Remember the joy of running when you were a kid? The sense of freedom and carefree abandon. The feeling of ‘I can go forever’… So what happened?
Well for most of us, work, life commitments and so many other priorities take over. Our time is limited and we just don’t have the chance to run as much. But what happens if you want to run longer and get faster?’
Let’s start with a few tips for running longerRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1. ‘Starting small and build up’
… The best bit of advice for any athlete. It’s tempting for a new runner to just jump into a pair of running shoes and hit the road for a hour, but this may not feel so good over the following few days. Running long distances is all about consistency, a safest and quick way to get do this is build up slowly. You will get there.
For those regular runners looking to gain distance on their long run, try adding 10% to 15% to your distance every other week. You’ll see how much more you can run in just 4 weeks.
2. Mental strength
I know a few athletes who enjoy their long runs, they use that time as a meditation, a way of allowing their mind to wonder or float away into a happy place. You will amaze yourself with the length of your runs when you start focusing on something other than how much further you have to go. Another way to make long runs more entertaining is to bring a friend with you. A good chat will make time and distance fly by.
3. Keep it fresh
One of the many great things about running is the opportunity to explore. Try changing your route from week to week, explore parts of your area, you’ll be surprised at what you can find. Another option is to jump on a train and head to the countryside. The scenery always helps take you’re mind off the run and there’s often the chance for a pub lunch at the end;)
4. A little heart goes a long way
For those with access to a heart rate watch try a ‘heart rate tempo run’. Pick a long route, one that you know fairly well. Next set off on your run with the aim of keeping you heart rate around 60% to 65% of your max heart rate. How did that feel? If it was comfortable, increase your distance for the next run. If you struggled to maintain that heart rate, repeat that run until you feel comfortable doing it.
And some tips for running speed
5. Run like lighting
Marking out a 100 m stretch of ground. Start at one end and sprint as fast as you can to the opposite side . Once you get to the end, turn around and walk back. The walk back is your rest break. When you reach the start line head off on your next 100m sprint. Try 5 sprints to start with and build up to 10. If you can only use a treadmill, then you will set for a fast speed for the sprint 100m and drop it to a walking speed for the recovery 100m. (but be careful, a treadmill can be dangerous if misused)
6. Run faster together
Training to run faster can be hard as it is often really tough. It’s great to have others around to help motivate you and help you get through the session, that’s why running clubs are great. There are people of all levels and abilities and the clubs are welcoming to new runners. If you look around, you can find some great groups like the Nike RunClubs which cost nothing, based all around London and are very friendly.
7. Guidance is golden
As a running coach I often see clients and athletes after they have suffered with running aches and pains for a while, so it takes some time for them to get back to pain free running. A coach will be able to help with building a programme, designed to help you go faster for longer and help with any questions you may have. Rather ask early and make sure your training is working.
Running is a great sport and can change your life. Train smart and you will be flying around the streets in no time.
Love your run!