If you are training to run a 5k, 10k or half marathon, you just might want to beat your number one opponent: YOU. Sure, the crowds and the like-minded runners around you are motivating, but there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as beating your own race time. Here are a few tips to help you improve your running time and establish that personal best.
Do some speed and interval work. You can do speed work as high intensity interval training—mixing short bursts of speed (or sprints) into your regular run or you can do longer speed work, running at a faster clip for 400 meters or so. If you are outdoors, you can simply pick a spot in front of you and sprint for a certain distance ahead or a certain timeframe, like 15 seconds.
As the saying goes, the way to run faster is to run faster. If you like to follow a specific running plan, go to MapMyRun.com and select a running plan based on your fitness level. The schedule will tell you what days to run, how far to run and at what pace based you’re your current running level. http://www.mapmyrun.com/
(Need an app to time your intervals try: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tabata-pro-tabata-timer/id346432063?mt=8 )
Cross-train. On days that you don’t run, strength train. Opt for plyometric movements for the cardiovascular conditioning and muscle building. Or, work your entire body by surprising it with all of your cross-training options: the elliptical, exercise bike, group exercise or circuit machines.
Run hills. If you want to run your best time, power up some hills. Now don’t go tackling a mountain after only running on a treadmill or flat roads, but opt for rolling hills, a gradual climb and work up to bigger hills. Doing hill work can get you stronger faster, lifting your knees higher, increasing your muscles and your power. Hills develop your aerobic capacity and your leg strength.
Be consistent. A key to running your best time is to run consistently. You change your fitness level when you have a regular running schedule, and if you fall off the running wagon for a while, your fitness level for running falls too. Then you will be spending your time just getting back to where you were before. Build up from your peak instead. When you start running at a good clip, keep it up.
Give these things a try and you’ll most definitely establish a new Personal Best!