Hello everybody! It’s been a while! With H+P and the clinic getting so busy, time has been lacking, but I’m hoping to carve out more space in 2020 to contribute regularly to my Training and Performance column.
For this article, I want to address a question that I have been getting from a few athletes in relation to the upcoming Re-Fridgee-8er: How much slower does running a loop course vs. a straight course make you?
Over the years, I’ve always tried to analyze athletes’ results in an evidence-based way, especially when it’s related to factors out of one’s control.
Whether it be how much heat slows you down, or how heavy your shoes are, it’s good to be as precise as possible. This is crucial because for an athlete to improve by 5% (i.e. going from a 20 to a 19minute 5K), it requires a lot of training and dedication. As I’ve written about HERE, running in hot and humid weather can easily decrease performance by 5%. So if an athlete works hard to improve by 5%, races on a hot day, and runs the same time as they previously did on a cool day without an exact awareness of how much that heat impacted their performance, that can become a very demoralizing day when it should be seen as a positive sign of improvement.
How much do corners hurt?
Specifically, when it comes to corners, I’ve always safely assumed they are slower, but until now I have never actually looked into the exact impact they have. This is especially because I tend to lean toward recommending straight courses when my athletes are going for PBs, BQ’s etc.
There’s a lot of research out there on the topic, but here is the best summary I’ve come across, published in 2019.