If you are a runner looking to gain strength, endurance and speed, then follow these simple and effective tips. As a certified trainer and running coach, I have trusted tips that have produced great results for countless running clients and has even raced in hundreds of races myself (and 34 marathons). Additionally, I am not a stranger to running quick, having won quite a few races as well.
Here are 4 tips to help you well on your way to a quicker running time, more endurance, strength and even more energy!
Run 5 Days Per Week
Aim to run 5 days per week with a different focus each day. The components of focus are: speed, tempo, long slow distance, intervals and mid speed.
For your speed portion, simply run three 800 repeats at race pace with a 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down. Each week, add another 800 until you reach 8. This will help you to kick up your speed for sure. I have found this distance to do wonders in my training and for my clients.
Next add a tempo run of 4-5 miles. This defines running at almost race pace. Your goal run would be at 75-80% of race pace. Your breathing will be labored but you can still slightly speak, as opposed to race pace, when you are unable to talk.
An important component of training is long, slow distance. Go one day for an 8-10 mile run at easy, comfortable, talking pace. This is a great recovery workout for draining lactic acid build up. This will help you to decrease soreness and leg heaviness. I call this the “coffee chat run” because it is laid back and relaxed. and it often becomes more of a meditative run where you find yourself pounding the pavement releasing stress.
But do not forget interval training as this will help you to quicken your times in a relatively short period. Simply run 1 mile quickly, then one mile easy jog, and repeat again for up to 5 miles. Interval training is something I stress for all my running clients because this can do wonders for quickening your time.
And for your 5th day of training, stick to mid speed by running at 60% of race pace. This should be difficult to talk during but not as quick as tempo. This is a good run to push the bar slightly but not so far that you are unable to talk.
Add Leg Strengthening into Your Workout
Perform Lateral Leg Lifts
To strengthen your hip flexors, obliques and legs, aim for 3 sets of lateral leg lifts. To perform this exercise, stand up straight and lift your leg to the side. Finish with a 15 second hold on each leg.
Add in Lunges
Lunges are the most effective exercise to strengthen and tone your legs, hamstrings and glutes. To perform lunges, stand with your feet together and kneel with your left foot so it is at a 90° angle with your knee above your ankle. To avoid an injury or putting stress on your knees, do not hyperextend and kneel any further than this. Alternate legs for 2 sets of 18.
Choose to do Calf Raises
To strengthen your calves and quicken your running time perform calf raises. To perform calf raises, stand on your toes and lower your both heels then raise them up as high as you can. Perform 3 sets of 18 repetitions.
Perform Some Squats
Squats are super exercises for runners because they strengthen the quadriceps or top of your leg, a muscle greatly used by runners. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and pointing straight ahead. Get in a squat seated position with your legs at a 90° angle. Make sure your knees are above your toes to avoid stress on your knees. Perform 3 sets of 18. Make sure to have a straight back and good posture when perform a squat.
Focus on the #1 Core Exercise
One of the greatest strengths that elite runners have is a strong core. Elite runners are not born with a strong core but with abdominal training they work to achieve this.
By having a strong core, you will not only run quicker but also help to prevent injury. Focus on performing the plank. The plank is the #1 most effective exercise in strengthening the core. To perform this exercise, get on your forearms with body in a straight line from head to toe. Aim for 20 seconds to 1 minute to begin for 3 days per week.
Consider Hiring a Running Coach
It is always beneficial to seep a professional in helping you to achieve your goals. An expert always knows best. And if you find that even after integrating these leg exercises and a new routine you are still having trouble meeting your goals, it may be time to hire a running coach.
Search for a coach that is a certified trainer and has personal experience in running. This trainer should provide you with a detailed workout schedule to help you to meet your goals. And this trainer should have passion in helping you to achieve and surpass your running goals! I find in my personal experience as a trainer I take a stake in all my clients because of my passion in fitness and helping others.
Professional experience and passion go hand in hand to help clients achieve success!
So, go ahead and follow these tips so you can sprint to the finish and crush your goals. You deserve to run like the wind and be proud of the amazing results that you earned!