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!

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