Friday, April 12, 2019

How to Improve Your Running

Since I did a recap of our trip on Monday, and because nothing too notable has happened since then, I decided to skip the Fast Friday post this week and get back to it last week. Training has officially started for me and because of that, I'll be sharing a lot more posts and updates on my training, what I'm doing, and how things are going with it (as well as the other normal stuff I post).

Also because training season is here, I've been getting a few questions about running that I will be answering here and on Instagram. The whole point of this blog has gone from a daily journal to use my brain more creatively to a way to help those who have running/parenting/random questions. I genuinely love to help you all and I want to be able to do that more often. So if you have any questions about any of those things, please feel free to ask in the comments, in an email, on Instagram or any other way.

One of the things people start to wonder about around this time of year when all the races are starting up again is how to improve their 5k, 10k, get the point, their race. So that's what I'm going to talk about today.

First of all, there are a lot of different reasons people don't improve their time for any race, so if you have more questions or more direct questions about this, let me know and I'll talk more about it. But for now, I'll share kind of the blanket answers for this question.

One of the reasons I never improved my race times up until the last year or so is that I never used a real training plan. Whether you look up a training plan that works for you schedule-wise or you have a coach your working with, or you use an app like Aaptiv, training plans help a lot more than people realize. 

It could be that you're not including enough speed workouts into your training. The only way to race faster is to practice faster. That doesn't always have to be doing intervals. There are so many awesome speed workout options out there. So pick a few different ways to mix things up and add them into your training accordingly.

You might be pushing your self too hard in your training and come race day, you just can't give any more. Look over your previous training cycles. How many days a week did you run? How many of those were cross-training days? How many were hard runs? You have to be able to give your body the rest it needs to build your muscles back up and to repair any damages in order to keep you injury free and give you more energy to work with. Rest is just as important as your workout days.

Along with rest days, cross training days are very important. Obviously, if you're a runner your favorite/most important workout would be cardio and running, but strength training is important to help you stay injury free so that you can be physically ready to run faster too.

Maybe you're not running enough. This sounds contradictory to what I said before, but you can't expect to get faster only running once or twice a week. Find the number of runs a week that works for you and keep it consistent.  For me that's running 3-4 days a week with 1-2 strength training days in there and at least one full rest day. Some weeks I only get one strength training day and get two rest days but my running days stay pretty consistent all the time.

Make sure you're eating and refueling right! I feel like this should be a whole post by its self, and I'm not fantastic at nutrition but I'll probably share, later, what has been working for me. The biggest point is though that you're making sure you're refueling your body with the nutrients that you lose while running. This includes making sure you're well hydrated.

A huge part of what drives me in my running is seeing progress. So I can understand that it's really frustrating when you feel like no progress is being made. Be patient with yourself, your body and the process. Trust your training and remember that part of the enjoyment in running is having fun. No one is making you race, you signed up for this so enjoy it! Improvement will come if you keep at it!

What is your current running goal?

What is the distance you struggle with progress on the most?


  1. I had been in a plateau up until I had my surgery (almost two years ago). I had to endure a 3-month sabbatical from all things running, but my endurance was maintained through daily walking and intermittent strength work. My rally back has been far better than I'd expected, and I think it's because I try to find something positive in every circumstance. Case in point...this winter I had to run on the treadmill a lot, and many of those runs morphed into speed work because I wanted to get them done as fast as possible LOL

    1. Is it it interesting how that 3 months down, which would be so frustrating, turned into something good? And I love how you did so much speed work on the treadmill this winter!

  2. I think that finding the right training plan that fits with your schedule is also really important. I've seen a lot of good training plans that look good on paper but I knew that they wouldn't work with my schedule.

    1. That I definitely a big one! I’ve had that happen too and it is so frustrating

  3. I agree that it is important to find what works best for you and your body. I am sure I could benefit from some more speed work!

  4. When I was running, I would do speed work and rest to help my times improve!

  5. I actually have not improved that much since I started running. I was never that slow so it is easy to get into a rut.

    i know I could be faster...if only I did something about it.

  6. I suppose that your article is indeed meaningful since it contains some significant points which should not be ignored by any of us!