» Training for Improvement

Training for Improvement

“The more I train, the more I realize I have more speed in me.” – Leroy Burrell

Now that you have gotten started, you probably want to know practical ways to improve your running. When I started running, I thought that just the act of running would improve my running. I had a lot to learn.

Your training goal may be to increase your running distance or to run a faster time. To improve your running, you need to increase your strength, lengthen your stride, and speed up the cadence of your legs. This section reviews a training approach that will help you to improve in all of these areas.

Rather than giving you a lot of options and types of drills and having you figure out what to do with them, let’s be practical and figure out a running plan for three days each week. Why three days? Because as a beginning runner, your legs need time to recover in between runs. A rest of 48 hours between runs will help you to improve without injuring yourself or getting burned out.

Monday – Cross-Training

No running. Try cross-training, such as Pilates, body weight exercises, or weight lifting.

Tuesday – Speed Intervals, 30 minute run

Run at a normal pace for about five to ten minutes. Then, run near full speed for a distance that you determine. When you are too tired, slow your pace for a short recovery run. When you feel like running fast again, speed up to near full speed again as long as you can. For your fast intervals, try increasing your cadence rather than using a longer stride. Too long of a stride causes extra stress on your legs and may result in problems like shin splints.

Wednesday – Cross-Training

Once again, no running. Repeat cross-training routine.

Thursday – Tempo Run, 30 minute run

Run each mile faster than the previous mile. Start you first mile at a slow, comfortable pace. For each subsequent mile, try to shave off 15 seconds. This gets more and more challenging the farther you go. If you start off too fast, your final mile will be very difficult, so pick an easy pace to start.

Friday – Cross-Training

Once again, no running. Repeat cross-training routine.

Saturday – Long Run, 60 minute run

Your long run should be about double your short, weekday runs. To run this longer distance, you need to slow down your pace. Do not focus on timing each mile. Just run at a comfortable pace for one hour. Consider running on softer surfaces for your long runs to give your feet and joints a break.

Sunday – Rest

No running. No cross-training. Give your body a break.

That’s it. A three day running plan with alternating cross-training days. Give it a try, and find yourself improving quickly.