Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How To Be a Better Runner

As we get this new year going, there are a lot of people out there who have made goals to start racing or to PR in a race, including myself. But sometimes it's hard to know exactly what things you need to do to be a better, faster runner.

Getting a PR is always an exciting thing, but sometimes we want it so bad that we forget some of the basic things about running, and working out in general. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a fast runner so bad! I would push myself so hard and be so frustrated when I didn't see results from all that hard work. But my brother ended up teaching me a really great and important lesson about racing. And that was that if you push yourself to your limits every workout, you won't have anything left for race day. Your body and your mind will be burned out and worn down and you won't perform well. You should never be pushing yourself to 100% in your practices.



Along with making sure you're not making every workout hard, you should be taking rest days.  I know that's easier said than done for some. I'm someone who enjoys my workouts and doesn't love the idea of taking many days off. But, if we make sure to take at least one rest day a week, our bodies will thank us later. Even if your workouts aren't normally hard workouts. Rest days are essential to recovery. And when we are working our muscles that hard, recovery is necessary.

When you do get your hard workouts in, make one of them speed work. The only way to become a faster runner is to practice running faster. I used to really hate speed workouts but now I really enjoy them. Part of the reason I like them much more now is that I know that is my day to really push myself. I like trying to get faster than I was with each interval.

Strength training is another really important part of running and racing.  Increasing muscle mass helps you run faster. It also strengthens your body so you are able to avoid injury a little easier. Upper body strength isn't something we think is super important to runners, but runners actually use their upper body and core muscles more than they realize. So don't forget to do some strength training too!



With a balance of running, strength training and resting, you'll get pretty good results with your races! But the most important thing is to make a plan and stick to it because nothing can change for the better without consistency in your prep work.  Working out regularly, having a running schedule that you can stick to, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone once or twice a week, and staying consistent with all of those things will help you to become a better, faster runner.


Who has a running goal for 2019?

What is your goal race this year?

13 comments:

  1. My goal is to take better care of stretching and resting!

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    1. Oh yeah, stretching is something I definitely need to work on. Thanks Deborah, I hope you have a great day.

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  2. Great post and an important one.

    I do find that less is more. I've had the most success when i did not push myself in training and take rest days before and after long runs.

    When I did train hard, eventually I felt burnt out and sometimes that has occurred on race day.

    That being said, I need to so some speed drills and strength train.

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    1. Ugh. That’s the worst to wake up on race day and feel burnt out! It’s one reason rest days and cross training is so important. I hope you have a great day and get some speed work or strength training in!

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  3. Great tips on how to be a better runner. One thing I'm really focusing on this year is pre-hab. I want to really strengthen my core and glutes especially.

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    1. That's a great idea. Something I should be working on too for sure!

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  4. Not being an especially fast runner (but a solid middle of the packer LOL), I have never embraced speed work until last summer. I was able to come up with some creative speed workouts, and I grew to enjoy them. I still don't LOVE speed work, but I definitely don't resent it anymore.

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    1. I don't know that I truly LOVE speed workouts either...it's a love/hate relationship, but it's one I'm working on ;)

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  5. Great tips!

    I don't know that I have a goal race this year. I haven't lined up all my races by any stretch of the imagination, so I' just not sure what the next few months will bring.

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  6. It sounds like you have on smart brother! I say it time and time again, but I really need to mix up my workouts to ultimately become a better runner.

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    1. He’s so smart!! It’s always great to have variety in your workouts

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  7. These are great tips! I have been trying to incorporate more strength into my routine to help my running!!

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  8. agree wholeheartedly. I've done less running and more strength the last few years. and rest but I'm more of an active recovery type person (like taking a walk instead of literally just resting on my bum on the couch). I have a few goal races this year actually.

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