Getting a better run time is an awesome goal. After all, it’s one that you can always use to challenge yourself, no matter how long you’ve been running or how fit you’ve become. While it’s not a good idea to push yourself to the point of injury, training strategically can bring some great brag-worthy results.
If you’re trying to figure out how to shorten your best run time without having to add extra miles to the length of your runs, the right tips may be all you need. It takes the right techniques and some great tips to get you there.
Use the following to help you to get your time down in a meaningful way. You’ll shave minutes off your total while still running the same distance.
Get Professional Assistance to Achieve a Better Run Time
Before you take off with any list – including this one – it’s always a good idea to speak with a professional. The best place to start is usually your doctor. This is good advice whenever you decide to make a change to your fitness program, even if you’re thinking about taking a new class or trying a new video.
This may seem like a nuisance, particularly when you’re already running and just want to achieve a better run time. However, it may place the spotlight on some issues you didn’t even know were a problem. You might also find that a professional will be able to give you some additional tips specific to your body type or fitness level and that you can use for even better results. After talking to your doctor, a personal trainer with running experience may be your next best option.
Boost Your Running Efficiency
The majority of runners all fall into the same category of over-striding, which causes them to land hard on their heels when they make contact with the ground. Instead of stretching your stride to its maximum level, try to slightly shorten your stride. The goal is to have your heel strike the ground more lightly below the level of your hips. The result will be to shorten the length of time that your foot is actually in contact with the ground. It will make you feel lighter and springier and will give the experience greater smoothness for improved speed.
Increase the Rate of Your Stride
Time your strides to see how many times you step in a minute. A good runner will usually take ninety steps within thirty seconds, or 180 steps in a minute. Since you’ll be shortening your stride if you are following the first tip, you will need to make up for this by taking more rapid strides.
Improve Your Weekly Workouts
Add greater intensity to one of your workouts per week. For example, do two or three minutes of at least your 5K pace in five or six intervals. By boosting this intensity once per week you’ll boost your training effectiveness.
Use Striders at the End of One of Your Easier Runs
When you’re on one of your easier runs during the week, try to finish with four or five striders, which are runs of 50 to 75 meters in length that are run at your 5K pace. This pace keeps the muscles in your legs used to a faster turnover.
Add Other Types of Workouts
Make sure that you’re keeping your entire body toned, fit, and flexible. Workouts other than running can help you to target extra muscle groups. Try to work in workouts such as spin class, yoga, swimming, and other great whole body workouts.
There is nothing like the extra motivation of competition against other people or against yourself to help you to boost your performance. Try to take part in a race around once every month. The rest of the time, don’t race, focus on training and gradual improvement. If you can’t find an official race in which to participate, have one of your own – even if you’re the only participant. Pick a distance of about 1.5 miles and time yourself, treating it just like a race.
Don’t Forget to Rest
You and your muscles need a day off to rest and recover. You should have one to two recovery days per week, depending on the type of training you’re doing. Running every day will only hold you back. It may seem like you’re working toward a better run time, but without the chance for your muscles to heal, you’ll actually find your progress slows down and may eventually turn backward!
If you don’t want to stay completely still on the days when you’re not running, consider alternative workouts, instead. Pilates, yoga and tai chi are all fantastic options for keeping your muscles toned while enhancing your balance and flexibility. These will all help your running performance by improving your overall fitness and reducing your risk of injury. As a result, your training while running can become more effective for getting a better run time.