Improve Running Performance - 5 Quick Running Tips Guaranteed to Improve Your Running

What do you do when you want to improve running performance?

Follow a few of my running tips of course... :)

Well, seriously, quite often I get questions of runners trying to improve their running performance.

And often I can help them out with similar advice.

Look for example at a recent e-mail I received :

"Hi Dominique,

I run a mile three times a week.
In the beginning I ran it faster every time.
Lately I am stuck and can't seem to improve anymore.
What can I do to improve my running ?

Thanks in advance.

The runner in this e-mail makes a few mistakes. That's okay, he is learning. And I was able to help him out by providing him with a few of my running tips.
Best Running Tips

Improve Running Tip #1 : Run Further to Run Faster

This runner runs a mile.
Every workout.

Never more.

Leaving him completely out of breath.

Not being able to do more.

Imagine if he built up his mileage.

To three miles per workout. Five miles per workout. Add in an even longer run getting to, say, ten miles. Over time. Not immediately, but building up to it over a number of months.

A mile would suddenly not be that far anymore.

I bet he'd be doing that one little mile a lot faster.

That's one of the first keys when you want to improve your running: run further and develop your base, your basic stamina/endurance.

Click these pics for some more ideas about base/easy running and running more:

base running drills
increasing mileage safely

Improve Running Tip #2 : Vary Speed

This runner only knows one speed. Top speed.
There are incredible benefits in running at different speeds.

Basic running training identifies a number of different speeds at which to do your running training:

Base Running Speed
This is the most important running speed.

It's easy/slow running.

Many people don't like working out at this speed.

It's too slow. Too dull. Too boring.

But at this speed you train the heart to transport more blood and oxygen with every heart beat. You train the running muscles to more effectively use the oxygen in the blood they get from the heart.

This speed should be the cornerstone of your running program.

Tempo Running Speed
Tempo running changes your lactic acid threshold, so that lactic acid builds up less rapidly in your running muscles and gets transported out more quickly.

I am not going to go into all the scientific detail, I'll try to keep it high level. See lactic acid as the by-product of exercise. When your body produces only a little lactic acid (at low speed), your body can remove it from the muscles without a problem.

However, when you run faster and faster, more lactic acid gets produced. At some point your body will not be able to remove it out of the muscles quickly enough and the lactic acid starts building up.

When lactic acid builds up in your legs and you can't get rid of it in time, your legs get really, really heavy.

That's basically what happens when you run at a high speed for even more than five minutes or so. At some point your legs will start to drag. It's the lactic acid doing its work.

If base running is most important, tempo running is a close second. Doing base running and tempo running alone, many of us would be able to set personal records on all distances of 1 mile and up.

quote from steve prefontaine

Interval Running Speed
At this speed you improve the amount of oxygen your running muscles can consume.

So, where base running makes your heart stronger, pumping more blood (and oxygen) to your muscles with every heart beat, interval running makes your running muscles work more efficiently.

Interval running is out of the three just discussed probably the hardest one to do. I really dread doing intervals most of the time.

I know they help make me fast. And afterwards you have got a real sense of accomplishment. But they do hurt a bit! That's why you should follow the advice I provide in the above link. It makes interval running just that little bit easier.

Covering all these different speeds in your training is necessary to keep on improving your running.

Improve Running Tip #3 : Running Economy

In addition to doing the above running workouts, it pays off to focus a little bit on your running economy.

Your running economy is the amount of energy you use with every step you take.

When you use less energy with every step, you can go further.

Now, we take a lot of steps when running. A 1% improvement pays off over the long haul. This is not the page to be overloading you with a massive number of drills and all the ins and outs of running technique.

If there is only one thing you do to improve your technique, let it be by adding some strides to the end of your easy runs. Two or three times per week is great. Strides help you practice a little bit each easy run with fast paced running and is especially good for working on turnover of your feet and translating power to speed.

Learn more about strides here:

Running Strides

improve running

Improve Running Tip #4 : Periodization

There is a time for each type of running training. When preparing for a race, you need to know the concept of periodization.

This is cutting up your training in different building blocks. Starting with base building you then progress to faster workouts closer to the race. Finish with a good taper and you'll be optimally prepared for race day.

Improve Running Tip #5 : Do More Than Running Training Alone

Best Running Tips
More than running training alone improves performance.

Running training is incredibly important to improve your running.

But it's not the only necessary component.

Now, back to the runner in the e-mail. He runs three times per week.

Does he do any cross-training?

Does he consider his diet and stay away from junk food?

Just a few aspects which certainly do have their impact on how fast you are and factors to look at when trying to improve running performance.

These five simple running tips combined give you a good basis to start of from. So, keep in mind:

  • Build up your mileage

  • Vary your speed

  • Work on your running economy

  • Know when to do which workout (periodization)

  • Do not only focus on running training

  • I hope this helps you in becoming a faster runner who can constantly keep on improve running performance.

    Some Other Pages You Might Enjoy

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    race conversion calculator
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