How to reach your running potential

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Are you are runner? Or are you thinking about getting more into running? 

Have you struggled with running in the past? Does your body not quite ‘love it’?

>>> A few tweaks and additions to your running program or training might be just what you need to make yourself a better runner and to help you reach your running potential!

Progressive Load & Consistency

Progressively loading your running is one of the most important things to remember in order to avoid any injuries. This is especially important if you are starting from scratch with your running. Don’t expect yourself to be able to run a marathon straight away, it takes time to build up your ability, so give yourself time.

A running program is important; 8-12 weeks is an appropriate period of time too slowly increase load and your body actually needs this time to properly build sufficient strength.

Consistency is another important factor, and often the hardest one to adhere too. To get our body working optimally we need to run regularly, while progressively loading each week. The frequency and intensity will vary depending on your goals, however 2-3 runs per week increasing distance and time will be an easy ‘baseline’ to ensure consistency and manage load.

Recovery

Rest days, sleep and proper nutrition are just as important as getting your running ‘km’s’ up!

Lighter easier runs are useful for your muscles to recover and to avoid stiffening up and being too sore to progress your longer harder runs. Days off in between runs while becoming best friends with your mobility ball and foam roller will be crucial to keeping you on track. 

Don’t underestimate the power of a good nights sleep on the body, as well as nutritious food that is sufficient in fuelling you for before and after your runs. – if proper nutrition is a grey area for you we advise you see a dietician.

Be SMART & get SPECIFIC

Set ‘SMART’ goals for yourself. 

Goal setting is a great way to keep motivated. Picking a running event to work towards is a useful way to plan a training program to give yourself enough time to prepare. Long-term goals are great, however short-term goals are also important. 

If the running event is a long distance trail run up and down hills your training will have to ensure that you specifically train for the terrain as well as the distance. Your body will need to be conditioned to runing on asphalt if thats what your run will be on. Practicing your running on different surfaces is also another way to challenge your body as well as get it stronger. Try a beach run on sand or some uphill sprints. 

Varying your distance, speed and intensity is also important throughout your running journey. Sometimes you need to go slower in order to get faster. On the flip side, even if your event is a longer distance run, sprint work is imperative. It shouldn’t be all longer tempo runs, short burst sprints will make you a stringer runner over a longer distance. This sort of training helps to increase the recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibres, improve neuromuscular control, increase your VO2 max and makes your stride more efficient.

Footwear

An easy way to better your running – get a new pair of shoes! Be assessed, and get the right shoe for your feet, and if you are clocking up a lot of miles during your training don’t forget shoes do wear down. Unfortunately, depending on amount of use, your sneakers may not be giving you enough support after only 6 months. Replacing shoes when they need it, or switching between two shoes can help make them last longer!

Build strength

Last but definitely not least – from a Physio point of you this is the element that is essential and often not done.

Strength work is so necessary in your running program, it shouldn’t be all running! If we think about the movement on running, it involves single leg stance and push of phases, its all done on one leg. This means we need to be stronger on one leg.

Your strength work should include single leg exercises and target glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves – don’t forget the calves!

If you want a specific strength program to compliment your running please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Nick Hunter

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