At a certain point, you may find yourself getting comfortable and ready to add new stimuli to your training in order to take your running to the next level. It’s fun to experiment and see what little tweaks you can do to your running in order to get the most out of yourself as an athlete. These suggestions are ways to add minimal adjustments to your training that won’t add strain to your already productive life.
My 5 suggestion to level up your training:
- Don’t treat training or racing as an indication of your self worth. I need to get this out there first. For many, it’s easy to dive in deeply and wrap our sense of self into running. If you find yourself doing this, step back, and remind yourself you’re a whole person without running. I promise you that while your friends and teammates love and support your goals, they don’t care how fast you ran that 5k. If you find yourself doing this, take a day off and go explore something else you’re good at. Okay, now that that’s I’ve got that taken care of…
- Add strides to the end of at least one easy run per week. Anyone else ditch the one thing that seems unimportant? Me! While strides might feel useless, they really are a crucial ingredient to leveling up your performance. Add 5-6 times 50-100 meter surges at the end of an easy run. It’s a simple way to teach your body to finish strong and run economically.
- Add a progression run to your training. During a progression run, you start comfortably and increase the pace as the run progresses, teaching your body to pick up the pace when you’re tired. There are many ways to execute a progression run, but my favorite day during a training block is on a Monday where you start at an easy pace and increase 5-10 seconds per mile every 5-10 minutes. The great thing about progression runs is there’s a bit of art to it and no pressure. It doesn’t need to be exact and you’re going more on effort as opposed to an exact time.
- Take your recovery runs seriously. Recovery runs are a critical component to fast running and they’re all too often neglected. These runs allow you to properly recovery–mentally and physically–so you can bring your A-game to your next workout or race. How do you execute a recovery run? The first day or two after a workout, race, or long run should be at a pace that feels very easy. Feels is the key word. For example a 6:45 marathoner should be recovering at at least 8:00-8:30 pace and some days, 9:30-10 pace might even feel good. Many elites who run 5 minute per mile marathons are known to jog at 10 min pace for recoveries. If you find yourself getting swept up into faster paces on recovery days, remind yourself the big picture and that running slower will allow you to run faster when it counts.
- Consistently do a tiny bit of the little things that matter. I’m all about the path of least resistance in order to have the result you want. So if your life is full and the thought of adding 20 minutes of core work and a cross training class and a brand new diet sounds bonkers, then don’t do that. Maybe do strength training for 5 minutes twice a week, eat some more greens, see your PT once a month, and make the effort to consciously breathe when you’re in the car. If you consistently do a dash of the little things and create the habit, then you’ll see improvements in your training.
Hope this was helpful! If there are other topics you’d like me to touch on, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always love to hear from you!