Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Things that mess up your run #3 – Calls to nature


On average, according to the good men and women of Georgia Tech, USA, mammals irrespective of size, will pee for an average of 21 seconds in sitting (or standing) in what is sometimes referred to as the Law of Urination. I wouldn’t know myself but I’ll take their word for it. Now before you switch off and return tomorrow when we are back talking about marathon running, the point this leads me to is that taking a pee, while short, is time-consuming.

When you project that into a marathon, add a further 5 seconds to slow down and pick a spot and then another 4 seconds to make yourself respectable and speed up again that could nearly be half a minute gone! Half a minute for someone wanting to run sub 3 hour is approximately 120 metres. Not great, but not terminal. However, turn that call of nature into a number two then 30 seconds can become 3 minutes, which is well over a half kilometre down in any person’s playbook.

And it is because of this that I always have a degree of sympathy for those I see with backs turned only a few miles from the start. Having only gotten into their stride they have been forced to stop along the side of the road for a call to nature. If that is bad I feel even worse for those queuing at the first available portaloo, many of whom are wondering how on earth they’re going to make up the time?

To avoid any of these scenarios I’d suggest the following:

  • Don’t be drinking lots of water the morning of the race, especially if it is not warm outside. If you feel thirsty it’s probably just a bit of nerves. Wet the lips and you’ll be fine.
  • Find a loo before the start. If you can’t find one, improvise.
  • Eat your last proper meal the lunch-time, early afternoon before and after that keep it to small meals or snacks. On the morning of, make you sure to move about a decent amount before you leave the house. Nothing like a bit of movement to help clear the bowels.

And finally if you really want to break that time, don’t be afraid to do a Paula Radcliffe, London 2005 on it.

Yesterday’s training
Warm up followed by 4 x 1 mile reps at 3.55 pace a kilometre.


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