Ever had a cone in the way?

During a number of races I have ran over the years there are points on the course where you need to run around a cone in the middle of the road. This year already I have had 2 races which I've had to do this. I can hear you wondering why I am blogging about how to run around a cone. Surely you just run up to it, go around it and then keep on running? Yes, but have you ever wondered if there was a faster way to get around the cone so that you don't loose too much time in the process?

A friend who runs for Edinburgh AC told me what he does and during Portobello Prom race on the 1st January I had the chance to see exactly what he does and what difference it makes.

I have tried to illustrate the two difference with the arrows below, the arrow head is the direction that your body is facing.

Running around a cone

On the left is how I take a cone, I run up and usually need to go wide around the cone to try and keep my pace although this does add some distance on to the overall course, not much but every little counts. On the right is how my friend ran around the cone, he runs up to it at almost full pace and then when just past the cone, takes a side step to the right (if the cone is on your right) then pivots on his right foot towards the cone and when his left foot hits the ground again its in the direction you want to run. This keeps the distance low and you loose very little pace or time. When he did this in front of me at Portobello he actually got a good 2 or 3 seconds lead on me and held his pace. I however had to get the legs back up to speed and never caught him after that!

Since I was having a bad run anyway at Alloa I thought I would give the cone spin approach a go, what did I have to loose! Wow! What a difference, I actually made up 4 places at the cone because two people had gone wide on the left and another two were still wide on the right hand side when I spun. It was great and psychologically a real boost for me.

I will be trying this technique out again the next time I have a 'cone race'. Kinross 10k used to have 3 cones per lap with 3 laps. Doing this turn could have made quite a difference to time and possible position if running in packs.

Give it a go the next time you have a race with a cone and let me know how you get on!

Owain Williams

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