When it comes to reaching new running goals, many runners think they need to be running more, running longer, or running faster. Or all of the above.
And if that’s your focus, I guarantee you are not maximizing your potential as a runner and are making it more difficult to achieve your goals.Contrary to popular belief, becoming a better runner requires much more than just #running. Click To Tweet
If you are serious about the desire to improve as a runner, and stay injury free at the same time, here are the 4 key components that need to be a part of any training plan that you will be following if you really want to to improve as a runner.
- Run–Yes, you will need to increase either the number of miles your running or your pace (perhaps both) depending on your goals. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to run if you want to be a better runner, but simply running is not enough.
- Strength Training–Many runners are some combination of being intimidated by strength training, misinformed about the likelihood of “bulking up” due to strength training, or simply don’t think it’s important, but strength training is vital for runners. Strength training helps improve muscle imbalances that are created by running, it builds muscular endurance which will help with your finishing kick, helps to reduce injuries, and can improve your overall running form. Yeah, strength training really is important!
- Eat Real Food–Our bodies need good fuel if they are going to perform at a high level, and the best fuel you can give your body is food that hasn’t been processed and doesn’t contain a bunch of added chemicals. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and if you have access to even fresher foods via farmer’s markets or buying directly from the farmer, that’s even better. To find out if there are farmers/farmer’s markets/CSAs in your area, check out localharvest.org and simply type in your zip code. And remember, the food that goes bad (spoils/rots) is the food that’s good for you!
- Rest–On the days that you’re supposed to rest, you need to rest. Now, I understand that you’re busy and most likely can’t spend your rest day laying on the couch getting waited on hand and foot (isn’t that what kids are for though?), but you need to get off of your feet as much as possible on your rest days. While you’re resting, your body is able to do the cellular repairs needed to help you get stronger and run farther/faster, and if you aren’t resting (and this includes getting enough sleep every night) you’re handicapping the progress you can make.
These four things are all equally important if you want to improve as a runner. And the failure to address any of the four will prevent you from improving to your potential and/or dramatically slow your improvement.
But if you’re addressing each of these areas, you might be shocked at how much progress you really can make, and how quickly the progress can be made!
If you need help incorporating any of these pillars into your routine, please set up a free call with me and I will do my best to help you get started on a plan to help you get to your running goals!