With the icy winter mornings behind us, now is the perfect time to change up your training and take your running to the next level with a few simple modifications to your regular routine. Structured changes will challenge your body & force you to adapt to new training stimulus.
SPRING RUNNING TIP 1: Change the tempo.
If you always run at the same pace mix it up with a tempo run starting with your normal easy pace for 20mins, a slightly faster medium pace for another 20mins and then a fast final 20mins (at 5km race). Alternatively sign up for a race (at a distance you’re comfortable with) and aim for a fast fun run or post a new PB. At least 8 weeks out start a speed cycle to get you firing on all cylinders.
SPRING RUNNING TIP 2: Change the terrain.
If you’re very routine in your approach to your running mix up your week. Run along the sand or over a hilly course if you’re normally doing a flat road run, or run your usual loop in reverse to change the outlook. If you have more time for your weekend run plan a trip out on to the trails and challenge yourself with some new terrain (& beautiful scenery!)
SPRING RUNNING TIP 3: Take a rest.
This could be the most beneficial training you do. Rest is when you recover & adapt for the next level. If you’re one of those people on the verge of overtraining, schedule in a rest day or some recovery cross training such as a water run, swim or cycle. Then come out firing for your next speed session.
If you’re new to running (& doing less than 3 times/week) reduce the volume for 1 of your runs and add in some simple leg strengthening exercises.
SPRING RUNNING TIP 4: Count you strides.
A fast leg turnover will generally improve your running efficiency and minimise impact forces, especially for new runners. A rate of >180 steps/min (or >90/min if you’re counting only 1 leg) is optimal. On your next run count your steps (on 1 leg) for 1 minute. Repeat every 10 mins. It will help you tune in to your current turnover and if you find you are down in the 80’s increase your stride rate. Initially this may feel challenging but the improvements in running speed & efficiency will make it well worth it!
SPRING RUNNING TIP 5: "Fartlek"
Fartlek (the Swedish translation of speed play) is great interval style running that yields excellent improvements in cardiovascular fitness. There are hundreds of different Fartlek combinations utilising varying lengths of faster running intervals (between 20s – 3mins) with a short jogging recovery.
Try this Fartlek workout (after your warm up) to boost your running:
3-4 sets of;
- 3mins fast, 90s easy
- 2mins fast, 60s easy
- 1mins fast, 30s easy
- 30s fast, 30s easy
Michael is a passionate recreational runner and outdoor sports enthusiast, the Director of OUTFIT Health + Fitness and Senior Exercise Specialist.
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