All athletes and runners want to be faster. By improving running speed and aiming to become better runners, they not only turn into more capable athletes. They gain a confidence boost, burn more calories and become better at their craft.
Not having enough endurance, having good times when running, and struggling to keep up with training, are worries a lot of athletes go through. And all of these things are required to be a good runner.
How to become better, then? Don’t worry: This article shares techniques to use before, during, and after running to push your pace to the next level.
Technique 1: Proper Warm-Up
Believe it or not, the process that an athlete undertakes immediately before a race or training session is almost as important (if not more important) than the run itself.
Warm-ups and stretches help avoid injuries, enhance performance, and reduce post-muscle soreness. Adding activation drills and dynamic stretches as warm-ups greatly improves efficiency.
Technique 2: Interval Training
Interval training is a high-intensity and low-intensity workout with rests. Its benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, calorie burn, and endurance.
It also provides more workout variety, which can include:
- Short-interval training for building speed and power.
- Medium-interval training for endurance.
- Long-interval training for cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
Play around with workouts and see what your body responds to, both in general and day-to-day. Some exercises to experiment with include
- Thirty seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of rest.
- One minute of kettlebell swings followed by one minute of rest.
- Five minutes of running followed by two minutes of rest.
Technique 3: Strength Training
Strength is another essential of running. It improves the energy economy, reduces the risk of injury, and enhances overall fitness.
Exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts are great for strength and lead to improved running performance. Yet a healthy schedule to train is vital. Without it, injuries are more likely to happen, and results may not be as favorable. Aim for two to three times a week and start with low weights, slowly increasing intensity as strength is developed.
Technique 4: Plyometric Exercises
Also known as “jump training”, Plyometric Exercises exercise is a type of explosive training that focuses on speed, power, and agility to enhance athletic performance. It should be approached with caution, however, as it can cause injuries if not dealt with carefully.
Plyometric exercises are done by those who have developed a solid foundation, such as enough muscle strength and endurance. It’s why it is suggested to start with simple exercises, learn proper form, and get used to their intensity. Some workout samples include:
- Box Jumps
- Jump Squats
- Plyometric Push-Ups
- Skater Jumps
- Split Jumps
Technique 5: Hill Training
Last but not least, add hill training to a routine, which involves running up and down hills, which boosts speed, strength, and endurance. Consider incorporating:
- Hill Repeats
- Tempo Runs
- Hill Sprints
- Lon Hill Climbs
It’s crucial to warm up before engaging in hill training and use adequate footgear and toe separating running socks to prevent injuries. Always watch your footing to avoid incidents, and remember to stay hydrated. Hill training is highly susceptible to the whims of the weather, so be sure to know the forecast and avoid going out when conditions aren’t ideal.
Technique 6: Proper Running Form
Just like endurance and strength, proper running form is one of the foundations of running.
It’s essential for efficiency, injury prevention, performance, and comfort. It’s so important that it’s often considered the element of success for runners.
Tips to ensure proper running posture include:
- Keep your head up.
- Relax your shoulders and arms.
- Lean slightly forward
- Avoid arching your back.
While form for your limbs and larger body parts is important, don’t forget to focus on your feet as well. Consider using toe spacers to improve foot alignment, strengthen foot muscles, improve circulation, and reduce friction, rubbing, and blistering.
Technique 7: Recovery and Rest
Rest and recovery are possibly the most important thing to prevent injuries. It improves performance and allows the body to adapt to training.
Getting enough sleep, taking rest days, eating a balanced diet, and staying hydrated are things all runners should do. Adding low-impact activities like walks or cycling also helps.
Proper form and technique, warm-ups, and stretching are essential parts of running. Incorporating different training routines like interval training, strength training, plyometrics, and hill training, improves performance and reduces the risk of injury. Resting keeps the body in the form to become stronger and better.
It’s a necessary part of the journey of becoming a better and faster runner. With these tips, runners can achieve their newfound goals and maintain a healthy, balanced style between high effort and rest.