Thursday, August 7, 2008

How To Make Our Friend Faster

Tether up and bring two different pace levels together:

Do you have a friend, team mate or spouse that runs a different pace than you? This will often prevent you from training together, or when you do, either one’s not getting a good workout or the other is dying trying to keep up.

Give tethering a try. "Tethering" is when you connect one runner to the other with either a thin rope, bungi cord or a bike tube. This is a safe way to "pull" another runner without using your own arms, which you need for running. Also, the slower runner doesn’t need to hold on to anything, which frees up his or her own arms for running as well. You can actually use an old road or Mt. bike tube. What I do is cut the stem section off the tube. I then take a yard stick, run it down the length of the tube, slicing off the extra tubing on each side of the stick. This way you have a 1" wide length of rubber that’s strong, but not too bulky. I then tie a small loop on each end and attach a very small carabiner or other metal hook. Then I connect each end to a loop of rope on fanny packs. Length of the tether is personal preference, just keep in mind the person behind needs to see what’s ahead on the trail.

I recommend a bungi or rubber cord because it prevents the faster runner from jerking the slower runner. As the speed increases or you go over a branch, there’s just a gradual pull on both of you. Yes it may look a little strange to other people on the trail, but it allows both of you to run together and both get a great workout. It’s also a great way for the front runner to get a resistance workout without the extra weight on the knees. It benefits the back runner because it makes them want to run faster so they’re not constantly being pulled which in the long run, will make them a faster runner. In our area, we get all of our equipment from the Army & Navy Store, but you can find flexible bungi cord at most outfitters that carry climbing equipment. You then tie a small loop into each end of the cord and clip on two small carabiner clips. The length of the cord is all personal preference.

In an adventure race, you will see many teams, including the top teams, use this method to increase the team’s overall pace. Plus, if one team member isn’t feeling up to par, it can help them along and get you to the finish.

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