Logic tells us that the more you practice something, the better you get, right? When it comes to running, not necessarily! In fact, to become better at running, fitting quality runs into a well-rounded and diverse training programme, is a much better approach than pounding the sidewalk every day. So, to help you avoid over-training and still boost your speeds, here are some great ways to improve your running without actually going running:
As your foot hits the road over and over again, it’s no wonder that the stress and pressure on your joints can cause avid runners to suffer from knee or hip injuries. To work on your aerobic fitness and endurance, trying hitting the pool or booking into a VersaClimber class. They might be low-impact workouts, but they’ll certainly have your lungs burning and your body sweating!
It’s not rocket science that stronger muscles will help you get to the finish line faster. Just a couple of short, but effective weights sessions per week could make a massive difference in your race time.
Sprint training might not seem useful if you’re training for a half or full marathon, but studies have shown that it can actually have a hugely positive effect on your overall performance, by improving your muscular efficiency and energy production. If you want to mix things up, you don’t need to do this on the track or the treadmill – any short, sharp bursts of exercise, whether that’s on the bike, rower or using your bodyweight, will reap you the same rewards.
Over-running, especially when paired with an office-based job and a poorly designed training programme, is sure to lead to poor mobility (aka. the ability to move a joint through a range of motion with efficiency and strength). To avoid tight hamstrings and hip flexors – leading to injury and poor performance – incorporate a regular mobility routine into your schedule.
Get the Gear
Most importantly, the shoes you wear can play a huge part in how you feel during your run. Go for a proper assessment to find the best shoes for you, and don’t be afraid to splash out on a good pair. It might feel tough to part with the money, but it’ll save you hundreds in physio costs in the long run! Likewise, wearing sensible, breathable clothing is a great tip for decreasing your irritability during a long run.
Nailing Your Nutrition
We hate to use that awful, over-used expression “you can’t out-train a bad diet”, but it IS true that your nutrition can have a drastic effect on your running. Fuelling your body effectively will give it the energy it needs to keep you going and will give help you to recover afterwards. Need some inspiration in the kitchen? Head over to our recipe section for lots of healthy, protein-packed ideas.