As an athlete I am constantly listening, learning, reading articles, condensing and applying the information I deem useful to my own life and training. I hope through these I am able to help at least one person (or more to get better at their running).
“Why am I not getting faster at running?” This question posed to me recently and it’s a question I think many people ask themselves. Have a look through the points below and see if they apply to your current training – maybe something needs adjusted or reviewed.
People put on a pair of shoes, head out onto the tarmac and expect to run a sub 20minute 5k in their week. Unfortunately, it’s not that quick; everybody is going to have a different starting point as well as different goals and lifestyle factors that determine where they are in their journey. What’s important is to not get caught up in comparing yourself to others around you. Have your own goals, work hard to reach them, set new bigger goals and repeat. You will see the results but don’t think it’s going to happen overnight.
Are you running the same route, week in week out at the same pace? It’s great that you are getting out and running and probably improving in fitness BUT as you increase your fitness over time this same pace will become easier and more than likely you are training in the ‘middle zone’. If you want to get the most progress from your training, you should try to spend time running at the opposite ends of the intensity spectrum – SLOW or FAST. Have a look at your training plan and make sure you are getting enough of each to meet your goals.
When you train you break down muscle fibres and when running you are putting your body through a lot of impact force- 250% BW through each leg with each stride. We do not get fitter when we run, we get fitter and faster when we rest! Rest is when the body repairs and heals, not enough rest and you risk overtraining and picking up an injury so REST and rest HARD! If you’re one of those people who mixes running with Crossfit or strength training – try to keep your ‘hard runs’ on your ‘heavy’ gym days and your ‘easy runs’ to your ‘recovery or light’ gym days.
Your easy is not easy enough and your hard is not hard enough:
The most benefit is to be gained from those ends of the spectrum. Make sure your easy runs are very easy and really push in your hard sessions. Always try to avoid that grey area in the middle.
If you wanted to hit a one rep max squat PR, you wouldn’t go into the gym, squat twice one week, once the next, and then take two weeks off before loading up the bar with plates for a 1-rep max. The same applies to running. Consistency is key. It seems silly typing this but to get faster at running, you need to go and run! You are far better off running 20mins 4 days per week than running 80mins once a week. Some of you might need a coach to keep you on track, some might print a calendar, stick it on the fridge and tick off the days. Find what works for you and your lifestyle – just get outside and run.
By; Rob Jones, Endurance Coach