You have made it onto the track, or on the treadmill, or whatever. You. Are. Running. Actually, it has become quite a habit, and you actually are beginning to love it (but of course, you would never admit that out loud).
Unfortunately, the “fat girl” excuse doesn’t really apply anymore, now that you have started to shed the weight that you originally began with. Though this is an amazing feat, you can’t help but feel a bit discouraged. Why, even after all those months running the trail at your local park three times a week, does everyone still seem to pass you?
Even though you never were really good at running, never made your high school track team, and barely ran the mile within the time limit during gym class, there is still hope for you. Yes, even at 27…or 37…or 47…or 57…or more.
Getting fit and faster doesn’t just take power and practice, it also takes some commitment in other points in your lifestyle as well.
The way you run also can dictate the limit of your speed. If you are always just running one speed and doing long distance, you can never push your body to adapt in other ways. This is what we call it when your body plateaus. Doing the same type of exercise all the time, for example, for the same amount of time, distance, or speed eventually becomes ineffective. It is for this reason that you should try implementing these tips we are about to share with you about to become faster and start lapping even that guy who insists on running with his dog,
Outside Your Run Advice
1.Get Your Stretches Done.
This might be the most boring part of your run, and the part that you think is the most unnecessary, but it actually can be one of the most important. Stretching, in general, makes you more flexible. The cooldown actually after your run is even more important than before. Working on your flexibility helps your stride, which helps your speed. Having a big stride is not so important as having the length of the stride be more consistent. This can definitely help the productivity of your running form and overall run.
2.Properly Put in the Right Fuel.
You are what you eat. What you put into your body, pre, post, and during your run is important to get all you can out of it. If you are not fueled properly, you can’t possibly think that you can perform well, let alone get faster. Pick cramp-free food, with a little bit of protein, simple carbs and even a bit of sugar. You can even try to throw down some caffeine before your run because studies have shown that it actually helps you run faster and for a longer amount of time.
3.Use Good Form.
Moving with proper form is also important when trying to get the most out of your run. Just like performing any other exercise in the gym, form and the way you position yourself is key to see benefits and growth. Proper form for running means that your upper body and hands are relaxed, arms swing straight forward and backward (preferably at a 90-degree angle, not swinging side-to-side), and the middle of your foot hits the ground directly under the center of your hip. Such a small adjustment to your running form can make a huge difference.
4.Invest in Your Shoes.
Even though equipment doesn’t make the athlete, it is important to have good quality shoes if you are running. If you are a consistent runner, the rule of thumb is to change your shoes after six months, but you can even wear them out after one year. Opt for a lighter shoe that mimics the shape and movement of your feet, which can help your running form and make you feel lighter.
Advice for During Your Run
5.Keep Your Stride Short.
Most successful runners take small steps that are consistent and symmetrical. Try counting your steps on your next step. This is called a “stride turnover”. The most successful, or fastest runners, have a stride turnover of about 180 steps per minute. Their steps can also be described as short, light, and speedy. You can easily find the average of what your stride turnover should be by counting the number of times your right foot hits the ground during one minute of running, and then multiply it by two. If you want to count while you are running, you should be trying to get the same number of steps every minute, or even more.
6.Dabble in Interval Training.
Instead of getting used to a plateau of constant-speed, which is also great, try to mix it up. This change in running can change your body. If you alternate between low and high intensity by running in short bursts of speed mixed with slow jogging, your speed and endurance can change loads. This type of running also has you having an effective run in less time, because of the amount of energy you exert, it is extremely effective.
7.Focus on Your Breathing.
Breathing through your mouth and your nose while you are running can help you let in the maximum amount of oxygen that you can. Oxygen is not only important just to survive, but also to get through to your muscles while you’re exercising. This can help you run faster and longer. Learning how to properly breathe takes practice and may feel awkward or strange at first, but it can be extremely helpful in the long run.
8.Listen to Music.
There is actually scientific evidence proving that listening to music improves your running efficiency and speed. Overall, plugging in those earbuds can improve your running performance up to 15 percent. The breakdown of why it helps others and might make a difference for you is that music keeps your mind on more positive thoughts (or thoughts that encourage you to run — even anger). These thoughts lead you to feel less fatigued than how much you actually are. While you are listening to music, you also are less aware of the effort you are putting in — 15 percent less to be exact. The great thing about our generation and technology, is that you can even prepare a playlist with pre-thought out order of songs and music that not only change in tempo for your run but also may change the thoughts and feelings you have during your run, which can change the way your run and how energetic you may feel.
There are so many other ways that you can improve your running and your overall general performance. Running is not only a physical sport, it also complies a lot with a mental aspect. This can be sought out through meditation, focusing, and as we mentioned above, music.
If you are a runner or have found success with a tip of your own to help cut down your running time or up your running speed, feel free to leave a comment down below to help others trying to make their next PR before their upcoming 5K.