Running is a great way to stay in shape and have fun at the same time. But if you want to improve you must also work hard. It takes dedication and determination to become a better runner, but the payoff is worth the effort. There are a few ways to increase your endurance and speed. Here are some tips to help.
The Right Mindset:
While running is a very physical demanding activity, your mind is your most important tool. You must first want to improve in order to do so. Running is fun. Running is also painful. You must be willing to accept this fact if you want to be a good runner.
Find something that motivates you. There will be some days that you are dreading your run; remember that the first step is the hardest, but the feeling wont last long. Also remember that you will have many more days that you will not want to stop running.
Enjoy your run; don’t think about what is troubling in your life, breathe in the air and watch the world around you.
Speed training is a must if you are looking to run fast times. Track workouts sharpen your speed and strength. Short intervals, such as mile, half mile repeats or quarter mile repeats, will help your quickness. Longer intervals, such as two mile or 5k repeats will help your strength.
Long runs are another way to improve your strength. Long runs will train your body to work more efficiently. They will help your body learn to work when it is tired. They help your mind, as well, to deal with the stresses of a tiring body.
Tempos and Fartleks:
These runs simulate your race pace and distance. Tempos are hard efforts that are near race pace and just a little shorter than race distance. For example when training for a half-marathon, tempo runs of 10k to 10 miles are ideal. These will acclimate your body running your race pace for an extended period of time.
Fartlek translates to “speed play” in Swedish. These runs differ from tempos in that there are periods of fast running followed by periods of slower running. An easy workout would be to run in five-minute intervals (start by running four hard minutes then alternate with one easy, next interval run three hard minutes and two easy and so on.)
Any accomplished runner will tell you that training well means training smart. Recovery is essential for the body. Recovery prevents injury and burnout. The majority of your miles should be easy recovery miles. Pace of these runs is not important; these runs are meant to be slow. Recovery runs are also a good time to focus on form. Running slowly with good form will help you to run fast with good form. Working on your form will make you more efficient when you run fast.
Mix It Up:
Training to run fast is more complicated than people think. The body is complex and there are many systems that must work in perfect harmony in order to run fast and run far. Varying speed and distance is crucial and prevents you from feeling sluggish.
When formulating a training program it is important to remember these ideas. Remember to supplement your hard efforts with recovery runs. Also don’t forget your long runs. Finding a balance in your training program is greatly improve your speed and endurance.