Thinking about training techniques to improve your running? Want to run faster, longer, or both and without killing yourself in the process?
You've got the running shoes, apparel, gear and possibly know some things to avoid or do to keep from getting injured. Additionally, you are consistently getting out and running a few times a week and the health benefits are evident. But now you've caught the running bug and you want to take your running to the next level. What do you do?
You need to add some basic training techniques to improve your performance!
On this page, we are going to look at:
Warm up/Cool Down
Warming up and cooling down are two of the oldest and most routine running training techniques.
Warming up should consist of light jogging, massaging, and gentle stretching. The optimum time to stretch is during the cooldown period after your run when the muscles are warm and loose. The goal for warming up is to loosen up your legs as well as the rest of your body. Once the warmup is completed, you will feel an increase in energy and your body will be ready to perform at maximum efficiency.
Cooling down takes place after your run and should consist of light jogging/walking in order to decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles. Static stretching exercises should also be included in order to decrease body temperature, remove waste products from the working muscles and to increase range of movement.
The key to the cool down is to just do it. Many runners skip this step and pay for it later with muscle soreness and tightness. Cooling down helps the body to recover and regenerate for the next run.
Want to increase your endurance but just can't seem to cover the distance while running continously?
Take some walk breaks during your training runs.
Runners and non-runners alike often believe that if you stop to walk during training or a race that you are not a real runner.
Nothing is farther from the truth!
By alternating walking and running during your training, there is virtually no limit to the distance you can cover. The benefits of short walk breaks when taken early and regularly include:
The benefits of incorporating the hard/easy principle include:
Remember, plan an easy day the day before a hard workout as well as one or possibly two easy days after. Your body will love you for it!
Build A Base
Looking to add endurance and run longer?
Base building is the answer for you!
Without a doubt, distance running is the best way to build endurance and to improve as a runner. But as key as building mileage may be to your performance, it's also a primary cause of injury if done improperly.
Some general guidelines while base building are:
Don't forget, build mileage slowly and very gradually with plenty of rest mixed in between.
Want to let loose and just run fast sometimes? Striders are a great way to introduce some fast running into your training program.
Striders are 20 seconds or so of relaxed running at close to top speed. You should do striders on a smooth, flat surface at the end or near the end of your normal run. A great day to do striders would be the day before a hard workout since they don't really qualify as tough training.
The benefits of striders include:
Now get out there and......Hit your stride!
Passed the beginner runner stage?
Want to improve your speed and performance?
I've got just the running workouts for you!
If you are like the majority of recreational runners, you probably do the same workout day after day. You need to add some variety to your tired old workout routine before boredom and/or burnout kills you.
Alternating workout routines teaches your body varied lessons. The long run teaches endurance, speed work trains fast-twitch muscles how to accelerate, and hills teach strength. Training workouts that hit upon speed, strength,endurance, and pace will help you improve your running form, condition your body to handle the discomfort of faster speed, give you a sense of correct pacing, and build your end-of-race kick.
A well rounded training program for intermediate to advanced runners will include some, if not all, of the following workouts:
Running Pace Chart - Make use of a running pace chart to assist you in meeting your training goals.
What constitutes a long run? A long run varies based upon your goals and what level of running you have obtained. If you are a marathoner, 20 miles may be your long run but if you are getting ready for a 5K, 5 to 6 miles may be your max. A couple of good rules of thumb regarding long running are:
The major benefits of doing long runs are:
Two final long running/endurance tips:
Speed work consists of several runs of a mile or less at race pace or faster with slow recovery jogging between hard runs. Specific speed work training runs include intervals, fartleks, and tempo runs.
Speed work is an important component of any advanced training program. The benefits include:
Some final points regarding speed work:
Now that we've looked at speed work basics, lets take a look a some specific speed workouts.
Interval workouts are made up of a set of short, faster paced runs over fixed distances from 220 yards to one mile, interceded with periods of light recovery jogging. Although there are many variations of intervals, the three basic types are:
Looking to improve your speed in a certain distance? The table below should help you pick the interval you need to run.
|5K||220s Or 440s|
|10K and Under||880s|
|10K to Marathon||One Mile|
Regardless of the type of interval training workout you do, the long term goal is to improve speed on distances ranging from one mile up to a marathon.
Some final interval training tips:
Sounds like an intestinal disorder, doesn't it?
Actually, fartlek is Swedish for speed play. Fartleks are an unstructured, fun way to introduce speed training into your workout and consists of bursts of speed in the midst of a training run. There are a variety of ways in which to do fartleks and they can be run almost anywhere.
The advantages of fartlek training include:
To complete a fartlek workout you need to:
Some final fartlek training tips:
Tempo runs are the easiest of all the speed workouts to implement. No distances to keep up with and no split times to remember. Just run faster than your usual training pace and maintain a single sustained effort.
Tempo training is useful because it:
Steps to complete a tempo run are:
Hill repeats are basically what you believe they would be, fast-paced efforts to run up hills. They are considered strength training and are typically implemented following the completion of a base/mileage-building stage.
The benefits of hill repeats include:
Hill repeats are completed by:
Interested in a specific race distance (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon) training plan?
Check out the training plans detailed below. I know there's a 'distance' and 'experience' level that's RIGHT for YOU!
You are still a runner even if you decide to do the same distance at the same pace day after day. However, if you want to improve both your speed and endurance, doing at least some of the specialized training listed above will help you reach your goals. Stick with it and be the best you can be!
Additional Running Training Articles/Resources:
Running Pace Chart
Running Pace Calculator
Interval Training Workouts
Heart Rate Monitor Training
Lactate Threshold Training
Running Strong as You Age
Master's Running, The Right Way
Running, Beach Style
Train Properly with a Heart Rate Monitor
Hill Running Tips
Winter Running - Go on, Get Out There!
Have You Tried The Couch To 5K Program?