Marathon Training for Simpletons Part III - Running economy

Government bail out would be welcomed

With economies around the world struggling because everyone borrowed too much money, many of you will be thinking this could be my manifesto for sorting the whole mess out.

It isn't.

This is a blog about something much harder - getting a lazy northerner around the London Marathon.

So, if my previous two posts in this mini-series on the thinking behind my training haven't put you off, lets see if this one can.

Running economy is, simply put, how much oxygen you use while running. It's like fuel economy in cars - if you use less oxygen to run the same as someone else, you've got better efficiency.

It's dictated mainly by the types of muscle fibres you have - slow or fast-twitch - so is largely determined by genetics, but training can help too.

Annoyingly for those of us eager to find short cuts to improve and focus on them, this one's not so simple to improve. This is mainly because lots of running over a period of years seems to be the best way to get your body adapted.

Not what I wanted to hear.

However, even us short term thinkers can get some improvement by increasing the mileage in our training over time, and repeatedly running short bursts of around 100m at a fast pace (repetitions).

Repetitions are a bit of a workaround solution as they help to improve your running form - the mechanics of your running - which stops you wasting energy, and oxygen, so your economy improves.

So all the core strength nonsense I've got to do to stop my spine snapping in two is also helping with this one. That's cool as in my head rolling around on the floor was only tenuously linked to running, so now it feels more like it's for something.

I therefore need to make sure I build repetitions, and increased mileage, into the training to make sure it's as effective as poss.

It's starting to almost sound like I know what I'm talking about!