Majell Backhausen is an Endurance Coach and Elite Athlete for Salomon, Suunto and Compressport, and an an advocate for simplicity, patience and longevity in the sport of trail running and outdoor pursuits. He has coached such names as Martina Valmassoi, Alexis Berg, Dinesh Tamang, and Don Channon.
If you're training for a race or taking on a physical challenge, you need to improve your fitness through consistent, well structured and healthy training methods. But once you've done all you can to increase your fitness, consider these tips to get better at running and reach new goals.
The following running tips are broken up into three sections.
1. The Change. This is the step you have to make to get better at running. It will often highlight a difference between your current routine or practice. We often have negative or unhelpful practices or thought-processes without realising it. The Change is a glass of water to the face to show you where you need to step up.
2. The Reason. Knowing why is just as important as making the change. It can't just be 'to get better at running'. The why has to be specific to the change you make and will drive your motivation in the longterm.
3. The Caution. Just as in any sport, such as swimming or golf, there is a multitude of changes you can make that will potentially improve your running. The key is not to take on too many at once and to take things slowly. Baby steps now will have you making giant leaps in your running style later.
Increase your running training through distance or time in a low aerobic state
- The Change: run more kilometres in training or include extra low-aerobic work such as cycling, swimming, or low impact movement. Consider swapping one run for low impact aerobic work.
- The Reason: upping your time training is the best way to improve your aerobic capacity, which increases running stamina (a fancy way to say how long you can sustain race pace).
- Caution: be patient and measured in the increase. Do not make large rapid increases. To get better at running, aim for two or three extra kilometres per week (or 10–20 minutes extra) to begin with.
Add time to your run rather than shaving it off
- The Change: strive to make your easy runs feel very easy. In fact, take an additional 30 seconds to a minute per kilometre off your current easy run pace and relax.
- The Reason: taking it even easier on your current easy runs will allow you to recover better. In turn, you'll be able to run harder on your hard training days, and encourage a bigger adaptation in your strength and fitness.
- Caution: be confident in your recovery practice and don't let social competitiveness force you to do otherwise.