Just when the weather starts to get cold, runners begin thinking about spring—spring races, that is. Chris Hinshaw is a 10-time Ironman finisher, Reebok partner and creator of aerobic capacity programming, the perfect coach to get our heads around meeting our 2018 running goals. iRun’s GM Ben Kaplan sat down with Chris to talk race strategy and plans.
Ben Kaplan: In between seasons, when’s the best time to get new shoes?
Chris Hinshaw: I recommend having two pairs of running shoes in rotation. One of the pairs is broken in and the other pair is much newer. I like using the old pair for long and easy runs and the new pair for faster paced interval workouts. In time you will need to retire the old pair of shoes because your foot will start feeling sloppy inside the shoe and your joints will feel achy afterwards because the midsoles have lost their cushioning.
BK: Would you get new shoes in December?
CH: Why not? Your stride will immediately feel lively and spring like when you bring in a brand new pair of running shoes. If you’re on the hunt for a new pair, my suggestion is the Reebok Floatride Run.[ed. note: Chris is a Reebok partner]. This running shoe is for sure our most technically advanced to-date, with an unprecedented level of comfort and performance for runners. The various components—from ultra-knit uppers to Floatride foam— allows for ultimate cushioning and responsiveness, and Reebok just released some great new colourway options, too.
BK: Say I’ve run a half marathon and want to get quicker this spring. What sort of speed work do you recommend and how often?
CH: I would encourage an athlete that is training for a half marathon to incorporate several types of speed work. The first option is adding short surges at your half marathon goal pace into your long easy run in order to build specific endurance. For example, every 10 minutes during your long run surge for 3 minutes at your half marathon pace. Gradually increase the length and/or frequency of the surges. The second option is adding a pace acceleration or “pick-up” at the end of the long run workout. This pick-up will be an acceleration of speed to goal pace for the last 10-15 minutes of the long run. Gradually increase the length of the pick-up in future workouts.
BK: These are good ideas. What else can I do to ensure a spring PB?
CH: I don’t know if anything can “ensure” a PB, but another good option is doing a small volume of speed work after the long run. This post long-run accessory workout would initially start with 6-8 reps of controlled sprints at 60-80 meters with an easy walk back to the original starting point. Gradually increase your speed and then increase your distance up to 100m.
BK: Anything special to consider if I’ve never done this before?
CH: Your focus is maintaining control of your running form.
BK: Realistically, how much faster can you expect to get between races? What’s the single most important thing you can do?
CH: Recreational runners that have completed their first half marathon should expect a considerable improvement in the next race. This first experience (and every experience thereafter), will build your confidence with completing the race distance. Most new runners focus on the volume. However, as their confidence builds they begin to also focus on improving their finish time or speed. Any athlete that want to improve their next race finishing time must practice this new goal pace. It’s important that you practice the new pace you want to run come race day. The way your body recruits muscle fibers, sequences muscle fibers, and fatigues muscle fibers is specific to the speed you practice.
BK: Cool, and thanks for your time. Before we say goodbye, any last words of advice for a speedy, injury-free 2018?
CH: It’s basically pretty simple: the more your practice running at a faster speed, the more efficient you will be at running this speed. You can do it! Here’s to a great running year.