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I have written a blog on my top 10 tips on how to run efficiently and therefore help you get PB’s and improve your running. This is what I have learnt over the years from experience and from my coaching courses. It’s not in depth, as I can go on for ever, so it is a brief overview. I hope it helps you to reach your goals.
Firstly and most importantly is your technique - this is so important in being able to run efficiently, the problem is most runners ignore this or just simply start running without realising this. The most efficient way is to be tall and arms to be at a 90 degrees angle with them being relaxed your shoulders. This allows you to take in more oxygen and use less energy. A good coach will help you with your technique or at running clubs. However an easy solution is to get someone to film you while you run. You can then analyse it with good form and technique videos from the internet.
Drills are very important and this is neglected by many runners. You can notice runners neglecting this. Before any sessions, knee raises and walking lunges can help with your technique and form. There is a wide range of drills which you can see on the internet. This will improve form and make you use less energy. My favourite is knee raises and then doing strides with high knees. Walking lunges with a 90 degrees arm action is another good one to improve technique. You don’t need to do too much, just a few minutes at the start of each run.
Working on strength is very important, you would be surprised the amount of people who do not do any strength training. Doing strength training such as core work and glutes not only keeps the injuries to a minimal but does in fact make you stronger, faster and most importantly keeps the injuries to a minimal. This makes you stronger so when your body is fatigued in training/races you can still produce good times as your body will be used to this. Plenty of core work such as press ups, sit ups and planks will work a treat. Clams, lunges and squats work well for your glutes and lower body.
6. Have a plan
Having a plan and structure on what sessions you have to do is important in keeping focus and the key to being motivated and improving yourself. Having any sort of plan will measure your progress and what works and does not work for you. Most people go hard too much so having a structure will help you improve. Having a period where you train then having an easy week every so often is vital. I work in 6-9 week blocks depending on the time of my season. I always have plenty rest days and easy weeks in my training regularly. So for example in a 6 week period of training I will slowly ramp up the training and intensity, then maintain it for 6 weeks, while not over doing it. I then have an easy week with two rest days with training all stripped back. However I still keep the intensity up but for example if I was doing 4 mile reps before I will do 2 mile reps.
Don’t train all year round, your body needs to recover and runners are awful for this. Having a week or two off in a quiet period will help your body recover. You will come back refreshed and could even be running quicker a few weeks later. But remember if you are injured that does not count as full rest.
7. Long easy runs
Long easy runs are your butter on your bread. Long runs make you more efficient, if you do not over train and keep going out hard. Most people go wrong in this area and always run race pace in their long runs. What this does is make you over train and therefore cause injuries. By slowing yourself down and running at 60% to 70% of your heart rate max you should not feel tired and in theory be able to train again the following day. By doing this you are able to make yourself more efficient and go harder on your speed sessions.
Stretching regularly will help make you more efficient, maintain form and keep the injuries away. Stretching after training and races is very important; I stretch every morning, before bed and after a training session.
It is vital to keep hydrated at all times, not only is it a source of food for your muscles it keeps cramps and injuries away. I never run dehydrate as that will cause problems - drinking plenty of water helps my muscles strong and flush out any lactic and soreness.
Highly recommend you get a gait analysis to see if you are running in the right shoes. This can be done in running shops such as the Bay Running Shop and they even do it online too. By doing this you will discover if you are a neutral runner or over pronate. This will keep the injuries to a minimal and also can aide to a performance gain.
All these parts are like a puzzle and when implemented and put into place it makes you a stronger and more efficient runner. Have a go and see what happens.