14 expert tips for improving your running game – British GQ

14 expert tips for improving your running game  British GQ

Running at the elite level – hi there Mo Farah and Jake Wightman – doesn’t just mean pounding pavements or looping around a track at speed. It means getting adventurous. Taking your training to another level, and locale. Maybe it’s heading to the trails in the local park. Maybe it’s heading up into the fells, or up a mountain. Maybe it’s running on the beach. Perhaps treadmills are your thing (if so, for the love of god, why?). Maybe it’s signing up for a triathlon. Or maybe it’s signing up for a Swimrun.

Going for a run means different things to different people. No two runs are the same. As GQ found out when we took part in this year’s Otillo Swimrun ‘sprint’ – a 12km jaunt through the islands and waterways of the Swedish archipelago. Sure you can run. Maybe you can swim, but this is something else entirely. A new way to test yourself. Never has so much punishment been doled out in such beautiful environs.

Paul Mescal

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But, testing yourself is where you unlock your true potential. With that in mind, we decided to speak to some of the best runners in the world – Otillo competitors and others – about how you can take your running to the next level, whatever your challenge of choice.

It comes down to mental strength

“The longer the event, the more likely that form will be thrown out the window. It comes down to mental strength. We run in all conditions; through the night and on our feet for over 20 hours covering 100 miles. No matter how much physical training you’ve done, at the end of it it comes down to sheer mental resilience and determination.” – Tom Evans, former British army captain, ultra-running champion, and SunGod ambassador.

Steady progress

“It’s important that you increase the mileage gradually. A little bit every week, every month, every year, progressively! That is where people make mistakes. They go from 12km per week to ‘I will do a marathon in 6 months’. Yes, they will do it. But they will get injured.” – Nicolas Remires, Ironman and Otillo Swimrun athlete.

Go easy

“Make sure that your easy runs are EASY. Runners get caught in a grey area and try to push the pace too fast on the days it should be easy. You should be able to maintain a conversation with someone on these runs. If you can’t, slow down!” – Sam Tyrer, a nurse who began running long-distance in 2020 and has since podiumed in the Lakeland Trails Ultra, the Ring of Fire and then the Lady Anne’s Way 100-mile event. He is also the founder of Change Talks.

A fraction of the distance

“Break up the distance into smaller pieces. I think ‘Ok now I’ve done 1/10 of the total distance, now I’ve done 1/5 and now 1/2’ etc. As soon as I pass the halfway point, I think it goes so fast. Suddenly it’s only 1/4 left and then only 1/10.” – Desirée Andersson, represented Sweden in a European swimming cup race before claiming 1st place in the Otillo SwimRun women’s championships in 2019 and the mixed race in 2021.

Forget targets

“When you become obsessed with targets, you can lose sight of why you’re doing it in the first place. People put a lot of stress on themselves, and this can have a negative impact on performance. For me, it’s about enjoying and embracing the process. Happy runners are usually good runners.” – Lewis Moses, former Team GB athlete and running advisor to INCUS Performance and co-founder of Runner Retreats.