When you first started running you never thought that you would care about how fast or far you went, you just did it because you wanted to lose weight and get in better shape, or keep up with your friends.
Then you grew to love running and what it did for your body and soul…
After running for a few months, you noticed that your usual pace or distance wasn’t giving you the satisfaction it once did. And now you started to aspire to running a bit further, a bit faster.
The running bug catches up with you!
Maybe you just completed your first race and now have racing fever. Maybe you have a friend encouraging you to go just a little further than you are accustomed to. Maybe you want a bigger challenge and find the half marathon or marathon calling your name. Maybe you just want to see what your body can do.
Whatever drives you, running a little further or a little faster is within your reach, you just have to go for it! So, what exactly do you need to do in order to go that extra mile or shave time off your last PB?
Here are six tips to get you on your way to bigger running goals
1. Walk – So many runners resist the urge to take walk breaks when running thinking that it makes us less of a runner. In truth, walk breaks allow us to go further without pushing our bodies to hard and risking injury.
As we train to run longer distances our bodies must adapt to greater levels of physical stress. Walking allows our bodies to adapt to spending more time on our feet without the pounding that running places on our bodies and reduces our likelihood of injury.
At the end of the day, increasing our running distance comes down to the amount of time spent on our feet and this can be accomplished through walking and running.
2. Follow the 10% rule – Trying to increase your mileage too quickly in an effort to run longer distances often leads to injury and overtraining. As you start to increase your weekly mileage, make sure to do so slowly in order to allow your body to adapt to the increased stress.
One of the easiest ways to safely increase your mileage is by upping your total weekly distance by no more than 10% from week to week. This means that if you are currently running 20 miles a week, you could raise your next week’s mileage by 2 miles, for a total of 22 miles.
3. Cross train – Do something besides running! Using your muscles in a completely different way reduces muscle imbalances that can develop from only running, and this in turn can lead to improvements in speed and tolerance to longer distances.
Try cycling, swimming, or tennis and see if you don’t enjoy the benefits of using muscles that you don’t use when running.
4. Get strong – Strength training is an important but often overlooked component of running. Our bodies take a great deal of pounding with each mile we run and if we don’t maintain our strength our bodies will break down. This can lead to a decline in performance, increased levels of physical fatigue, and ultimately injury.
Make a point to include full body weight lifting sessions in your training plan at least two days a week and watch as your body responds by running faster and longer.
5. Stretch – Who has the time to stretch after a run when you were barely able to squeeze the workout in on your lunch break? Most of us are time crunched with all of our daily commitments but making a point to stretch after a run is important as tight muscles do not function at their best.
If you want to get faster and run further, aim to stretch all major muscles groups after each run and incorporate a weekly yoga session into your training.
6. Perform drills – Running form is important for many reasons, one of which is efficiency. The more efficient you are the less energy you waste, which leads to faster paces and better tolerance to longer distances.
Form drills help improve your running form and should be included in your training program. You can incorporate them into your warm-up or use them as a stand-alone workout.
Try any or all of the above tips and see if you don’t find yourself running faster and/or further on your next run!
I’m always listening so if you need help, have questions or are looking for a personal trainer, running coach, or nutrition coach you can find me on my Expert Profile page.
Happy, healthy living my friends!
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Pauline Juhle