Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Run Faster

At some point, we all hit a plateau in our running. It can be frustrating to feel like your running everyday and not getting any faster for all your efforts. If you have hit a plateau such as this in your running and can't quite make that next PR, then you may want to try the following 6 things:

Run Track Intervals
If you have a track in your area, you most likely can use it. Colleges, high schools, and middle schools should have tracks you can use. Personally, I like running quarters (once around the track). Take your average mile pace from your last 5k, and divide that by 4. This will tell you how fast you should be doing your quarters. For example, if your mile pace is 8:00, then try to run your quarters in 2:00 each. To begin, run a quarter, walk a quarter run a quarter, walk a quarter, etc....do 6 to 8 of these to start and then add some as you progress. As they get easier, try them on a time set. For example, I'll give myself 3 minutes. I try to run them in 1:45 and the remaining 1:15 is my rest. If I get tired, and slow down, that means less recovery time. It really pushes you.

Do Fartleks While on a Run.
While running your regular route, try taking some time to add some "bursts" of speed. Tell yourself, that for 1 minute, you will run at race pace, then settle back into your run. Repeat this as much as you want/can. Often, I'll do it by telephone polls. I run at my regular training run for 5 polls, and then speed up for the next 2 or 3.

Add Weight Training
I actually avoided this for a long time. I just don't like the gym. However, with a couple of dumb bells and push up handles, you can do a great strength training routine right at home. Push ups, triceps dips, squats all will help strengthen you and make you faster.

Work Your Core.
Working your upper abs, lower abs, and obliques will strengthen your mid section which is the power source of your running. Work your core, and you'll run faster!

Do a Long Run.
If you're running the same distance all the time, you need to add a long run. Long runs allow you to increase your VO2 Max, (a whole other article on how much oxygen your body can take in....) and therefore run faster. Plus, it's nice to be in a 5k race, knowing you can run 2 or 3 times the distance.

Eat Only Fresh Fruits and Vegetables until Noon.
I got this from Tony Robbins in his book Unlimited Power. I thought it was a bunch of hooey (sorry Tony), but after giving it the old college try, I have to admit, it's made a big difference in my running times. You can drink fresh juice too. I own a juicer, and I really enjoy the Apple & Carrot juice. Mostly, I just eat raw fruits and vegetables as cleaning the juicer is not all that fun. I pretty much stick with water rich fruits...in other words, mainly melons, grapes and apples...I don't eat a lot of bananas, just one a day.

And that's it. Do these 6 things, and I can promise you will run a faster race!

Happy Trails!

Getting Back in Shape

I used to run all the time.  5 miles a day, 7 miles on Saturday & 13 miles on Sunday was my self imposed training program over the summer when I was in high school.  Then, in 1985, I moved to Miami Beach, FL from Duluth, MN, and just couldn't get acclimated to the heat.  Rather than stick with it, I got frustrated and stopped running.  I kept in shape with racquetball, weight training, and an occasional run on the beach, but nothing serious.

In 1989 I moved to Austin, TX. Once a year went by, and I was considered a TX resident, I began college.  I worked full time while studying Kinesiolgy.  I swam a lot, and did some weight training for a couple of semesters and decided I'd start running again.  In 1992, I participated in an Intramural track meet and ran a 4:42 for the 1500m!  I was back! This same year, I moved to back to Miami Beach and ran Cross Country for Florida International University.  I didn't run more than the one year, as I was working and it was too hard to make practice and have a job.  Instead, I trained myself and ran countless road races ranging from the mile to 10Ks.

In 1996 my wife an I moved to Asheville, NC where I continued to run anything from a 5K to a 10 miler.  I was loving the trails all around Asheville.  In 1997 we bought a house (which took up a lot of time), and in 1998 we had our first child...(also a lot of time).  Unfortunately, between fixing up the house and having babies, 1998, 2000 and 2002, I really let my running go.  I was just so busy, and so tired and felt like I had no time.  In hindsight, I had plenty of opportunities to run, I just didn't take them.  I did actually wake up one morning in 2000 and decided to run a Asheville Citizen-Times Half-Marathon that day.  I actually ran the whole way without stopping despite not running for about 3 years.  I should have got back into then...but I didn't.

This year, 2010, my oldest daughter joined Cross Country in Middle School.  Seeing her run and giving her and her friends advice, has really motivated me to run again, and to do what I should have been doing all along...Coach!

This blog is about my effort, to not only get back into shape, but also my effort to help others reclaim - or claim - a new level of fitness for themselves.

I'm coming up on Week 3 of my 6 Week Training Plan.  I will  have before and after pics along with stats of my progress.

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