Like the sound of being a stronger, faster runner? Read on to discover the workouts that can help you do it.
People start running for all types of different reasons and although you may not be interested in entering a competition or trying to make it as a professional, I’d bet good money that you are interested in getting better.
Whether that means getting faster, feeling stronger, or simply progressing enough so you can keep up with your running group and not be the one at the back, there’s a range of training methods and running workouts that you can do, which will help you improve.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the most effective methods you can use to help you make progress, so if you like the idea of feeling stronger, fitter, and faster, read on to find out what you need to do.
Some Useful Exercises
Hill Sprints are one of the most effective ways of building your speed and power without having to put extra miles on your legs. They’re also a great way of preparing you for actual hills you may find on your next route, whether that’s running a 5k through your local park or trying out a new route near your house.
Hill Sprints are straightforward to do. You simply find a hill with a 5%-10% gradient then starting at the bottom, sprint up the hill for around 12-15 seconds. Once you’ve finished your sprint, turn and slowly jog back down the hill for an active recovery.
Our advice is to perform hill sprints on the same day as your easy run. You can do them in the middle before you go back out for the second phase of your run, or they work great tagged on to the end of your workout as a finisher.
Interval runs are the perfect way to work on your speed and a great workout to help you improve your performance. They’re also very adaptable, and you’ll find that whatever your goal is, you’ll be able to fit intervals into your routine in a way that positively benefits you.
The traditional format for intervals is to perform short, challenge periods of work followed by a slower period of work that allows you to recover and we find that if you can get to a track, or you’re running on a treadmill, it works really well.
Our advice is to keep it simple and start with 200m intervals, which is half the distance of a track. Your goal is to run 200m at your 5k pace, then walk the next 200m at a more relaxed pace. Repeat 6-8 times total, and over the following weeks, you can increase the distance as you improve, for example, 6 x 400m intervals or even further.
By adding this into your routine not only will you feel fitter, and physically stronger, but you’ll also feel quicker, and more powerful too.
Ladder runs incorporate a similar style to intervals, although the format is much less consistent.
With intervals, you normally follow a 1:1 ratio, so you rest for as long as you work, however with a ladder your distances may move up and down and combine both high-intensity bursts of speed with longer, steadier runs.
The benefit is it can help you to improve in many different areas. You will feel stronger, and faster, and you will build up a bigger tolerance for more challenging distances.
To do them, think of yourself moving down the ladder.
You may start with a 1600m run and move down to 1200m, then to 800m, then 400m, then 200m, then 100m sprint.
In-between each distance you will perform a light, slow-paced 400m jog to help you recover.
As you get more advanced you can then try going up and down the ladder.
This method will see you start at 200m, and then increase to 400m, before moving to 800m and 1600m, before eventually coming back down the ladder in the reverse order, and again you’ll complete a recovery run in between each set.
If you want to increase the difficulty even further, you can repeat each run twice, before moving on to the next distance.
This is a challenging workout, but it does have some huge benefits and will give your performance a great boost.
Probably one of the most widely used methods by runners everywhere; the tempo run is a great training tool. This method requires you to run at an increased tempo, just a little faster than your usual pace, for the duration of the run. By doing so, and pushing yourself harder than you normally would, you’re able to get used to running at a higher pace, and keeping it up, which helps you feel stronger, fitter, and more efficient as you continue to make progress. It also pushes you to work harder, and at a higher intensity.
Our advice if you’re new to tempo runs would be to start at a 20 minute run and progress from there. You can increase the time each week as you improve and slowly start to increase the difficulty. If you’re training for a longer run, such as a 10k or marathon, you will want to base your tempo runs off of mileage instead of time.
Whether you’re training for a marathon, 10k, or just a local fun run, becoming a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner is possible. Especially when you consider that most of your competition won’t be doing these things to get ahead.
That means that if you do, and you remain consistent with your training, you’ll be able to see great improvements in your performance in no time. The only other thing we would add is to remember to increase the difficulty when you do start to get more comfortable. That way you can ensure you’re doing everything you can to become a stronger runner.
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