5 Ways to improve your running performance.
1. Make sure you are running in your correct zones.
One thing all elite runners have done that is available now to every runner is a lactate test.
If you fill in this form here, I can see if I know anyone in your area that does these tests. Doing a lactate test allows you to know if you are in the correct training zones for you. There are 5 key training zones that you should hit in your training.
- Wor Work]]Recovery Pace- This is as it sounds. It should be easy to allow you to recover from workouts and a long run.
- Easy Aerobic- This is a steady run. We use this to build good aerobic fitness in the week.
- Marathon Pace- This obviously is crucial for those getting ready for half and full marathons. But even as predominantly a 5k and 10K runner this is important. It develops the lower end aerobic which is crucial for any performance over 5k.
- Threshold Pace- This is the last pace or heart rate that you can sustain aerobic performance. After this pace any increase in speed is using the anaerobic system and will not lead to improvements in distance running. Unfortunately, a lot of people go faster than this pace in training and despite working hard will not see the benefits in training.
- Race Pace Work
Most runners tend to run their easy runs too hard and their workouts too hard to hit an aerobic zone. Remember to improve your aerobic capacity (which accounts for 90% of the performances over 5k) then you have to train aerobically. A lot of people go too hard and move into the anaerobic zone. This will help you if getting ready for an 800m but is pretty useless getting ready for the longer events.
2. Go on heart rate and not pace.
- It is important that you use a heart rate monitor when training for the majority of your week. This is because sometimes we can be tired after work or run down so pace won’t reflect our internal state. Running at a desired race pace in training is not wise. You are not accounting for the adrenaline that will be there when racing, you will be tapered and rested also for the race. Focus on being in your heart rate zones based on your lactate test and it will ensure you are training much more appropriately.
- Click here to fill in our Free Running Quiz. This will give you specific information about how to train appropriately for your event. Here is the1 minute Quiz
3. Get Consistency in your training.
It takes time to build good fitness so we don’t want to break down with injury before we can really see good results.
All running injuries are overload injuries to the passive structures of the body (joints, ligaments or tendons). Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendon, Knee and hip injuries, Hamstring tendinopathy are very common but rarely do runners get muscle tears.
This is because running is great for burning calories and cardiovascular fitness but doesn’t really work the muscles. This can lead to the joints, ligaments and tendons having to absorb all the force when we run and so break down.
An analogy I use is that if you and a friend were at a bar and someone starts a fight on you, then naturally your friend can help diffuse the situation. If he is asleep at home and this happens then you are on your own!
It is the same with our body. If our muscles are asleep then they can’t help us when we run and so the passive structures like the joints, ligaments and tendons must take too much of the load and this can lead to injury.
Sports Pilates or Gym is great to help prevent injury because it wakes up these muscles so that they will naturally help take the pressure off the joints, ligaments and tendons when we run, thus helping us avoid injury. We recommend doing this once per week and this is included with our running training program. For a free trial of the running training click here and fill in our quiz to get started.
4. Improve your running economy- Run Strides
When we have consistency, and our training zones are locked in then the next element to improve is our running economy. This is how smooth we are when running.
The good news is that the Sport Pilates that helps us prevent injury will also help here. By improving core stability and leg strength we become more efficient, and it takes less energy to run at the same speed as before. Running 4 x 15 second strides at the end of two runs per week also is brilliant here.
If we use a car analogy good running economy is like having the tyres fully pumped and a very aerodynamic car. This allows us to go faster at an easier effort than before.
5. Plan your race performances.
Too often I see people go week to week doing a parkrun or just doing whatever race is next on the calendar. You need to have a schedule so that it allows time to 1. build fitness and 2. taper and peak for the chosen race. Running too many races too regularly doesn’t allow you to see big improvements.
You can still run the parkruns regularly, but I would recommend doing them as workouts and having different goals each week until you are ready to really hit it hard and run a personal best.
It breaks my heart when I see runners do the hard work and get out and train but not see results. A Lactate Test will cost about £100-150 but are so worth it. For a limited time when you sign up for our 4 month program we are offering to arrange a free lactate for you.
Remember it takes no more time or effort to do the right training as the wrong training. If not interested yet in the lactate test sign up for the free trial to see how to structure your week.
Take a Free Trial of our Running Training program to help you get the most out of the time and effort that you put into your training.
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