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Weekly Training Tips

Run faster on a ‘see-saw’ with carbon plate shoes

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Run faster on a ‘see-saw’ with carbon plate shoes:

It’s like running on a see-saw with every step. Push, pivot and propel.
The carbon plate shoes have revolutionised lightweight shoes for not only the elite but for recreational runners of all speeds. It’s well known that they can give up to a 6% gain in performance compared to ‘regular’ running shoes. For a 25 minute 5km runner that is 90 seconds

What actually happens when you run in these is that after a heel strike, you get a huge ground reaction force upwards pushing the foot forward. This tips you over that central pivot point under your arch, just like the central piece of a see-saw. Finally, the stiffness and that forward positioning of the carbon plate combined with the curve of the front of the foot propels you forward.

The best part is that the shoe is doing most of that work and you are just going along for the ride! Well, at least to some degree.

Let’s break down the shoe design a little more because there are so many of these shoes on the market now, that you will find subtle variations which means you might find one brand or model construction may suit your foot mechanics better than another.

There are 3 main characteristics of these super shoe designs to make you run faster.


#1. The stiffness of the curved carbon plate: This has to be moved far enough forward in the shoe to give you the correct ‘tipping’ effect.


#2.  The pivot point (where the see-saw effect takes place) should not be located too far forward, allowing the shoe sole to act as a fulcrum.


#3.  The curvature of the shoe sole in the forefoot must be significant but also not too extreme to allow for the desired see-saw effect.

Ultimately, the most effective mechanism for making you run faster in these shoes is the shape of the plate, and the ‘push’ you get from the heel.


When you are ready to try your next pair of carbon plate shoes, make sure you come to run on our 25 mm track at intraining to get a good sense of the different models of Carbon plate shoes.

Read Steve’s report about the different carbon plate shoes.

Improve your downhill running

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Improve your downhill running:There are three key factors to improve your downhill running… Confidence, Technique and Strength.

From a strength perspective, downhill running on the trails has a much greater challenge on your agility than any other type of running.

In fact, in the shorter trail races, “performance has been shown to be related to a runner’s ability in the downhill section”*. One of the key differences between downhill running from uphill and level running is the need for greater strength and stiffness of the legs to manage the constant braking effect your legs are doing. Primarily this occurs with the quads ability to control the extension of the knee.

The quads are under a lot of loads as they are extending the knee while also applying a very strong braking force. This eccentric loading creates energy efficient muscle actions to absorb shock and slow down the bodyweight during each landing phase.

What do you need to do? Add strength to your training. More recent recommendations for improving downhill running are including regular lower limb strength and conditioning sessions in your weekly training. These can be done at home or at the gym. This is a very basic strength program to get you started at home.

If you want to really improve your trail running performances and get some help with a tailored strength program, book in to see intraining’s physio, Doug James. HERE

Physiological factors determining downhill vs uphill running endurance performance
Marcel Lemire, Thomas J. Hureau, Fabrice Favret, Evelyne Lonsdorfer, Romain Remetter,, Stéphane P. Dufour
JSAMS, VOLUME 24, ISSUE 1, p85-91

Multiplying Milestone

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Multiplying Milestones: You have a greater chance of success when you layer your goal setting with milestones.

Here’s why… Goals, which are important to set, are your end goal, your final big ‘prize’.


While extremely important, it is easy to put too much focus on this final outcome and get lost in fantasising about them.


To prevent this from occurring, you need to create progress markers that create stages as you get fitter.


These are your milestones. Milestones define moments we see as conquerable and worth conquering. What they do is compelled to make the push because they are always within your grasp, and we see them as worth chasing. Multiplying these milestones creates mini ‘finish lines’ out of a long year of training and out of a long race. Plus, each time you conquer one, you will experience a burst of pride and a spark of energy towards your next one.


Take 5 minutes now to write down your mini-milestones to catapult you through your year of racing.

The Hamstring Syndrome

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High hamstring niggles in the glute region are pretty common amongst runners, particularly more mature (aka older) runners. One of the diagnosis is hamstring syndrome which is presented as a gluteal sciatic nerve pain. At its insertion onto the bone on which you sit ( the ischial tuberosity), fibrotic bands form in the tendon that irritates the sciatic nerve. There are usually two ways this has developed – Trauma or Mechanical compression.

Traumatic causes: These usually develop after a traumatic event like overextension of the hamstring from kicking a ball footy, or after a slip where your leg flies forward. This is usually an unavoidable event and the treatment that follows is designed to strengthen the surrounding muscles and ligaments to take the load away from the insertion. 

Mechanical injury: Traction, mechanical compression and impingement of the nerve can cause the injury. Running has such a cyclical pattern that if your individual biomechanics cause any of the above, then over time it will alter the structural integrity of the hamstring tendon fibres at the insertion. 

Symptoms of Hamstring syndrome include local pain on the bone you sit ( the ischial tuberosity), referred pain to your glutes, discomfort after sitting, after a period of time running. 

Other injuries that can mimic hamstring syndrome include, piriformis syndrome, bursitis, hamstring muscle pain, scars in the hamstring muscles from past injuries and back originated symptoms. 

While a fibrotic hamstring tendon is not ideal, there is so much research now and many successful treatment protocols on how to manage these injuries to alleviate the pain. The trick is working out which one of the management plans works best and that is where coming to chat with Doug, our intraining physio can be very beneficial. Often a combination of specific strength exercises for the hamstring with exercises strengthening the surrounding muscles groups is required. 

If you are battling with a high hamstring injury, make sure you check you have the correct diagnosis worked out by your clinical symptoms or MRI, and then a review of your strengthening program. 




BOOK HERE to see Doug.

A cold & tasty performance enhancer​

weekly training tips

It’s been proven that an ice slushie 20 – 30 mins before running can counter heat-related impairments in endurance running AND boost your performance. Many studies have been done to see how runners can manage the heat at events. This is what you can do: At home: Crush small chunks of ice into a bottle, then 30 mins before leaving add water and whatever flavours you like. On the go: Buy a slushie or Slurpee and sip on your way to your race. Here are SIX facts collected from a couple of research studies looking at the effects of pre-cooling and pre-cooling ( mid-run).

– Slushies can help you run faster than you otherwise would, particularly in the last 300m of a race

– Fatigue is delayed as the ice slurry increases your body’s heat storage capacity

– It decreases your core temperature and skin temperature.

– Using slushies decreases a physiological strain, and can change your perception ( tricks your brain!)

– Work best if you start consuming 20 – 30 mins prior.

– Cooling during moderate to intense exercise has much less effect.

* Thermoregulatory responses to ice slurry ingestion during low and moderate-intensity exercises with restrictive heat loss”. Sharifah B. Alhadad, Ivan C.C. Low, Jason K.W. Lee, JSAMS, VOLUME 24, ISSUE 1, P105-109, JANUARY 01, 2021 Published online: July 14, 2020 p105-109

“The effects of pre-and per-cooling interventions used in isolation and combination on subsequent 15-minute time-trial cycling performance in the heat” Jodie N. Moss, Steven J. Trangmar, Richard W.A. Mackenzie, Christopher J. Tyler VOLUME 24, ISSUE 8, P800-805, AUGUST 01, 2021

Welcome to 2022

weekly training tips

Welcome to a new year of running. Tell us what you would like to hear more about. Motivation / Training specifics / Injury prevention / Technology / Community Chats. CLICK HERE so we can help make your running year more enjoyable and rewarding.