When it comes to getting fitter and stronger as a runner, there are several key things to focus on – regular training, good nutrition, sleep and recovery. These are the fundamentals but lets take a deeper look in to some of the more technical aspects of becoming a better, stronger runner. Try to apply as many of them as you can to your own training and hopefully you’ll soon begin to feel fitter and stronger than ever!
Consistancy is key!
I can not stress this one enough! If you want to be the best you need to train as hard as the best and as consistantly as the best. Its that simple. It’s better to run two to three times per week for a shorter time-frame of say, 30 minutes, on a consistent basis than to aim to run five times per week and miss lots of sessions. A stop-start approach won’t do much for your fitness so make sure you stick to your routine and do not deviate from that plan even if you have to reduce your running time, getting a run in is better than no run at all.
Set your own schedule
This one works hand in hand with the above mentioned key. Make sure you set realistic goals and running times so as not to deviate from that plan further down the line. In order for you to keep consistant you need to be realistic when setting that first schedule and over time you can add extra runs as well as longer distances to your schedule. Just make sure that you always move forward and not backwards which you can make sure of by being realistic with your schedule.
Choose different surfaces to run on
Grass and trails are less traumatic on the lower limbs than concrete or tarmac. The treadmill is also cushioned. Mix up the surfaces you run on and give your joints a break. However, if you’ve had knee issues, be aware that, while trails provide softer surfaces underfoot, they can cause rotation of the knee that can lead to pain and stiffness
Slowly but surely
Once again this key element ties in with the first and second key. Even if you feel fit enough to do it, it’s just not wise to jump from three miles to ten and expect to get away with it. Plan your training sessions and gradually increase your time/mileage and set goals as you do it.
In order to make sure you don't back track on all that training and effort you have put in over the days and weeks, making sure you keep that motivation level up is crucial. One way to do this is to join a running community or start running with a partner. Having others to run with you not only helps keep you motivated but also gives you that kick out of bed in the morning because your partner or group is relying on you just as much as you are relying on them.
So I'm sure you can see the pattern emerging now. Basically its all about setting a proper schedule out for yourself, one that you know you can stick to and gradually building up your pace and distance over time while keeping motivated as well as motivating others. Its that simple guys so plan ahead, keep pushing forward and enjoy your runs!