Many people think that the secret to becoming a more powerful and efficient distance runner is to train harder and for longer sessions. But such views may be misguided, because even though it works for the short term and may help you to reduce up to several minutes off your personal best timings, such a tactic may eventually lead to fatigue, overtraining and injuries, in the long term.
So then, how do you become a more efficient and powerful runner? Here are some useful tips.
Slow down when you do your long runs
There is no need to feel that you are racing against the clock during your long training runs. Your main objective is to clock up distance – not to complete the run in record timing. So don’t be scared to do these long runs at a slower pace and at a lower intensity than usual.
By running at a slower pace, a different part of your body is being exercised. Fast running will give the heart and lungs a good workout. But when you run slower, you will be putting more pressure on your muscles than the heart and lungs. Eventually though, it will benefit the muscles and make them stronger.
Do hill workouts
Using hills as part of your training regime is great to improve yourself as a runner. This is because hill workouts will add more resistance and intensity to your training, and when you run on flat ground during the races, you will therefore find it a lot easier.
Doing hill workouts on a gym treadmill is also good. Simply crank up the incline of the treadmill to as high as you can manage. Over time and with more practice at this, you will find that you are able to crank up the incline high enough to do proper “hill” workouts.
Give yourself enough recovery time
Many runners make the mistake of not giving themselves enough time to recover after a long run or a hard training session. Do not make this error if you want to become a stronger runner.
After a hard session, give yourself a day or two of rest before you go out again for your next training session. This is because your heart and muscles need to rebuild after a hard session. Over time, you will find that your muscles get stronger and so you will then become much better at running.
If you insist on going out to exercise the day after a hard workout or a race, make sure that it is an easy session. For example, you could do an easy run or a relaxing swim in the pool. But do not try anything too strenuous or you may only end up getting injured.
By not having enough breaks between your long running sessions, you will not be able to improve – and you may find yourself getting weaker and not stronger, due to a lack of recovery time in between sessions.
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