Most runners at some point or other want to run a little faster. Whether it is a sub 5 hour marathon or sub 90 min half-marathon, we all (well most) want to push the limits at least once.
What I find tends to happen when this need for speed arises, is runners immediately start thinking track workouts, HIIT, hills till you drop, puke or go home – the thought process being, the closer I come to death, the faster i am going run. (or the faster you are going to end up over-trained or injured?)
Now any seasoned runner will proudly share details of many grueling, eye popping workouts that made them faster, but before hurtling headlong down that road, which without the basics is likely to dead end at the physios, make sure you are taking care of FIRST THINGS FIRST:
Some questions to tick before adding high intensity training –
- Are you regularly running regularly?
To improve your running, you want to be doing at least 4 runs a week, every week .
- Are you running long?
Once running regularly, doing a run of 1 hour or longer once a week is your next step towards being a stronger, faster runner. Get the lowdown here.
- How efficient is your running technique?
Getting some basic tips from a coach on how to use less effort with every step will not only help you run faster, but also reduce injury risk and make running overall more enjoyable.
- How mobile are you?
A stuck body is going nowhere slowly and is also at high risk of injury, which means training interrupt. Move free.
- Are you getting out of your comfort zone (sometimes)?
Before doing complicated interval workouts, first challenge yourself by upping the pace on sections of your regular runs, or run different challenging routes and distances.
If you ticked all of the above then you are ready to Pass Go, but watch out for these common mistakes:
- Hard training that is not specific to your running goal
With the high intensity fitness industry boom, there are many fancy programs promising great rewards. Even running magazines are full of great get fast routines. The question you need to ask is, “How is the session preparing my body for the specific physical demands of my running goal?”
- Doing too much too soon
Suddenly putting a very big load on your body that you are not conditioned for, is counter productive. You will do all that hard work only to loose it when you are sidelined with injury or illness.
- Not allowing enough time for recovery
Hammering your body hard day in and day out is the equivalent of driving at high speed in reverse. See The Principle of Overload
Good luck and let me know how you get on.