Editor's Note: Please do not listen to any of this advice! It goes against all of the current and conventional wisdom. Consider yourself warned that if you do listen to any of it you will forever stay slow, fat, and happy.
How to have the best race of your life by Roman Mica
There is just no way to sugarcoat this advice, so I won't and I'll just give it to you straight. Here's the Everyman method to have the best race of your life.
I say you just forget about it completely. The science at best is dubious. Plus the scientist who study this sort of thing can't seem to agree on the value, if any, athletes derive from stretching.
And yes, I'm fully aware of the Stretch Police who will give you a dirty looks if you don't stretch in the gym, or after a group run, or before a track work out. Funny thing is---they'll always use their dog as an example and say something like, "You'll note that even Rover stretches before he gets up in the morning."
Well my dog does indeed stretch, but she also sniffs her ass, chases her tail, really enjoys lapping up dry bird crap from the sidewalk, and will roll happily (and with great gusto I must add) in the foulest dead animal she can find. Does that mean I should also follow these examples?
So you've just completes a nice, fast, rigorous, 10K run. The experts say you should (within 20 minutes) load up on a healthy protein packed snack. They might suggest a power bar, or perhaps a fresh fruit low fat protein enhanced smoothie.
I say go for a Good Times Chocolate Shake. Let's face it the power bar tends to taste like chocolateish saw dust, and the smoothie is a pain the ass to make, and damn expensive to buy.
The shake on the other hand is delicious, fast, and cheap.
Sure you've just pissed away that caloric deficit you ran so hard to create. But what's the point of running if you can't eat like a starved polar explorer after a workout. At worst this method of indulging your craving may keep you slow, fat but very very happy.
The experts will point to most amateur runners and fume at their poor running form. "Dear God in heaven," they will gasp. "How did you learn to run like that!" If you are like most newbie runners you are a heel striker. In other words, you fling your leading foot forward like a hungry cheetah after a gazelle, and land with a dull and massive thud on your heel.
This they say this is unnatural, unwise, and just piss poor form.
Instead, they will advice, "you should stand tall, proud, and lean forward as if you are about to fall ahead." This way of running is the...natural...way to run.
But I can't help but wonder if it is so damn natural and inborn to our species, why do most of us run by flinging our heals forward?
...just wondering out loud folks?
And yes you can teach yourself to run the much more "natural" way. All you need to do is take about a year or so to complete relearn how to run. It helps if you start out by running barefoot around a gym or your local street for a couple of months to get the feel of this more natural style. You know the way our distant ancestors ran on the African plains.
Or, you could just lace up some modern running shoes after a busy day of work, which are well padded for all of us heel strikers, and go for a run. After all our distant African ancestors did not have to commute to work in stop and go traffic, only to sit in a cubicle in front of a computer for eight hours, only to drive home again in stop and go traffic, only to go for a "fun" and "natural" run.
Need for Speed:
Speed, in my opinion, is way overrated. Unless you happen to be Kenyan or Australian with a deep well of genetic talent you probably will not be winning your next race. And lets face it, you probably won't be winning your age-group either.
So I say...just have fun!
That's my everyman secret to how to have the best race of your life. Take a look at this photo of my friend Dave and myself just before last year's Kansas 70.3. You'll note that Dave is holding his trusty hybrid two wheeled steed.
That's right Dave biked 56 miles on a hybrid bike meant for casual trips to the grocery store. He didn't have areo bars, areo helmet, areo water bottle, areo socks, areo sunglasses, areo bike shoes, or even a really areo ass (you know I kid you my friend ;-)
But he did have a lot of fun. Everyone that passed him on the bike, and that was indeed almost everyone, was either amazed or dumb struck that Dave would race on a hybrid bike. They either laughed with him, or had kind words of encouragement as he rode around the hilly course.
In the end Dave had a blast on the bike, and I would bet big he'll never forget that race.
Having fun while training...
Having fun while racing...
And not taking it all so seriously, especially the need for speed, is really the easiest and simplest way to have the best race of your life.
And yes with this everyman method you may indeed stay slow, fat, and I hope very happy!