Developing Resilience in Running May 08, 2019 19:54 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Author: Matt Dixon Plenty of athletes often focus on under-performance in running during their races. It is common for the run portion of the race to have the largest delta between trained potential and race day performance. The most obvious reason for this is that the run is the final discipline in the race, hence the one that is most susceptible to be influenced by aspects such as pacing relative to fitness, fatigue carried into a race, fueling, hydration, and much more. It goes without saying, our delta would be significantly smaller if we ran first, but, for safety reasons, that isn’t what the sport is. Let’s explore what happens with athletes when they experience duress and under-performance during the run leg so that we can align the focus on training and equipment choice in our repertoire. Types of Fatigue You come off the bike, which has followed the swim. You are several hours into the event already, so what are the main types of fatigue that you experience typically? Mechanical Fatigue: The most common is muscular fatigue. Athletes often feel fine from a general cardiovascular standpoint but simply cannot get their legs to do what they ask. Limited propulsion, longer contact time on the ground, less spring. Mental Fatigue: As time goes on, we begin to experience lower neural performance. This is amplified with athletes who arrive at events tired, either from life or a lack of recovery from training. This leads to poor decision making but lower economy of running. Everything costs more effort for the speed. Supporting Muscle Fatigue: A lack of control of posture, stability, and synchronized movement. Beyond the general fatigue to the primer-mover muscle groups, it is the supporting muscles that fatigue and destroy the economy of movement also. Add these together, all amplified with those pacing and fueling aspects, and we can appreciate why the run often feels like a source of frustration and weakness for athletes. Development of resilience against these elements takes time (more than weeks), but there are a few things that we can do to help our resistance to them taking a grip on performance. Choose the right footwear: If mechanical fatigue is the biggest challenge, don’t choose shoes that magnify that type of fatigue as a consequence of promised speed. Lighter isn’t faster if the shoe choice amplifies muscle fatigue. Padded, comfortable, and supportive shoes help. Over the long run, you will go faster. You are not a 130 pound Kenyan. Embrace strength: The stability and support from a strong framework is clearly a good addition to any program. Don’t skip it, lean into it. The effective strength is not about doing more and more but a whole load of resilience. Don’t arrive fatigued: I arrived at my trail race this weekend tired — from life. It was clear and displayed itself with consistent trips on rocks and roots that I typically wouldn’t. I stayed upright, but my economy of movement was certainly compromised. Arrive fatigued from training or life, and your run will suffer off the bike. Build resilience with caution: It isn’t about running more and more if this is your experience. It is loaded more and more fitness in swim and bike then going on the healthy journey of long term progression. Don’t expect to nail it in the first race or event but aim to get better and better over time. If you have a great swim and bike, then 10k of a half IRONMAN is good, you have a building block to progress. Don’t get down, don’t view yourself as a failure, but come again and aim for 15 to 21 km next time. A little perspective for the run compromised! Cheers, Matt Related articles Hills Pay the Bills QOTW: The Pose Running Method Your Best Marathon: It's Not Just About the Miles Heart Rate Variability: Hype or Not?