We recently had the chance to meet Benny, 63-year-old Racefox runner from Skåne in the south of Sweden. Benny has been training with Racefox Run for three months and has already cut six minutes off his 10k time. We sat down with Benny recently to find out what his training looked like and how he had used Racefox to improve his race times.
Meet Benny: an athlete but not a runner
Benny is a goal-oriented person when it comes to sports and training. He has always been an avid hockey player, football player, golfer and golf coach, but not a runner. The runner part of Benny blossomed later, which he admitted has taken him a while to get used to.
He had casually considered running for a while, but it became a reality when his son, Marcus, a long-time runner, got him an entry to Göteborgsvarvet (the biggest half marathon in the world).
His first step towards the goal: November 2018
When Benny’s plans for Göteborgsvarvet were canceled due to a scheduling conflict for his son, he needed a new goal. He decided to run the Copenhagen half marathon.
For his first training run, Benny decided to run 10k. To help him out, Benny used Run Keeper, but no other guidance or coaching. His theory was if he started with a short distance, like 3k, it would feel harder to get up to a higher distance. “I’d never say, "I'll only run 5k" having started out with a short distance,” Benny said. He figured that if he started out high, he could go out on shorter, easier runs and feel less intimidated about going out for a training run.
Next in training: Copenhagen, September 2019
When it was time for Benny’s first race, the Copenhagen half marathon with 25,000 runners, he felt quite comfortable. There were so many other people running. He felt good for the first 18 km, before he approached the second half of the race, which is slightly uphill. He was battling a strong wind that day (12 m / s). When he had 1100 meters left, Benny felt zapped of energy and completely drained. He had to walk off and on. His last kilometer took 1.5 minutes longer/ km than the rest of the race because of it.
Afterwards, Benny remembered he had run straight through the hydration stations, not taking water or sports drinks. He realized this was not the smartest, as he was definitely not in the lead and could have afforded the time to take in fluids and energy. He learned that he needed to keep up his hydration and calories in order to have the energy he needed at the end of the race.
New goal: time to get training again
After Copenhagen, Benny quickly decided to participate in the same race again in September 2020 and began training again. He started to experience pain after putting in a substantial amount of training runs in, so he went to a specialty running store in Malmö to try out new shoes. There, he learned about Racefox. Benny has always had a keen interest in data and analytics, and was curious about the data behind his movements while running. He immediately knew Racefox would be a tool that would suit him. He signed up for a subscription to Racefox Run in November 2019.
Training with Racefox
Racefox gave Benny a new perspective on his training and the race ahead, as well as a new understanding of how his running was progressing and what he needed to do to improve.
From day one, Benny always used Racefox during his runs. “I would never run without it. It gives me a better understanding,” he explains.
Benny started with the Racefox Tryout and from that data, got a training program that he follows. Every four weeks, his programs are updated, based on his current running abilities.
Doing it for me
Benny has a goal to run the half marathon in Copenhagen again in September. He doesn't want to run anymore races than that; one race a year is enough. He likes Copenhagen, the event and the social presence at the race. It is his own goal. His own decision. He does it for himself, not for anyone else.
A lot of friends and family want to train with Benny, including his sister who has also registered for the Copenhagen half. But Benny prefers to run on his own, with his music and his Racefox coach. While training, he likes to concentrate on the voice of his Racefox coach, Alva, who tells him how far he has run, his frequency, and what he has to concentrate on during the race.
In addition to feeling healthy and energetic because of running, Benny loves sharing the sport with his son, Marcus. Although they don't run side-by-side in races, talking about the sport and training brings them closer together.
Having a Racefox coach take care of the training plan
The big advantage for Benny is having someone else create a personalized training plan for his races. “I can't possibly set up my own training program. My Racefox numbers speak for themselves. My training is very clear and concise, and I appreciate the guidance during the sessions,” explains Benny.
Since November 5, Benny has done 87 training sessions with Racefox. He has set days to do his training. He trains every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. He finds that setting a schedule makes it easier to follow the plan.
Recently, Benny ran a 12k training run. He said he did not feel up for it at all and had it not been one of his fixed training days, he probably wouldn’t have gone for the run. “It was part of my training plan, so I went. After the session, I felt incredibly good. In the past, I've always done everything to avoid running. Goalkeeper training for 1 ½ hour was a much better alternative than running 3k. Once I get into the training, I’m in a bad mood when I can't run. Running gives me incredible energy,” says Benny.
What is Benny’s recipe for success?
Benny has cut six minutes from his 10k since he started training with Racefox in November 2019. “A six-minute improvement is what I've seen, but I think it's more. I follow the program and avoid going over 133 in pulse. I feel I have more to give, so I probably could improve my finish time even more. There's more possibilities for improvement in the final part of the race,” Benny concludes.
Benny's best tips for success:
- Set a goal.
- Follow a training program with the Racefox coach.
- Exercise on designated days, regardless of weather.
- Do it for you!