Efficient Running (An Alternative)

About half way through my weekly parkrun (a series of timed 5km fun runs that are fun primarily for masochists and manic tempo runs for everyone else) I found myself in need of changing my mental approach to running so fast that it hurts.

Having learned last week that munching a chocolate bar on the start line isn’t at all conducive to fast running, I opted for a chocolate shake this time, which proved to be a superior choice. I ran better and more comfortably and still managed to have chocolate for breakfast – Bridget Jones would be so proud!

Just as I was lamenting if it was possible to turn running stitches into a full-blown hernia and whether or not I was in the process of conducting a personal case study, I was distracted by the first sight of (many) puddles of mud.

Having never been been one to shy away from a bit of dirt, the fact that this was a race – of sorts – was all the excuse I needed to give myself and those running near me a full mud bath by diving right into the middle of the swamp. Splish, splash – as the lumps of mud hit my face, I smiled in the knowledge that my skincare was taken care of for the day.

Towards the bottom of the hill the mud got so deep that I temporarily had to change my running form from mid-foot strike to front crawl. Cross training – check!

And thus I spent my run physically alternating between navigating the hills, bathing in the mud and doggy-paddling towards rare stretches of dry land in between, all while mentally rejoicing at the ever decreasing length of my to-do list.

I suppose this isn’t quite what the experts mean when they talk about efficient running, but it sure works for me!

Demonstrating my multi-tasking skills:


23:03 minutes of tempo run, skincare, mud-bathing, breakfast, cross-training, scientific experimentation and solving the world’s problems (in my head)

15 thoughts on “Efficient Running (An Alternative)

  1. Angie says:

    Great time! And you are the ultimate multi-tasker! I remember one trail race where I was dodging mud puddles at the start and finally gave up and just started aiming for the middle. I had a blast seeing just how muddy and wet I could get for the rest of the race.

    • Thank you – it was a lovely run and I really enjoyed it! I’m shameless when it comes to mud, as long as I’m wearing my trail shoes. In my road shoes I might try to avoid the worst parts, and with my racing flats I’d positively tiptoe around the side… and not just because there’s a good chance that I’d slip or faceplant if I don’t! 😉

  2. Very nice time. I have a park tun on my list of new runs to try. There are a couple in the States now.

    • I love my local parkrun, and I’m sure you’d love it, too! It’s so social and really for everyone – from club runners to improvers to parents pushing their prams or running with their toddlers to those who are trying to tackle their first 5km and will walk half of it. The atmosphere is so friendly and relaxed, the whole event just says: “Hey, let’s run together!”.

  3. Trails and Ultras says:

    🙂 I had to smile the skin care reference…I always think that I must saved a fortune in face masks when I’m out running. I’ve found out they do a park run in Bodmin so when I have a Saturday off I ‘m going to give it a go. You’ve sold them to me!

    • I think you’ll really like it. It’s very laid back, but it’s nice to get some race experience and in any case, you’ll get a good speed workout out of it. Just remember to register and bring your barcode along (it gets scanned in the end).

  4. mtbader says:

    Great post! Talk about killing two, er like five, birds with one stone! Also it sounds like you’re on to something with the pre run chocolate…

    • Thank you! I certainly enjoyed the run; chocolate, mud and all… You know, I can’t wait for winter to end and run in the sunshine again, but am at the same time sad that it’ll spell the end of chocolate-fuelled long runs… =(

  5. I like your attitude about the obstacles. I wish I could say I did the same when I was navigating snow and ice piles yesterday, but all I really did was practice my swear words.

    • Oh, that’s a shame – I hope you were at least smiling in between bouts of swearing, but it doesn’t really sound like you were. At least it’s still multi-tasking. 😉 I’ve only had one run on properly icy roads this winter so far, and I just tiptoed about a little. I’d definitely take mud over icy any day!

      • Nah, I was laughing at myself too. I’d not crossed the street when I should’ve and ended up on a badly plowed sidewalk with high mounds of snow keeping me from getting through. I finally gave up and scooted over the barrier, much to the amusement of the other runners who caught up to me but crossed the street like I should’ve. 😉

      • Sounds like a perfect strategy to me! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s