From reducing blood pressure to building healthy bones, jogging has many health benefits. But those who jog for sport may want to boost their performance for the next race. In order to improve running time, you need to take calculated measures.
You may have reached your distance goals and now want to concentrate on improving your time. Achieving this will provide a sense of mental satisfaction but will also give you a much more intense workout.
If the techniques you’re using to train don’t seem to be helping your speed, it may be time to mix it up. Everything from what you put in your body to the types of exercises you do can affect your performance.
Smart Ways to Improve Running Time
To help you out, we’ve put together seven tips that will help you become a faster runner. This may be a perfect chance for you to transform your routine.
1. Improving Your Stride Rate
Stride rate refers to the number of steps you take in a minute. An easy way to figure out your stride rate is to count the number of steps for one leg and then double it. You want to have a total stride rate of about 180.
If you have a low stride rate it probably means that you’re projecting more upward motion as opposed to forward. You could also be using too much braking force with every stride. Both of these problems cause you to waste energy, so you need to achieve good form.
A great way to improve your stride rate is to run to music that’s 180 bpm. You could also download a metronome and stay in rhythm with it as you run. When doing this, remember to take shorter strides and increase your speed gradually.
2. Run with a Partner
Having someone there to push you can provide more inspiration to boost your performance. It turns out it also helps improve running time.
The key here is to find someone who’s just a little faster than you. That way you’ll be working to keep up with them. Run with them regularly and you’ll soon be on their level and your speed will have increased.
If you’re having trouble finding a partner, look for a local running club. This is a great way to meet people who are more experienced and can inspire you to reach your goals. They will likely have a number of other pointers for you.
3. Get Moving with Sprint Workouts
Training with sprint workouts can be very helpful when trying to improve running time. Tracks offer the best setting for sprints. They are flat and have distance markers which will make the workouts easier.
Sprint workouts will help strengthen your fast-twitch muscles. These are the muscles associated with speed and reaction time. When sprinting, remember to run fast but not uncomfortably fast.
A good workout involves walking or jogging the straight sections of the track and then sprinting the curved sections. Alternating slow and fast speeds is a great conditioning technique. By increasing strength with these workouts, you will see faster speeds when jogging long distances.
4. Fuel up
When you’re properly energized, you’ll be able to run faster and longer. And of course, hydration is always important when running. Staying properly hydrated will prevent GI distress and help facilitate a smooth run.
Before you head out, it’s best to stick to low-fiber and low-fat foods. If you don’t want to fill up too much but need the energy, try smoothies or fruits. You want to shoot for 200 to 400 calories.
If you’re planning on a long run or a race, you need to consider carb intake. There are now many energy gels, bars, and chews available for convenient refueling. Try to maintain 30 to 60 carbs per hour to keep your energy up and speed consistent.
5. Hit the Hills
Increasing your leg strength is essential if you want to improve running time. To help with this, incorporate hills into your training. Conquering steep inclines will quickly build muscle and increase lung strength.
When starting out, find easier hills that you’re more comfortable with. Depending on their height, set goals for climbing them. Start with 60 seconds and work your way to 30.
When descending a hill, remember not to come down too hard on your feet. This could be damaging to your feet and knees. If you’re having a hard time finding hills near your regular route, a treadmill can simulate a sharp incline.
6. Cut out Ibuprofen
If you take Ibuprofen for the anti-inflammatory effects after you work out, you could be causing more harm than good. It has been found that anti-inflammatory drugs taken after a race don’t actually help. In fact, runners who take them experience higher levels of post-race inflammation.
This type of medication inhibits your body’s natural response to the physical stress of running. This response is necessary for adaptation while training.
When you’re training to improve running time, you need to adapt to changes in your bones, muscles and cardiovascular system. Cutting out the Ibuprofen will let the body adapt naturally.
7. Set Goals and Meet Them
Any type of improvements made to your performance requires goals. If you’re trying to improve running time for a race, it’s not good enough to exercise. You need to train.
Timing yourself is a great way to set goals and reach them. If you run a 13-minute mile, set a goal to get your time down to 10 minutes over the next few weeks.
Setting goals and then meeting them is a big boost to your confidence. This will give you the motivation to reach your goal. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself running faster and more consistently.
Becoming a faster, better runner is completely up to you. The techniques we’ve discussed are meant to increase your speed and overall performance while running. But in the end, it’s all about how much you want it and how hard you train.
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