You have been running regularly for some time. Suddenly, you realise that you’ve got the bug. Getting out the door for enjoyment and the health benefits is no longer enough. You want to know how to run faster.
Great! Run161 exists to help you become a more accomplished runner. Here, you will find everything you need to know to become a stronger, faster, and more accomplished runner.
The Fundamentals of Running Training
Your most important tool in your quest to run faster is to train better. And to do that, you need to understand the fundamental tenets of running training.
It’s easy to let yourself get carried away once you decide to be more serious about your running. To go too hard in training, too often. You avoid these mistakes by understanding training intensity designations, and how to utilise this knowledge to manage your total training load.
>> Read our introduction to training intensity
Improving as a runner requires a varied, and sustainable approach. It is essential to cover a range of training intensities if you want to progress. Likewise, you need to make sure that each run has a specific purpose. And then execute the run in accordance with its purpose.
Familiarize yourself with the various intensity designations by diving into the following articles:
>> Recovery Run: The Forgotten Running Intensity
>> Aerobic Running Improves Your Engine
>> Moderate Running Builds Endurance and Strength
Understanding the different intensity zones, their purpose and training effect, is the easy part. Executing each run according to its designated purpose is the real challenge. Thankfully, there are several approaches and tools that can help you with this.
VDOT is a popular framework for estimating pace based training intensity zones from your race results. It is a simple, yet effective approach.
There are also other, more advanced options for controlling your running training intensity. Accurate heart rate monitors have been available on the consumer market for decades already. Professional runners often turn to needles and use lactate meters to monitor their blood lactate levels during sessions. And, in more recent years, power meters for runners have made running power a viable option for managing training intensity.
>> Is running power the next big thing in running training?
Once you become hooked on running, the nature of the running related challenges you face change. Instead of working to make running a habit, you face the danger of overdoing it.
This requires a shift in mindset. Rather than trying to do as much as possible, you have to be smart with your training. You have to get the most out of every run. To balance the risk of sidelining yourself versus the potential fitness gain of a session, and optimise for consistency.
>> Read more the optimal running workout intensity
What’s more, you need to adopt a varied approach. To get your body ready for the demanding nature of high-level running training, you need to expose it to a variety of stresses. Slower runs, and faster runs. Short sessions, and long grinds.
>> Learn about why you should be running strides all year long
Periodisation in Running Training
Periodisation is knowing how to combine the puzzle pieces that are workouts of varying intensity to optimise performance. In other words, how should you train throughout the year in order to run fast when race day comes.
>> Learn about periodisation and how to structure your training
Injuries and Cross Training
No matter how methodical your approach, you must prepare yourself for the inevitable injury layoff. According to Yale Medicine, more than half of all runners get injured every single year.
Denial—though a far too common approach among runners—is not going to help you overcome injury. Instead, you should be prepared, and be ready to take advantage of a layoff. If properly utilised, an injury break can be a possibility to work on aspects of your physiology that are typically ignored in your regular training regimen. This way, an initial setback can actually become a period of improvement.
>> Read more about how to handle a running injury
Not being able to run doesn’t mean that you can’t work on your fitness. There are several alternatives to running that allows you to maintain, or even improve your cardiovascular capacity.
Biking, swimming, aqua jogging are commonly used options. Rowing and cross country skiing are the activities shown by research to be the most effective at training your cardiovascular system.
>> Another option is to use the elliptical to improve your running fitness
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