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  • Writer's pictureOllie King

HOW TO RUN HARDER, BETTER AND FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

It's fantastic to see so many people embracing running as a form of exercise since lockdowns began. Getting outdoors, boosting dopamine levels and improving your physical and mental health can have a dramatic effect on your life.


But, have you noticed a few niggles and pains creeping in?


I took up running around 18 months ago, running my first competitive 10k just before the first national lockdown in March 2020. I want to pass on some of those tips to help you get the most out of your running during this period and keep you active and help prevent injury.


QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY

Motivation is fantastic but if you're feeling like you're running yourself into the ground (quite literally) then maybe it's time to restructure your training. Perhaps you could try...

  • Running shorter distances more often (2k-5k)

  • Running longer distances infrequently (5k+)

Set yourself a goal for the week in terms of time or distance, divide this up accordingly and increase by 10% each week. There will, of course, be trial and error but getting to know your body is essential.


ACTIVATE BEFORE YOU RUN

Hands up if you've ever started running to discover the first five minutes feel like you're dragging yourself along? Experiment with the following...

  • Foam Rolling

  • Tennis/Lacross Ball Activation

  • Resistance Band Activation

  • Static Stretching

  • Dynamic Stretching

  • Brisk Walk

What works for one person won't always work for someone else, you need to find what works for you. Be mindful and activate your body.

SLOW IT DOWN, TAKE SMALL STEPS, REAP THE REWARDS

It can be incredibly tempting as a new runner to start going 'flat out' straight away, only to discover that a few minutes later you're laid out on the pavement gasping for air.


Your main aims when running should be able to hold and maintain your pace for the duration of your run, this is where you have to be mindful of your breathing, pace and technique.


Working on all these aspects of your running will leave you feeling fulfilled after every workout you do no matter what the distance.


If you are brand new to running maybe you could consider a couch to 5k? I recommend these programs to my clients all the time whether they're new to running or coming back to it after some time away.


The truth, you're never too experienced to not take a step back and assess your technique and iron things out. Always be learning.


TRAINERS

Footwear is massively important when it comes to running. Depending on your running type, you may need a different type of trainer to run in.


Your running type is referred to as pronation. In my experience, buying the wrong trainers left me frustrated, injured and took the complete joy out of running. I don't want this to happen to you.


Experiment with different brands. Decide what works best for you. If you're unsure, have an expert assess your running style and do a gait analysis.


In the long run this will save you a lot of time and money. Plus, it means you get to buy new fancy shoes. Winner.


NUTRITION & SLEEP

It's not how hard you work, it's how you recover.


If you're going to push your body hard, you need to give it the sleep and nutrition to effectively recover for your next run or workout.


I know it's tempting to order and pizza and binge on the latest Netflix release, of which there is, of course, a time and place for. But, to get the best out of yourself you need to optimise these areas by cooking your meals as much as possible and getting an early night.


I guarantee if you optimise sleep and nutrition for the next seven days after reading this article you'll perform better during exercise. Recovery is king, don't let your hard work go to waste.

Go out and enjoy yourself and if you take on board and implement all the above you'll be well on your way to getting the most out of your training sessions.


Take care,

Ollie


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