It is a commonly held belief that to improve your running performance you need to run, a lot. Wrong. Although every run you do will help to improve your aerobic capacity, many runners find a comfortable pace to train at and stay there, inadvertently inhibiting their ability to go further or faster. By incorporating different forms of exercise into your fitness routine you will not only improve your muscle strength and reduce your risk of injury but you will also make a huge difference to your overall running efficiency.
To get your body working optimally try shaking up your training and including one or two of the following activities:
A great way to get in some cardio but with much lower impact to give your body a bit of break. Cycling can help strengthen the connective tissue of the knees, hips, and ankles reducing your risk of a running injury. Different types of cycling workouts can aid in different parts of running too. Standing on your pedals will imitate the muscle work of running while spinning will improve your cadence.
Balance, posture, core strength and flexibility are vital for runners so incorporating a weekly pilates class will tick all these boxes and help to improve your overall performance. For those among us who don’t stretch enough this is a great one to do.
As a non-weight bearing exercise, swimming is a brilliant activity to give your joints a break while improving your leg strength and aerobic fitness. If you get bored going back and forth try doing a variety of strokes, backstroke is great for opening up the shoulders and chest. If you’re suffering from knee pain avoid breaststroke as the outward kick motion can put added stress on the tendons and ligaments on the inside of the knee.
High Intensity Interval Training – giving you a great full-body workout with a series of short intense repetitions. Classes usually range from 20-30 mins or try some workouts on YouTube at home. You don’t need any equipment or much space and you can strengthen and tone the muscles as you need.
If you would like to find out more about how to start running, improve your running technique, or book some one-to-one training, contact Sally Wilkinson, UKA Running Coach, trail runner, mum and lover of the outdoors at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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