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Improving Running Efficiency - Stick To The Plan

Despite all of the challenges we have had around the country with restrictions it's been great to see everyone making the most of their situations in different locations.

Like I've always said, keep training as if you're event is going ahead! We can improvise if our training playground is restrictive to local streets or home gyms, in some cases lounge rooms and bench pressing kids!

Stress levels are a lot lower at the start line of a race knowing we've put in as much effort as we can in the lead up to our event.

On the 23rd Of July, CJ Pearson set out to attack the Guzzler 50km trail race in the backyard of Brisbane Australia, to beat his time of 8:30hrs last year.

The Guzzler 50km trail race is one of the toughest in Brisbane. Traversing through Mt Coo-Tha, Enoggera Reservoir and Gold Creek with over 2,000m of elevation change. This is not your beginners race.

CJ is one of those gentlemen who simply gets in and does the work, trusts the process and stays focused on his goals.

CJ ran the Guzzler 50km trail race in November last year. February this year he came on as a coached athlete of RVP and we started working together with structured training and the goal to better his time for the same race in July. We had 5 months to building a stronger and faster CJ.

With CJ's commitment to training, we shaved a whole hour off his previous race time and improved his running economy by around 10%.

This is how we did it...

We periodised his training and worked to blend the volume within his busy family and work life, soon enough a 4am alarm to get up and run became his mid week norm.

We built his volume progressively and introduced specific speed and hill work to build his VO2max and climbing strength for the hills he would face on course.

We introduced strength training to build a strong body to handle the running load and insulate from injury.

We also entered two smaller trail races during the training, an 18km and 42km trail race to check in on progress and build conditioning for racing.

We cycled through blocks of strength building, endurance building and race specific building to get CJ as match ready for the task as possible.

The graph below is a true reflection of CJ's commitment to the training.

CJ's fitness (blue line) is on the incline through the 5 months.

His fatigue (pink line) is high when we are building him up and low when we are resetting and tapering.

His form (yellow line) is low when he is pushing through hard training weeks and high when he is resetting and ready to race.

Week in week out CJ put the work in and gave himself every chance to take on Guzzler to beat his time last November.

Below are comparisons from the November 2020 race to the July 2021 race.

With no extra level of exertion (heart rate average of 145bpm) His average pace improved by around 10% over the race to come in at a time of 7hrs 31minutes, 1 hour quicker than November!

Well done CJ on an incredible run!

Official results for both races here

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