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Monday, March 28, 2011

Want to improve your running? Run Smart, Run Lots!

Ever wondered how people can seemingly run circles around you? Ever wondered how you go from a 20 minute 5km runner to a sub 18 minute 5km runner? Well my friends, the answer is pretty simple: Run Smart, Run Lots.

keep chasing
It's kind of tough for me to simplify it that much, but if we concern ourselves with all the finer details, we won't get much accomplished so today I'd like to focus on running smart and running lots.

Running Smart comes first, and is the cornerstone of my running health and foundation. Sadly, I didn't learn this until very recently and I wish I had learned it ages ago.  Ah well, it's never too late to learn!

So, running smart involves a few key components.
  1. Building a solid base before incorporating intensity into your workout. When I refer to intensity I mean workouts that include 'hard' efforts, typically short fast paced intervals with very little rest.  
  2. When you're ready, add one type of new workout to your weekly routine so as to not sideline yourself for days while you limp around like a broken semblance of a functioning human being. Work hard during your workouts, you deserve it. If you're going to commit the time, commit yourself mentally and push the envelope.
  3. Warm up and cool down properly. I've noticed lately that I need a solid 25 to 35 minute w/u or c/d effort to get everything flushed out. It's amazing how much better you feel the day after a hard effort if you put in the time to warm up and cool down properly.
  4. When you've incorporated your specific weekly workouts (tempo, track and long run) all your other kills (miles for you Americans) should be done at an easy pace. This is when your legs recover and adapt to running while tired.  If you manage to run easy on your non-workout days you'll find yourself better able to respond to speed when you need key workouts.
The Running Lots bit will come naturally if you follow my simple running smart tips above. Remember to

Warm up, keep things honest, cool down, run easy on 'off days' and enjoy your Sunday long run.  That is the key to a successful training program, be it for your next 5km, 10km or half marathon race!

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