I’m here to help if you’re wondering what “running the tangents” means!
What is it?
Running the tangents is a strategy to be certain you are running the course in the most efficient way. Some people call this “sighting”.
Essentially, clip corners and run less.
You’ll often hear people compalining about a race course being too long.
“My watch says 13.4 not 13.1!”
No, Sparky- you just took the longest route.
Sighting, or running the tangents, allows you to navigate the course efficiently.
Of course there are no lines painted on the road exactly where the course was measured, so if you keep your head down too long, you going slightly off course, which compounds to adding more distance to your run.
You need to practice this skill.
Many runners look up the course they’ll be racing on and even train for the terrain by entering the course into their treadmill or doing training runs on the actual course itself.
Some don’t work on running the tangents at all- friends, this is a mistake.
Here are some ways to practice. Please note you’ll need to do this outdoors and not on a treadmill.
You’ll want to look up throughout the race and be aware of what’s ahead.
On curving roads, don’t snake your way along like the yellow centerline. Instead, run a straight line from inside corner to inside corner using the entire running route (the closed lane of the road or the full road) to run the shortest distance possible.
Here’s where a little awareness of the course as you race it can be very beneficial to your final time! You can run a straight line if you know where to do so instead of taking a curve.
In cycling, when a rider makes a move to break away, he swings wide (often to the other side of the road) as he hits the accelerator.
You can use this strategy in a similar way in your next road race, especially on straight roads where moving to one side doesn’t take extra distance.
Again, knowing the course is going to help here!
Corners are a great place to gain an advantage, especially in a crowded race that bottlenecks with participants.
Most runners slow as they take turns. Capitalize on this by surging into, through and out of every corner.
Keep your cadence fast and your stride short and simply fly through the corners.
If you work on surging through corners in practice, it will become second nature in races.
Want more help with your training? Get on my waitlist for 2022 coaching by contacting me.
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