Recently I shared some tips on how to become a faster runner and help you improve your race times. Here I share the rest of my running tips.
This one may seem obvious but making sure you are well hydrated not only on race day but during your training is key to getting faster. If you show up to practice or set out to do a distance run not adequately hydrated, you will feel like crap and compromise your run because your body doesn’t have enough electrolytes and salts to keep you going. I recommend shooting for at least two to three liters of water a day, especially if the weather is hot and you have a longer run planned. The amount of sweat you lose will be critical to your performance in practice or the day of the race. Hydrate well the day before and the morning of your runs to make sure you get the most out of your training.
7. Get some good sneakers
This one is a very personal choice, but I would highly recommend going to a running shop where you can not only try on the sneakers but run around a bit in them. Try different brands and keep in mind what feels good for other people, may not feel good for you. Everyone has different feet and different ideas of comfort. Shop around a bit and make sure you try them on and RUN in them.l Most running stores will allow you to take a little job around the store or some will have treadmills. Finding the right fit for you and making sure you replace your sneakers after a certain amount of mileage has been put on them, will help keep you supported throughout your training and on race day.
8. Get yourself a good watch to track your miles
If there’s one way to get faster, it’s awareness. Being aware of your miles, foot by foot, is very important to learning your body and getting faster. Since running is a very mental sport, we can easily get lost in our thoughts or psyche ourselves out. Many times, we can be running thinking we are running a lot faster or slower and it can very well NOT be the case. Having a watch is the most accurate ways to track your workouts and keep an eye on yourself in real time. Knowing when you should pick it up or slow it down is important to learning your body, trusting your internal clock and becoming faster.
9. Stop running with music
I know this one may not be your favorite, and by no means do you have to do this. But going back to learning your internal clock; on race day, if you will be running with music, then by all means, go ahead and continue to train with your music. I understand on distance days it can get boring. So yes, running with music can be helpful. I find that when you are in the early stages of running and trying to understand what a six minute mile feels like in your breathing, in your lungs and in your body, not having distractions like music is very important. Until you get to a point where you can do repeats consistently at a given 5-10 second range apart, I would recommend not wearing headphones. Making the mind/body connection and being aware of how you are feeling and what your breathing is a part of the sport and is a big part of the strategics behind learning and mastering what your race pace is and what it feels like.
10. Vary your terrain and make sure you are running on similar ground to which your race will be on
When it comes to the actual surface you are training on, it’s very important to train on similar if not the same surface you are going to be racing on. For example: I have seen athletes many times do most of their training on a treadmill and then go outside for the first time and get absolutely crushed by mile one. They are shocked at how different and how much more challenging it is to run outside. A treadmill set at 0% incline is actually a slight decline and not at all similar to most outside terrain. Not only do you have uneven surfaces when you run outside, but you also have inclines and declines which completely change the game when it comes to running. If you want to run the fastest you possibly can on race day, you need to be running in the same training conditions. That means similar weather and terrain are crucial to prepare your mind and body to break some records and set some new PR’s.
11. Get yourself a coach
When all else fails or if you want to make sure you cover all your bases, hiring a running coach who has experience and who can look at your training and give you good critical feedback is always a good idea.
I always say, even every coach, needs a coach. There is someone out there who always knows more than you so it’s important to stay open and stay humble. When it comes to racing, there is one thing that trumps all; experience. Having a coach with their own experience who has coached multiple runners is something that can definitely help you become faster. Not only can you learn from them, but having someone in your corner rooting for you helps with accountability and pressure to step up your game which in the end, may not be such a terrible thing.