To become a consistent, stable and better runner for long-term, it’s not only about focusing on speed, new PR’s, constant fast runs. Running is more complex, it requires proper running form, overall fitness, discipline, patience and more. Many runners only focus on success and speed. Running success is not only about how fast you run, but it involves many layers that require focus and contribute to life-long improvement and consistency. Through hard work, experience, and consistency we become better runners in many ways. We have to focus on important strategies to increase running success beyond speed.
5 Essential Strategies
1. Proper Organization and Preparation- If we focus on preparing and organizing our training sessions, it sets the tone for the run or workout ahead. Making sure we start with a proper warm up, dynamic stretches and create the right environment to prepare our mind and body will send signals to our body that it’s time to go. Making sure we set up and follow our training schedule can be challenging, but failing to do so will add layers of stress. Make sure you prepare everything the night before morning runs, or pack everything you need for later runs. Prepare your clothes, gear, nutrition, hydration. Include 5-10 minutes in your running schedule to make sure you have time to warm up and do some light stretching post-run. Once everything is prepared and organized, it will reduce stress levels, and make it much easier to sink into the training plan.
2. Create and Follow Consistent Habits- Building fitness, discipline and consistency will generate success in your long-term runs. When we are consistent in training, we make investments in our future fitness levels. Tracking the consistency of our runs and workouts allows us to gain a better understanding of our goals and figure out what is possible and necessary to achieve them. This also includes our nutrition, hydration, and recovery habits as well. To be more consistent and disciplined with a proper diet, including hydration, and post-run recovery and stretching also has to be part of our organized and consistent habits. When we have a tough run, or feel fatigued and weak, we need to ignore our pace or time and focus on what might have caused these issues; lack of sleep, not enough nutrition or hydration, lack of recovery. All these have to be part of our training schedule/daily habits.
3. Speedwork to Build your Base and Increase your VO2max- Interval training and speedwork sessions are also important to build up our overall strength, speed and endurance. Including a few sprint repeats weekly can make a huge difference in building up our fast-twitch muscles and increasing our oxygenation.
10-min warm up
4 X 4 mins at 85% effort (it should feel strong and fast but not your max).
5-min jog between reps.
10-min recovery run
10-min warm up
6 X 1K repeats with 90 secs jog in between (the short recovery keeps heart rate elevated, pace at 90%.)
10-min recovery run
15-min warm up
2 X 2K repeats at threshold pace (just below a 10K pace) with a 3-min jog in between.
12K easy pace
2K at threshold pace
1K recovery jog
4. Positive Mind- Mental Strength can take a while to develop and increase, it can take weeks even months to progress. But with hard work, discipline, and positivity, our mental strength will increase and improve. When running, practicing positive mantras can help us get through some challenging moments. Once we increase our mental strength and positivity, we can train harder and feel better. It helps us listen to our body more closely, we learn to tolerate discomfort and hardships in training, that’s when we reach these mental strength skills when needed. If our run gives us a mental break, stress relief, clarity, more energy and more time to ourselves, then we know that we reached a state of positivity and mental strength.
5. Increased Motivation- To join a running group, sign up for a race or run with friends, will help keep us motivated and going. To always train on our own can be challenging for some people that need more social support. Finding nice running groups can help us to keep going and also to increase our positive mind, and release some life stress. Also, to sign up for races can be more motivating to keep up with our training plan. Running with a friend that needs some running support can be a good option for our mental and physical training.
More Consistency, Positivity, Better Run!