers, let’s say 5k/10k for example, obviously have to run fast to get to the speed they need. They don’t achieve this by running every single mile at breakneck speed. Some of their miles are SLOW.

The athletes who run long distance, we’ll say 50k to 100 miles, they have to be able to cover a huge distance and many run at a more sustainable pace (still incredibly fast though compared to us), but, they don’t train every single mile slow. Some of their miles are FAST.

We can learn a lot from looking around at successful athletes, and with the magic of social media, we can see lots of the running they do weekly and learn from the patterns.

I’m not saying go online and copy an elite athletes workload because they run 100 plus miles a week, and their daily workouts would be beyond our physical ability to emulate. Although, if we look at their training, we’ll see that they are running different paces for different runs.

This shift in speed through different workouts helps them adapt to the pace they need to race at, and lets their bodies recover before the next session. So they’ll go hard for the duration they need to during their tough sessions (like the Hare), then they will slow down (like the Tortoise). They will switch between the character traits like gears on a bike.

So even though we are lead to believe that the Tortoise is one character and the Hare the other, there is nothing written in stone that says you have to choose ONE. Be both.

If you want to get fast, then you need to start looking at some faster paced running. If you’re running fast and seeing no improvement then you have to look at some slower paced running. Run fast to get faster, and run slow to recover.

It’s working for me, and I’ve had PBs in my last two races, and going for another in a couple of weeks.

Try it for yourself and let me know how you get on.

Catch up with you soon,

Calum

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