If you’re an aspiring runner or a veteran of the sport this list will help you to run faster times. This list of 20 proven strategies will guide you to your next PR and keep you as fast as possible. Running is a sport that has a very high rate of injury and therefore it is a necessity to master these principles. In order to be a super successful athlete is this sport it is essential that you avoid the common pitfalls of running injury. The more that you can remain consistent in your training the more successful you will be at improving as a runner. Below I have compiled a list of guaranteed strategies that will help to guide you in becoming the fastest runner possible.
1. Soft surface runs: The pavement and concrete of the sidewalks is tremendously brutal on your musculoskeletal system. Get off the hard surfaces as much as you can and take advantage of trails whenever possible.
2. Complete rest days: Recovery from training is just as important as the training itself. For most 1-2 days off a week is very appropriate and will insure that you stay fresh and rested for training.
3. Set tangible goals: Set goals that truly can be achieved! Many folks set goals that are simply not possible in one particular training block. Many factors should be considered when setting goals and they must be reflective of ones ability level, commitment, and aspirations.
4. Recovery days: All hard efforts and long runs are followed by a recovery day of running. Keep those days super slow or off from running to allow proper adaptation to occur from tougher training days.
5. Race pacing plans: One of the most common errors that runners make when racing is that they start their races too fast and are forced to drag themselves to the finish line. The longer the race the more important this concept will be to master.
6. Adaptable training programs: Cookie cutter programs that don’t change to meet the challenges of life and the individual needs of the athlete will not be ideal. The best programs are built to be changed (at anytime) to optimally accommodate busy life schedules.
7. Post marathon recovery: Although there is no answer for everyone here I recommend two weeks of rest or significant mileage reduction before beginning the next season. If you begin the next mileage buildup on worn out legs you are setting yourself up for what will be a less than optimal training block.
8. Build long runs gradually: Whether you are training for marathons or shorter races it’s very important that you build these long runs progressively. Raise the volume for a couple weeks then reduce or take a break from at least once a month. The long run will be a staple of training and will solidify your stamina and endurance for faster racing and speed work to come.
9. Address injury immediately: After all this dynamic will be one of the quickest to put an end to your season. Always be keenly aware of aches and pains that you may feel and adjust training accordingly. Take an extra day off or skip sped work sessions to allow your body to recover fully before pushing on.
10. Strength train: A regular strength training program will help to keep you resistant to injury and training consistently. By lifting weights one to three times per week and doing exercises that complement your running you will be stronger and more stable to absorb the stress of your running program.
11. Have a racing schedule: During your base phase it’s key to not race and build your mileage. Once that base is established it’s recommended to have some regular races in your schedule to allow yourself to assess your progress and check on your fitness level as you approach key goal races.
12. Practice how you want to race: Run training, speed work, tempo runs how you would expect to race. Practice even or negative split running in practice so that you are comfortable on race day and can stick to your pacing plan.
13. Energy system variation: Most folks have a couple of workouts that they repeat over and over throughout their training block. To achieve better results it’s recommended that you vary your workout stimulus to facilitate optimal training improvement and physiological adaptation.
14. Fueling on longer runs: As we run we burn our energy resources down at roughly 75-100 calories per mile. In runs lasting for more than an hour it’s essential that you replace those carbohydrate stores to keep your fuel tank full for the upcoming miles ahead.
15. Nothing new on race day: Never try something new on race day! If you haven’t done it in practice then don’t attempt it in competition. Many problems can arise when you switch shoes, clothing, nutrition, or try a new race plan on race day.
16. Compete against yourself: So many folks make the huge mistake of comparing themselves and their training programs to that of their teammates and competitors. This will only lead to discontent and loss of focus on ones training program and objectives. Strategies that work for one athlete may work differently or not at all for another. Some athletes will prosper off of high mileage while others will get same results from less. Be your own athlete and focus on your goals to achieve optimal success.
17. Have a support network: By training with a group you will be more consistent and will be able to conquer your workouts with ease. Sometimes you will need that extra push out the door and someone to discuss and plan race strategies with.
18. Be patient: Running is a sport that takes time to get where you want to go. Results will come to those that are consistent and driven towards the goals that have been set. There will be times of elation and those of deflation as you wind through running seasons. As you become more and more experienced new personal best’s will take a bit more planning and execution to achieve.
19. Eat and sleep a lot: Along with the rigors of a demanding training program comes the need for extra nutrition and sleep. Many athletes neglect their nutrition and fall short on much needed rest. Keep the engine fueled and get those 7-8 hours of sleep per night to achieve optimal results.
20. Reward yourself: When you crush those old PR’s or hit those mileage goals be sure to reward your efforts. It takes a lot hard work and determination to be consistent and continuously improving in your running journey. Have yourself a bountiful dinner or treat yourself to some mixed drinks to celebrate your achievements. You earned it!