7 Habits to Unlock the Running Speed Within You
Trying to find running speed is a complicated effort. Virtually every runner who laces up a pair of running shoes wants to run faster at some point. If you just did your first marathon in 5 hours maybe you want to break 4:30. If you have already qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona for 2018 maybe your goal is to run 3:10 which is 10 minutes faster than you have ever run off the bike. Our son started running when he was 12. Running faster didn’t really matter to him until he reached high school. In high school they run the 1600 meters. His first goal was to break 5 minutes. Then he wanted to break 4:40. His final goal that he worked towards was 4:25.
If your goal is a time improvement in 2018 let’s look at 7 habbits of the best runners around the world that you can do starting January 1st.
The 7 Habbits
- Rest – Let’s face it you don’t get enough rest. You are constantly engaged in work, on your phone or just plain stressing out about your run the next day. Turn off screens an hour before bed, get into a breathing or meditative practice. Sleep 7 or more hours a night. Your body recovers at rest.
- Use Your Arms – Most athletes I see in a race either don’t use or stop using their arms. It’s most evident on hills where runners are struggling up a hill with their arms either at their sides or tucked in front of their chest. During your training, practice pulling yourself up the hill with your arms. During your race use what you’ve practiced. On the big hills of the Wildflower Triathlon or 70.3 St. George you could make up minutes by simply remembering to use your arms.
- Engage Mobility Every Day – Mobility is the catch phrase for foam rolling and stretching. Use all the tools you have (foam roller, lacrosse ball, stick) to find the really tight spots from your shoulders to your toes. Work those tight spots out then stretch the muscles you just worked on. Do it daily.
- Slow down – Lydiard developed LSD (Long Slow Distance) training. Mafetone uses the heart rate monitor and a formula to set the upper limit of your aerobic capacity. Brian McKenzie says breath through your nose only. All are saying the same thing, you have to slow down to speed up. There is a group of runners close to home that meets 5-6 days to run together. They hit each running store group run, and they have their own they created. It doesn’t matter what day I’ve run with them, I can’t hang with them. They drop me every time. I’ve never had one of them beat me in a race. It’s not because I’m so darn fast, it’s because they run way too hard in training and actually slow down on race day.
- Incorporate drills – Every runner I help gets the same first question. What’s your running background. If they tell me they started in high school this is always just a refresher. If they started running later in life this is the #1 thing they can do to find free speed. High School running coaches rarely talk running form. They have their runners do drills at the start of every practice. Those drills done over and over teach the runner proper running form. By the way, every athlete coming to running late usually has some experience with drills. I was working with a woman who is a golf teaching pro and triathlete. The first thing I asked her to do when we met was to show me the golf drills she prescribes. Then I showed her running drills. Search on You Tube for running drills. Find a video you like, do the drills as often as you can. Every day to start your run is best. Doing drills is the best way for you to find running speed. Do them before every run next year and you will get faster.
- Do Hill Repeats – All year long. Find 5-6 different hills to do repeats. Find a long flat hill, a short moderate hill, a short steep hill, a long steep hill and a couple on trails. Do repeats of 20 seconds to 5 minutes all year long. Use your arms to pull you up and your butt to push you up. You’ll become a very strong runner.
- Strength – Most runners don’t like to do strength work for fear of adding body weight. Hogwash! You can get strong without adding body weight and a strong runner is durable and a durable runner can absorb the training you are doing to become faster. Weak runners can’t absorb the workload and either get injured quickly or burn out from the effort. Get strong to find running speed.
The best runners in the world do these 7 things. Watch the Mo Farah videos on You Tube and you’ll see all 7 of these. Even they are looking for mor running speed.