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Top Ten Ways to Reach a New Level of Running
By Rick Morris
Are you ready to move on to a new level of running? Are you a beginner and want to improve your fitness and endurance? Maybe you're a recreational runner that wants to become a competitive runner. You might already be a competitive runner and you want reach new PR's and levels of fitness. The axiom that says "If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten" is very true in the world of running. If you want to reach a new level of running you need to make changes. Here are our top ten ways to reach a new level of running.
Charge Up Hill
Running uphill is a great way to improve your running strength, power, lactate threshold and running economy. Start with short runs up a hill of moderate incline and gradually increase both the distance and incline of your hill runs. Don't have hills in your area? No problem - use a treadmill.
Dash Down Hill
There's more than one direction in hill running. Running downhill will improve your running economy, foot speed and neuromuscular conditioning. Focus on maintaining proper running mechanics with a foot strike directly under your center of gravity. Try to avoid the over striding that downhill running encourages. Over striding, especially on downhill runs, can cause a number of running injuries including shin splints, knee and hip problems.
Speed It Up
Many distance runners make the mistake of doing nearly all of their training at slow to moderate paces. Running fast or doing interval training will improve your VO2 max, running economy and neuromuscular conditioning. You can do speed work anywhere, including the track, trail or road.
Go For a Cruise
One of the more valuable and efficient types of workouts to improve your stamina is tempo training or moderate to long distance runs at a moderately hard pace. There is no one specific pace for tempo runs, they can range from marathon pace to just slower than 10K pace or from a moderate to a moderately hard pace. Do one tempo run per week, beginning with around 20 minutes and build up to an hour or more.
Go For The Gold
It's hard to motivate yourself to run at your best pace during training. Motivation comes much easier during races. If you frequently enter local 5K or 10K races, both your mind and your body will become accustom to and adapt to the effort level required to run at race pace. You'll become a tougher runner both mentally and physically.
Long Road Trip
One of the most critical components involved in moving to a new distance running level is increasing your endurance. Doing that is theoretically very easy. You just need start running longer. Once per week go on a long road trip. For your first extended long run add one or two miles to your longest run in the past 3 weeks. Keep increasing your weekly distance up to 12 miles. Then start doing your long run every other week, but continue to increase in distance.
Build it Up
Strong muscles is an important and often ignored part of a runners body. Stronger muscles will make you a faster, more powerful and more injury resistant runner. Perform strength training two or three times per week and you will be on your way to a new level of running.
Change Your Mind
If you are a beginning runner or recreational runner you not only need to change your training, you also need to change your mind. You should start thinking like a competitive runner. Get your competitive juices flowing and you will become more motivated and focused. If you are a competitive pacer or a runner that competes for time, consider changing your mindset to competing for position. Forget the clock and start competing against other runners. You will run harder and reach new competitive levels.
Use a Map
If you want to reach a new level as a runner you need a map to get there. Running without a goal and a plan to reach your goal is like wandering around in unfamiliar country without a map. You'll never get there! Set a goal and develop a plan to reach it. You will soon be in new running territory.
Change it Up
This one has two meanings. First of all you need to change your training to reach new levels. If you don't change how you train you won't see new results. Second, you should begin to train using a year round multi pace training scheme that includes long endurance runs, tempo training, lactate threshold runs, fast interval training, hill workouts and recovery days on a consistent basis. That will make you a well rounded and highly effective runner.
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