Running is tough. I’m sure that’s why it’s given as punishment in so many other sports. But for those of us who do it for fun, or to lose weight, or to improve our health, we want to improve and see better results. But how does one do that? Running more isn’t always the answer either.
Here are a few of my tips to help you become a better runner:
- Be consistent. This doesn’t mean you need to run every day, but you do need to run on a regular basis. Depending on your particular goals, that might mean running 3 or 4 days a week. Seeing improvements is difficult if you only run sporadically.
- Vary your workouts. Doing the same workout time after time allows your body to adjust to that workout. Try varying your tempo by adding in short sprints at a faster pace. Over time your body will find the faster paces a little easier and you can gradually increase your speed. Add in some hills occasionally to work different muscles more.
- Fuel properly. Eating the right foods at the right times before and after running will help fuel your body for the workout and repair your muscles after. Just as you wouldn’t put bad gas in your car, putting good food into your body will help improve your running.
- Do other things. Cross training and strength training are fantastic ways to build strength and work other muscles. Regularly doing these activities will help improve your running. Try adding in a day or two each week of weight lifting, core exercises, yoga, biking, or swimming.
- Track your progress. Record your workouts using an app or even on paper. Record your time, distance, and any other information that you feel might be useful (weather conditions, how you felt, etc). Over time, you will start seeing improvements and will have a record of how far you’ve come.
- Set goals. Do you want to run a 5k or 10k? Do you want to increase your mileage per week? Do you want to improve your mile time? Decide what goals you would like to achieve and then build your plan around those goals. (If you need help setting detailed goals, be sure to check out my ebook Goal Setting For Success).
- Have a plan. Once you have decided on your goals, make a plan to help you reach them. There are plenty of free training plans online for almost any distance to help you train. Find one that fits your schedule, your current fitness level, and your abilities and get going!
Bonus tip: Race more. Signing up for a race is a great way to be a better runner. Incorporating the tips above and running a race keeps you focused on a specific goal. The running community is a very friendly and encouraging crowd, even for slower runners or run/walkers. Experiencing a race environment allows you to push yourself against other runners, which in turn, makes you a better runner.
How do you overcome challenges and improve your skills (whether running or not). What is your biggest running challenge? Tell me in the comments below!