Fresh from winning seven medals at the 2016 Americas Masters Games in Canada last week, Derek Larner presented at Intertrust’s second runner education clinic on Sept. 6 at the Westin resort.

Larner, a distance running coach, is hosting the “Inspiring Performance” sessions to help runners prepare for the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon in December.

Here are his key takeaways, according to a press release:

Use what you know works for you and apply common sense. If you download a training plan from the Internet, do not forget to read the explanatory chapters to understand how to make it work for you.

Fitness vs. economy and efficiency. Increase your VO2 max, or oxygen uptake by introducing speed work into your training. The runner who performs with less oxygen is more economical and can run further, faster.

Work hard vs. training smart. Good running technique is a skill which can be learned. Age is irrelevant. Efficiency (good technique) equals better economy. Better economy equals reserve energy. Reserve energy equals run farther distances at a faster pace. To get faster we have to quicken our steps, lengthen our stride, or a bit of both. Do not force it; it will come naturally when technique improves.

Feet first. Most people are heel strikers because the designs of shoes have forced people to run this way. Elite runners are forefoot or mid-foot strikers, which is how we would run naturally, barefoot. To make adjustments, record your gait from side view to work out what kind of runner you are.

The hips are where the magic happens. The power comes from the hips, the body’s center of gravity. Speed comes from driving the knee through creating a natural long stride with less energy. Tilt the pelvic bone forward and raise the hips, this raises your heels so your center of mass moves forward. YouTube has great exercises by athletes/coaches demonstrating correct technique.

Head and shoulders. Tension wastes energy. Learn to relax with upright posture. Watch your center line; your hands should not cross, pull your elbows back (arms at 90 degree angles) and open your chest to increase lung capacity. Head neutral, look straight ahead 15-20 meters in front of you. (P.S. Elbows equal accelerators, pump them hard for a speed burst.)

Concentrate when you train. It’s not about looking good, it’s about running faster. Work on technique every time you run, alternate between skills and evaluate progress with a camera. Run economically, not with long, slow legs, but with shorter and quicker strides, reach forward with your knees, not your feet.

Training. Set a realistic goal and develop your program to achieve that. Every time you train aim to improve one of the following: Speed – running faster than race pace, e.g., fartlek (varying terrain and pace), repeats, intervals; Strength – all-round fitness for relaxation, timing and power, e.g., circuits and gym work; Suppleness – stretch after each training session to aid recovery; Skill – improving running technique, think feet, hips and posture; Psychology – toughen up; do not leave it until race day to try something difficult.

Creating a schedule. Start with a blank sheet, map out a week template and duplicate for each week for increasing distance and pace. Include types of training you respond well to. The plan should include a mixture of run types – long and easy paced, steady, threshold, progression, mixed pace, plus physical activities described in No. 8 above.

Work back from your goal date. Check out the various races in Cayman between now and Dec. 4 and enter to test your race pace. Ideal preparation for the Intertrust Cayman Islands marathon is the Halloween 30K solo run and Halloween 10-10-10 relay. Register online at

Upcoming sessions

“Stretching for success” and “Fueling your run” on Oct. 12

“Having your best race” in November (date to be determined)

Guest speaker, elite runner and author Jeff Galloway on marathon weekend, Dec. 2.

To register for the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, or to find out more information about ‘Inspiring Performance’ sessions, visit