Sunday, July 19, 2015

Going Theory

Until today, my going theory was that my performance improvement in running this year was due to more consistent training and the sequence of a few years of minimal/"barefoot"-style running (which improved my turnover and body control) followed by going back to regular trainers and adding some new stretches (thanks, Tom Cotner!) that helped lengthen my stride. Turnover plus stride length equals speed; the body control helps keep me consistent and healthy. Also, though I mostly train in cushy trainers now, I'm continuing to forefoot-strike and use minimal shoes occasionally, so that I can race in minimal shoes (providing an advantage similar to racing flats) at any distance I want.

Then I read some articles citing studies claiming that typical doses of caffeine can improve performance by perhaps up to 3% in endurance athletes. This is my first season where I trained remotely well since becoming a coffee drinker. 3% more than covers my 5k improvement, and of course I'm racing in much lighter shoes than in the past. That really popped my balloon. I thought I was doing all this smart stuff to improve, outsmarting my younger, dumber self. Turns out it's just coffee and shoes.

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