Improving 2.4km Time Posted on October 26, 2018
Improving the 2.4km Time (Coach’s Perspective)
Picture 1 : Tan Mariviv, from Flexifitness, has a personal best of 8min 45sec for 2.4km
Improvement On The Test Day Itself
I shall now discuss on running the 2.4km test, on the day itself. I have trained hard in the past and I have done 7min 02sec for 2.4km, in NAFA Encounter organised by Sports Council, in the past. This article will give suggestions on what to do before and during the run of the 2.4km Test. In the next article, Part 2, I shall discuss on designing a basic training program to improve your 2.4km timing.
My coaching experience was put into practice as a Physical Education teacher of Hwa Chong Institution (High School, March 2000-Oct 2005) (College, October 2005 onwards)
Frequent running (3 days per week) as compared to Regular runs of 2 days training
There was a time when I was working in Hwa Chong Institution (High school) in 2004, I was dealing with the 2.4km failures of secondary two students. They were given two days per week of remedial training to pass the 2.4km test. The boys were training for several weeks and months. Eventually, I found that around 25 students of the sec 2 boys were failing the test again and again. Hence, I decided to put some scientific principles into practice.
I was left with three weeks to finish the whole NAPFA Test, around August. I decided to have a heart to heart talk with the students to cooperate with me. I assured them that everyday if they do the training of 20min run, they will pass the test or will improve the test time by a bigger margin, instead of coming for the run twice per week, throughout the year. I told them that 3 days per week will ensure an aerobic training effect. As for two days per week training, the heart size will increase for a few days and then decrease in size. The boys finally relented to this. Altogether, they came on Monday to Friday for first week and then for the second week they came on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I told them to rest on Thursday. On Friday, I took the test. Before the test, I told the boys to keep the mind positive all the way of the run. Negative thoughts will come, but they were told to consciously channel whatever positive thoughts that they could find.
Even Pace Running
From my research in Loughborough University on 1500m run, I told them to run steadily and evenly pace themselves well. Pacing themselves properly throughout the run will in fact prevent stitch as compared to running with an unsteady pace. It is advisable to at a pace in order prevent huge lactate buildup, which will affect the last two laps, by going quite hard (85-90% effort) for 400m and then going hard (90-95% effort) for the next 1600m or four rounds, eventually finishing the last round with 95-100% effort. This would prevent the feeling that you are a superman at the start, just to get deceived and see yourself dying out at the last portion of the run. It is a false perception that many get before the run that you feel very good.
Shortest Distance Travelled.
I also told them to run close to the left hand of the lane of the track, about 2 inches away, so that they do not run longer. First lane is 400m, second lane is 407m and third lane is 414m per round per lap. I have seen students running in the center of the first lane. It means that the person is running 21metres extra for the 2.4km run test (3.5 metres per lap multiplied by 6). It is also a good idea not to run too close to the curve, for example, 1cm away from the curve. The nearness to the extreme left of the track will make a person to swing to the right, instead of left, as the centrepetal force will influence the run. This is Physics put into practice. We may tend to run tangent, which means running straight, away from the curve. Another valuable advise to run the curve is to bend the body slightly to the left of the track to prevent the centrepetal force affecting your run to a certain extent. This can be seen from the motorcycle test pylon riding, where a motorcyclist has to negotiate the curve while they are driving. In some running books, this has been written.
During the run, it is a good idea to run with someone who has the same pace as you have. If the person is fast, one should let the person go. However, if the person is slow, it will be a good idea to move forward to run behind the next person infront of you. Another thing they can do if the person is far infront of you is to have the eye point on the runner running infront. That was how I have been running races and kept myself motivated during the run and hence kept myself working hard throughout the run and obtain a better timing, over time.
Pacing Oneself Evenly During The Run.
Picture 2 – Pacing oneself is important for one to get a good 2.4km timing
Also, if a person wants to run per round in 2minutes, they will end the run with 12min for the 2.4km. Hence, knowing and keeping aware of the run time per lap during the run is of paramount importance. One could write down the timing on the hand so that you can see whether you are hitting the time and pacing yourself well. It is a good idea to run with a light digital watch. As a competitive runner, I have shunned heavy and expensive watches for a light and simple watch. I have seen many people being attached to this material things which are temporary in nature. Some wear the a heavy and expensive watch because of prestige. I think that this is being childish. If you want to wear an expensive and heavy watch, I suggest that it can be worn after the run. A person who wants to do well should learn to do what is important to do rather than what he likes.
Benefits of Running Racing Shoe
Picture 3 – There a wide variety of racing shoes in the market to run race faster
It is also a good idea to wear a racing flat or spikes for the 2.4km around the track. If the run is on the road or pavement, a racing shoe will help. The durability of the racing shoes can in fact last for several years. A racing shoe can infact take away 10 to 20sec off one’s gross timing of 2.4km. All my cross-country athletes who ran with training shoe, usually post a slower time as compared to the racer where the athletes come back with a much faster timing. A training shoe is heavier and it is logical that the timing will be affected because of a higher oxygen cost involved. However, it is advisable for a heavier person to wear a mid-range shoe, between a racer and a trainer, as this reduces the impact which can affect the run at the last two rounds.
Focus on Hands at the last stretch of the Run
Several coaches usually may tell the athletes to ‘work on the hands’ towards the last portion of the race. Towards the final portion of the 50m to 100m of the finish of the run, an athlete will come back with a running technique which exhibits exhaustion. At that time, it would be advisable to use the hand technique and work on the hands to wind up the run. When the hand drives, the leg will follow suit. Hence, this can help a person to attain a better time by a few seconds.
Accelerate to the Finish
Picture 4 – Accelerate to the finish is very important in race
At the finish, a number of runners usually decelerate the run, instead of accelerating to the finish. A strong finish will improve a person’s timing. Hence, a person should think on running additional 5 to 10metres after to the end of the finish line. We usually see this in a 100m race, where the sprinters decelerate after crossing the 100m line. You can see them going 20 to 40metres extra to achieve this advantage. We don’t see sprinters stopping suddenly at the finish. This is to take advantage of momentum and doing one’s personal best.
If the race is in the morning, one should prevent oneself from consuming oily food in order to prevent yourself going to toilet frequently because of this. One may get diarrhoea. If the test is in the morning, it is advisable to drink a coffee/milo and consume two slice of bread with butter or jam spread in between. This should be taken an hour before the run, at least. If the test is in the evening, it is advisable to eat and drink 3 hours prior to the test itself. This is to prevent any digestive problem and ensure proper digestion.
Last but not least, drinking water about 400 to 500ml of water will help one improve the later part of the run. The ones who will benefit immensely from this are those who stay in temperate countries. Singapore is a hot and humid country. However, my suggestion to prevent stitch affecting your race, is to consume water an hour before the run.
Edited By Tan Mariviv!