Whether you’re a seasoned runner or only started running recently, chances are you probably want to run further or faster at some point.
In this blog, I want to go through some simple ways you can take your running to the next level and achieve those goals.
1. It’s okay to walk
I find that many people think that you’re not allowed to walk if you want to call yourself a ‘runner’. But walking is actually an integral part of running training. By including sections of walking in your running training, you can catch your breath, let your heart rate settle back down and save your legs for a bit. Ultimately, this helps you train more often and clock up more kms overall.
If you’re looking for inspo as a beginning runner, you can find ‘Couch to 5k’ programs online, which all include walking as part of the program.
And if you’re a more advanced runner, you can progress to even further distances by incorporating walking in your routine.
2. Do one thing at a time
A lot of us like to get out there and just run as hard as we can. But if you want to run further and faster, you should consider making your training more specialised and intentional – focusing on distance and speed separately.
Some people call it ‘polarised training’, splitting up your running to look something like this:
The bulk of your kms should be at a comfortable, conversational pace to build up your ability to run longer distances and overall aerobic capacity.
Have dedicated, more intense sessions focusing on speed and strength. This could include things like interval training or hill repeats.
If you’re still new to running, you might not want to worry about polarising your training too early, the most important thing is enjoyment.
But if you’ve been running for some time already, you can find training programs on the internet to give you more ideas on how polarised training can help you. Try searching for things like ‘5k to 10k training plan’, ‘10k to half marathon training plan’ and so forth or ‘how to run a faster 5k’.
3. Know where you’re going… or not
Planning where you’re going ahead of time can help you run with purpose. On those days when you don’t feel like running but know you’ll feel better afterwards, having a go-to loop that’s short and sweet and near your house can really help you turn that doorknob. I would suggest having a few routes that you can rely on depending on how you feel.
But running is also a great way to learn about your surroundings or check out a new neighbourhood. Sometimes it can really pay off to run down a street you usually overlook or turn right instead of left. And if you’re afraid of getting lost, you can still get curious in your research – hop on the Maps app on your phone or find a free running map and plot out a running adventure!
4. Do something else
Running is a high-impact activity, so it’s important to give your joints a break by mixing it up with activities like walking, cycling and swimming. On top of this, activities such as weight exercises, yoga and pilates can make your body stronger and more flexible and, in turn, help you run further, faster and injury-free. You can also talk to a personal trainer or physiotherapist for personalised advice.
And remember: if your body is crying out for a break, listen to it – make yourself a tea and spend some quality time reading on the couch! Like I said at the top of this blog, the key to running further and faster is consistency. It’s absolutely okay to miss a session here and there if it helps you stay consistent in the long run.
5. Enjoy it!
There is no silver bullet to running. One session alone won’t magically make you faster and fitter – the key is staying consistent over weeks and months. So, tip number five is to make sure you enjoy yourself. Hopefully, these tips give you some ideas on how to keep that smile (or happy grimace) on your face.