With almost every process, getting started is the hardest part. Running, of course, is a process–a day’s run is a process and building up a routine is a process. Once you’ve made running a permanent part of your schedule, though, you’ve certainly tackled the most difficult obstacle. Now, you’re looking for some easy ways to improve your workout in the process of becoming the best runner you can be. Here are some simple tips to keep you on that course toward reaching your goals.
Set a realistic and malleable time goal
There’s no doubt that if you’re concerned about efficiency, you’re concerned about timing, too. First, set a time goal that you’re realistically able to meet and then work to do so. With a competitive mindset, you’ll stay motivated not only to finish a run, but also to beat your last time. Once you’ve met your goal–and after rewarding yourself, of course–set a new, faster goal. A little friendly competition with yourself is the best catalyst for improvement.
Small and mighty strides
It’s logical to assume a longer stride covers more distance, getting you to that much-desired finish line quicker. However, according to Runner’s World, a smaller stride is stronger and more efficient. Long strides create a surplus of upward velocity, which means you’re forced to exert more energy. We need all the energy we can get, so be conscientious of energy efficiency and take smaller steps.
Remember your whole body
It’s not all about the legs. Strengthening your core and arms is crucial to improving your run. This doesn’t mean you have to dedicate long hours to body building in the gym, but you’d be surprised by what just a little extra work after a run can do for you. After your next distance run, try some sit ups, side crunches, planks, pushups, or other simple free weight exercises. Power from more of the body will put more power into your run.
Try new things
Though having a routine is important and comfortable, for a runner, there’s a point where some changes become necessary. First, a worn down shoe will only bring you down, too, so aim to replace your trainers every 300 miles. Also, remember that trying new things is critical to staying mentally engaged. Be sure to vary your route, and maybe try running with a buddy or with a different playlist. Maintaining a healthy mentality is half the battle, so by switching it up, you may find an improvement in focus and speed.
Reaching your big personal goals certainly doesn’t come overnight, as running is a process. Keep improving your strength, speed, and efficiency to get yourself on that faster track to becoming the best possible runner you can be.