Three Simple Tips to Improve Your Running

A question I regularly get from readers of my website is the following:

“I have been running the same course faster and faster every time. Lately I can’t improve anymore. What should I do to improve my running?”

I get this type of question regularly via my running training helpline. Usually I can help out and provide a few of the following running tips.

Improve Your Running Tip #1: Build Your Base

Many runners run a set course and then try to beat their time each and every time. This seems a valid approach. At first, you will usually find yourself improving quite a bit as you get used to the distance and the course. Inevitably though at some point you will hit a plateau. It can be frustrating as you are trying to figure out why your running is not improving anymore. The reason is that you have only been working on your speed, but you have been neglecting to build your running base. Only when you have a strong base you will be able to run quickly for a long time. If you do not have that strong base, then your speed is built on a layer of quicksand. You will not be able to maintain it. So, how do you build your base? Roll miles, roll miles, roll miles. Simply increase your mileage by doing lots of easy running. Instead of running one mile per workout, you build up to three miles per workout, five miles per workout etc. Suddenly a mile is not that far anymore. And suddenly you are able to run that mile so much faster!

Improve Your Running Tip #2: Vary Your Speed

When you run the same course and try to run it faster every time, you know only one running speed. Top speed. Many runners do not realize that every running speed has got its own benefits. That’s why the running training of top runners consists of different types of running training at different speeds.

Runners do slow and easy running to make their heart stronger. Easy running helps your heart pump more blood and oxygen to your muscles with every heart beat.

Tempo running is done to increase the lactic acid threshold, so that it takes longer for lactic acid to build up in your legs. It is therefore also regularly referred to as lactate threshold running.

Interval running is faster than tempo running but not an all-out effort. It is done to improve the amount of oxygen your muscles can take in at the one time.

Repetitions are short, close to all-out, efforts. You do them to decrease the amount of oxygen your body needs to run. It is also a good way to improve your form and running cadence.

Improve Your Running Tip #3 : Periodization

There are different theories about when to do all these types of running training. One school of thought is to basically do your easy running on your easy days, and on your hard days you alternate the other types of running. So you’d go through a cycle of a minimum of 8 days (more is possible as well) in which you would have four easy days and four hard days. The hard days would be containing a tempo run, intervals, reps and a long run.

Another, more popular, school of thought is to apply periodization. This means that you cut your running training up in different blocks. You would usually start with a block of pure base building. So only easy running and a weekly long run. Closer to your race you would include faster workouts like tempo runs and intervals. A few weeks before your race you’d include a bit of a taper so you’d be optimally prepared for race day.

These three simple running tips can have an amazingly big impact on your running performance. I have seen people shave off minutes of their 5k and 10k times and good parts of hours for the half and the marathon only by following these simple tips. So build up your base, do all the different types of running and do them at the right time and you will also be able to improve your running.

About the Author

Dominique de Rooij is an avid runner and founder of Best-Running-Tips.com. Best-Running-Tips.com is filled with beginner running tips, running training information, and reviews of apparel, shoes, gear and heart rate monitors.