We are always asked for ideas on how to improve running performance. While there are no short cuts to success and every athlete is different, here are some tips that will help any runner looking to get the most out of their training.
1. Long Runs
The most important training day of every week is the long run. 70 minutes is the minimum and for older athletes or those training for a marathon, the distance can reach 38km (approx. 2 hours 30 minutes) or more. If you find a weekly long run a bit much, then get one ‘longer’ one done on a fortnightly basis and the weeks in between can be a little shorter. For example, alternate between 90 minute and 2.5 hour runs.
While a balanced diet is the best way to stay healthy, supplements are ideal for improving recovery and ensuring you have all the necessary vitamins, minerals and carbs to keep your body together. Getting the healthy stuff in from a variety of sources is always a good idea. Try Chief Collagen Bars and Pillar Performance products.
There comes a time when every athlete needs a break! Resting can simply be a day off when you’re feeling tired, or an easy week where the intensity and mileage is low. The thing is, the easy days allow you to absorb the hard weeks. You need to get as much sleep as possible, because the only time you’re really getting tissue repair, is when you’re sleeping. You should also have an easy week every month or so, and listen to your body. If you’re sore, back off the intensity. If the discomfort remains, take time off and get it assessed by a professional.
4. Be Patient
It takes time to improve. The older you get and more running you’ve done, the tougher it gets to run PB’s. The long term improvements tend to be greater than the short term ones. Knuckle down for a few months and then reap the rewards.
5. Create a Support Network
Having a strong and positive group of friends and family around you helps more than you can imagine. It’s about surrounding yourself with those that understand your goals and can positively influence your journey. It’s often a good idea to have a running group that you join on occasion, and seek out the opinions of fellow runners as to who the best massage therapists and physics are.
6. Long Term Planning
Plan your year of racing and use it as a template to your training schedule. You will need periods of high volume and minimal racing, followed by periods where the intensity goes up and volume decreases ahead of competition. Then factor in some recovery time from major races. This is an area of training where a coach can be highly beneficial. A good coach will know how to structure your training and will be able to say when you should and shouldn’t;t be competing.
This is something that sounds obvious, but seems to get ignored by many runners. Rehydration should include consuming an electrolyte/magnesium replacement drink immediately after training. Then sip on a bottle of water throughout the day. Don’t just drink to thirst, as often that means we’re under hydrated. The measure for adequate water intake sounds a bit gross, but essentially your urine should be relatively clear. To help with getting enough fluids in, have a variety of flavoured beverages to compliment the water.
When you’re fit, race. Don’t waste all your hard work and just train your weeks away. Loads of people only have one or two racing goals a year. We like the idea of racing yourself into shape. Don’t be afraid to do distances either shorter or longer than your optimum – it’s great for conditioning.
9. Massage and Stretch
As part of your training regime you need to factor into the routine regular massages and stretching. Getting a rubdown on a fortnightly basis is ideal, plus do a couple of half-hour stretch sessions each week. Stretching is good for the mind and the body, and a hard massage is often the only way to get those deep knots untangled.
10. Rotate your Shoes
Frequently changing your shoes is a good way to mitigate against injury. We recommend having two or even three pairs of shoes on the go at any one time, each at a different stage of wear. New shoes should be gradually worn in on shorter runs. Depending on your technique, weekly mileage and the make of shoe, you may need to change them every 6 to 10 weeks.