When I first started writing emails & articles over 10 years ago I ONLY talked about running.
I had an eCommerce business selling running gear in Ireland and started writing content for the website.
The business didn’t work out, but I continued writing about running and people seemed to enjoy reading them.
The emails turned into a series of live workshops that I ran for about 5 years all over the UK and Ireland, all the while working with the Reading Half Marathon as their training partner, writing a book for beginner runners and articles for magazines like Women’s Running.
Then a few years ago I felt like I’d said all that I wanted to say about running and made the conscious decision to pivot away from it, towards motivational speaking and mindset coaching.
I didn’t want to be just ‘George the running guy’ any more, though the daft ultra marathons I’ve run over the last few years probably haven’t helped my cause lol!
Still, I decided to move on and write about other stuff that interested me and I hoped would interest others as well.
I was never interested in the hard core running cyborgs who ate marathons for breakfast.
Each to their own, but that has never been my most favouritist group to work with.
Since my ‘I’m not the running guy any more’ statement a few years ago, I never let myself romp around with running writing again.
I do still quite like a bit of run chat from time to time 😉
So this one is for the runners, of ANY ability or ambition.
Because it’s about efficiency.
How to run faster, with less effort and more enjoyment.
It’s what I’ve always done personally, it’s what I used to teach on my workshops, and it’s what I credit with allowing me to run 40 miles at the weekend without too much trouble.
And there’s no reason why you can’t apply them to your own running as well.
Here are the recently-named-because-it-sounds-like-a-real-thing 5 Ls of running efficiency:
Imagine a piece of string lifting you up from the top of your head.
Feel your spine aligning and your tummy drawing in slightly, but just focus on the lift.
Do this as often as you can during your next run.
You’ll do it, then forget about it a few steps later. That’s ok. Just do it again as soon as you remember.
The piece of string… LIFT yourself tall.
If you can get the lift, the next thing to try is to lean forwards from the ankles.
Imagine standing still and leaning forward so the weight rocks onto your toes.
What would happen if you leaned forwards a little more?
You’d fall over, is what!
Except you wouldn’t, because you’d instinctively put a foot out in front of you.
And if you kept that lean in place, you’d put your other foot in front of that one, and so on… <<< this is often known as ‘running’.
Running bolt upright or worse leaning back means that your foot will contact the ground well in front of your centre of mass.
When this happens, it’s like running with the brakes on.
Lean forwards and gravity will do some of the heavy lifting for you.
On a running workshop I once took with Irish marathon record holder Catherina McKiernan, she said ‘a relaxed muscle is hard to injure’.
That always stuck with me, and I’d like to pass it on to you.
Relax your ankles in particular, the way you would your wrists if you were shaking out your hands.
Instead of trying to lift up your toes to plant your heel on the ground, just keep them relaxed and loose, and allow them to land naturally on the mid foot.
Imagine yourself floating along the ground rather than pounding into it with every step.
This one takes a bit of work, but the more quietly you can run the less energy
you’re going to waste.
If you get the lift and the loosen, this one usually takes care of itself, but it’s still something to focus on and ‘check in’ with as you run.
Yeah, this one is basically just breathing, but ‘the 4 Ls and a B of running efficiency’ isn’t quite so catchy.
Of course you already breathe as you run, but try to focus on getting more oxygen into your lungs and getting rid of more of the carbon dioxide.
Establish a rhythm as you run, so each foot landing on the ground is timed with a breath.
For instance 2 breaths in for a left and a right, then 2 breaths out for the next left and right.
You’ll find that you naturally take fuller breaths, and the steps ‘shunt’ air into and out of your lungs.
At Endure24 on Saturday I literally went through this list in my head over and over again.
It was like a mental check list and I’d focus on each of them for a few moments at a time before moving on to the next one.
If it helps, you could write an ‘L’ on your left hand so you see it any time you look at your watch.
If you wear your watch on the other hand be wary of this or you’ll have people asking why you have an L written on your right hand…
Could be a lengthy explanation and when you’re already making oxygen choices that’s a conversation you don’t want to be having.
Just send them over to the blog instead where I’ll be posting this later 😉
Hope that helps / is of interest / entertained you / passed a few minutes of your day.
I’ll be back to talking about non-running stuff next time, until the next urge to delve back into my past overwhelms me.
It’s like therapy, so thank you for listening.