TIPS & TRICKS TO HELP YOU PR YOUR NEXT RACE
Running a 5K, 10K, or marathon? Here are a few tips to help you reach your goal in your next race!
MAKE A SCHEDULE
While the traditional running cycle might be 7 days, try making a cycle that works best for you. If your weekends are packed with work and travel, try a 5-day cycle during the week. If you have a very predictable schedule and time on the weekends for a long run, stick with the traditional 7-day cycle. If your schedule varies from week to week, a 10-day cycle might be best for you. Every cycle should include: at least one speed workout, at least one long run, a couple intermediate-distance runs at a fast pace, some recovery runs, and at least one rest day (rest for 5 day cycles are on the weekends). Try to avoid doing hard work-outs on back to back days to prevent overworking and injuring yourself.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
If elite runners all shared one motto, it might be “quality over quantity.” Put simply, if you practice running slowly, you’re going to excel at running slowly. Every run should be both a physical and a mental challenge. While you should start slowly and take it easy during recovery runs, push yourself to a solid tempo pace by the end.
ONE WORD- VARIETY
Once you’ve laid down the groundwork, you need to get out of your comfort zone. The easiest way of doing this is by adding variety to your workouts. Even if you run the same 4-mile loop every day, there are ways to mix things up. Try fartlek running. Swedish for “speed play,” fartleks require runners to run fast for specific intervals and then slow down to a comfortable pace. Try any of these fartleks or make up your own:
1-5 Pyramid: Slow 1 minute, fast 1 minute, slow 2 minutes, fast, 2 minutes, slow 3 minutes, fast 3 minutes, slow 4 minutes, fast 4 minutes, slow 5 minutes, fast 5 minutes, slow 4 minutes, fast 4 minutes, etc. back to 1 minute for a total of 50 minutes.
Fast 2 minutes, recover 1 minute x 10.
Regular intervals: Fast 10 minutes, recover 10 minutes x 3.
You can also try tempo runs, which requires runners to start fast, run the middle segment fast, and finish slowly. Or you can try a negative split, which requires runners to run the second half faster than the first. If you never ran the same run twice, your race times will surely benefit.
TOSS IN SUPPLEMENTAL WORKOUTS
Power is an under-appreciated aspect of running. One to two times per week, you should include squats, lunges, calf-raises, and plenty of core work to supplement your running. The “King of the Mile” Hicham El-Guerrouj would do 300-400 sit-ups 2-3 a week as part of his training regiment. Running is an exercise of staying tall, so a strong core and sturdy stabilizing muscles will keep you going faster for longer.
BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT PR GOALS
It’s important to realize that anything can happen on race day. The weather, the lack of sleep, the cold you’ve been fighting off, and the crowds can all effect your clock time. Have two performance goals before you start: one for good conditions and one for bad conditions. When conditions are perfect, set your sights high, otherwise be realistic.