Don't be a 'beach cruiser'
Don't get me wrong, beach cruisers are fun, they are great, they are just not completely efficient or fast ! I should definitely know as we live within close proximity to the beach, always have and we always own them.. But they are built for comfort not speed. Clearly not a bike going to be used by the Professional riders of the Tour De France.. those bikes have many many gears to allow for changing conditions, elements both created by their human opponents as well as environmental changes...
The same can be said for the runner...there is most certainly a place for steady state running physically and emotionally. Physically at the right intensity, steady state running can engender key adaptations to the metabolic state such as improving aerobic threshold, one's ability improve your ability to remain 'with oxygen' at ever increasing paces whilst remaining 'submaximal', a key component to improving as a competitive runner and emotionally, steady state running is more gentle, more efficient as your heart rate maintains homeostasis throughout a given run or at least experiences limited cardiac drift (rising hart rates)..
But....for racing, we need zest, we literally and figuratively need to change things up, we need that change of pace, we need to place ourselves at specific times right into the heart of oxygen debt all the while forcing recovery on the move at a rate that is beyond the point of where we really want to be...this is called 'designed inefficiency' and in short, neither the body or the mind like it.
In my book Run Tall, Run Easy, now available as an e~book at Amazon and ITunes I discuss this in the form of the human chess match- literally a game you play with your body as you move the shadows of your own body to ever increasing heights of fitness and speed.
It is a challenging aggressive type of change of pace running that may for example include a specific distance on the track for a predetermined interval length such as 3200 meters whereby you change pace each 400 meters with the odd laps at aggressive 5k pace or slightly faster and the even laps are odd laps +15 secs (I.e. 75/90 as an example)- the even laps in the neighborhood of marathon pace as your recovery. By default this will engender more gears into your running, your weaponry and will due to the designed inefficiency force your body to become much more efficient in its ability to recover on the move be it from the attack of a surging pack or from cresting a nasty hill or coming out of a strong head wind.
Just as per the racing bike, the more 'gears' the runner has, the more superior the runner !
Don't be a beach cruiser, train to be a twenty-one speed racer and hit the red oval for some change of pace 'in and out' sessions...
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