Running is essentially jumping from one leg to the other over an extended period of time. Doing plyometrics can help you build explosive power that will help you push past plateaus and crush your next race. Here are some examples of plyometrics, Box jumps, hopping lunges, jump squats and jump rope. Add these exercises in your program and you will see major improvements in your race pace. Here is a great video that shows 23 different plyo variations.
Adding hills to your workout is a great way to open up your stride and strengthen your glutes. A great way to do this is to pick a course that has a lot of hills. Try to choose a route that is about 3-5 miles in length. You will see bigger gains running hills over running on a flat surface alone. Try to do a hill workout once or twice a week. You can also do a hill workout on a treadmill. Set the treadmill to a 5 to 7 degree incline and cycle from 3.5 up to 10 mph, I like to walk for 2 minutes and run for 1 minute, try to put in maximal effort during the running phase. After doing this for a few weeks you will start to see your heartrate come down during your longer runs and you will have a lot left for the end of the race.
Build Core Strength
Building core strength is a great way to improve running economy and will help you to shave some time off your PR. The core helps keep the body stable while doing many movements including running. Some runners look like they are putting minimal effort into their movement, they stand up straight and look strong with each strike of the ground. This is because they took time to build up their core.
Here is one of my blogs that can get you started with core training.
If you have a few pounds to lose then it can slow your pace down. Imagine running with a vest on with extra weight. This would cause you to run slower right? The thing is body fat is almost the same thing, it’s basically a weight vest that provides no value to your running. Fat is a fuel source but we have plenty for a race even at a lower weight. Losing weight can be challenge but so training for a race. If you’re training for a race half the battle is already won. Running 5 miles burns up to 700 calories and that is more than enough to lose a pound a week if you do this 5 times a week. One mistake that many runners make is they will eat more after a run cancelling out the benefits that the run gave you in the first place. Try tracking your calories and keeping up with your runs and you should see a loss of 1 to 1.5 pounds a week.
Doing squats with weight can help build up your legs to crush your runs. When you constantly do squats it will build up the muscles that you use for running and will also help improve your core strength. Make sure that your increasing the weight every week and try to squat deep to improve range of motion. Doing this exercise will help improve motor recruitment which will give you more power during your runs. When you’re just starting try doing squats with just your body weight. After you gain some experience try adding some dumbbells and when you’re ready try using a barbell and adding more weight ever week. If you are new to weight lifting you should hire a trainer to help you learn the movement before lifting heavy weight.
Here is a video to help you get started with the squat.
Here is a video to get your started with a barbell squat.
Enjoy these tips and I hope that they help you reach your full potential. Running is challenging but a lot of fun. It’s always fun to run a little a little faster during a race. Have fun at your next race and keep coming back for tips.