Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 Ways to Become a Better Runner (Part 1)

Runners are constantly looking to get fitter and faster.  From the high school athlete that just joined the cross country team to the "weekend warrior" that is training to complete his or her first marathon, we are all looking for tips and tricks to get just a little bit quicker than we have been before.  Here are 10 things that I feel can help out runners of all skill levels.  Now, these are by no means the only ten tips that can drop your times, and they aren't ranked in any particular order either.  There are a lot of variables that affect training and racing.  Finding out what works for you is part of the joy of the sport!

10. Love the sport!

Why do something you don't enjoy?  That sounds like a miserable life, if you ask me.  A happy athlete usually makes for a successful athlete, regardless of who you are.  There are so many reasons to love running.  For example, I love the sport because I'm a highly competitive person and I enjoy racing to see what I can achieve.  And, going out for a run is always a great stress reliever for me.  Find what you love about the sport and use that as a daily reminder as to why you get up and hit the roads, track, or trails.

9. Keep a workout log

Writing down your daily training schedule each week is one of the most underestimated aspects of training.  Keeping a log allows you to not only see your progress over time, but you can also use it to compare past training and fitness levels.  It wasn't until after college that I even thought about keeping a log, but it is something that I now do on a daily basis.  I am able to gain confidence from seeing what types of workouts I did in years past and how I was competing at that time.  I also use my log as a tool to analyze myself as an athlete.  Each block of training affects me in different ways and I can observe the effects in my logged workouts from past years.

8. Do more than just run

Running is great and all.  But sometimes it's good to mix things up!  Swimming, biking, and hopping on the elliptical (or in my case, ElliptiGO!) are great ways to work the cardiovascular system while also resting your joints from the pounding of running.  Lifting weights is another great activity that you can add to your training routine.  Many of us have imbalances that we may not be able to see or feel but working with a trainer in the gym can keep us strong and healthy.  Keeping your body balanced and fit can help to decrease the risk of injuries that will disrupt training.

7. Ask questions

There are thousands of training programs, coaches, and athletes at your disposal at the click of a button.  Ask us questions!!  Personally, I enjoy giving advice to runners and helping out in any way that I can.  As I was introduced to running, I tried my best to become a student of the sport by reaching out to athletes and coaches to gain some tips and tricks.  It allowed me to learn not only what I am doing, but also why I am doing it and how it makes me a better athlete!  That's why I try to make myself available to anyone who has questions (email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com)!

6. Put yourself in an environment that will work best for you.

If you want to be the best that you can be, you need to make sure that you're surround yourself with people and training that will fit your needs and style.  There are countless people out there that have high goals and expectations but are not willing to do what is best for them.  Do you enjoy running with people? Join a running club.  There are thousands of them out there.  Personally, I love running with other people because they help push me to new levels and make the training easier to bear.  Clubs and teams also make it easier for you to be accountable for your training.  You don't want to let your teammates down by missing runs and workouts so putting yourself in the team environment can help push you out the door on those tough training days.  However, if you work better alone, then do it!

Different coaching styles also benefit some athletes over others.  Most of the time, you can choose what type of coach you train with, whether you are a selecting a collegiate program or a new training group.  You don't need to be a part of the "it" team if there is another coach that will get more out of you as an athlete.  

(To be continued next week...)

That's all for this week!  I'll post the remainder of the list next week.  Before I go, I want to give a shout out to the College of New Jersey Cross Country teams.  Both the men and women captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference title this past weekend!  We are heading to Rochester next week for regionals and we hope to have both teams qualify for the NCAA Championships!  Thanks for following and check in next week!

Here is my training last week...

Week of October 27 - November 2

10x800 (4@2:30, 4@2:26, 2@2:22)
Afternoon weightlifting session
Mileage: 10
8 mile recovery run
AM: 2x2.5mile pace run w/5 min rest
PM: 6x150m hill
Afternoon weightlifting session
Mileage: 14
8 mile recovery run
5x600 w/ 5 min rest
Afternoon weightlifting session
Mileage: 8
7 mile recovery run

15 mile long run

Total weekly mileage: 70

For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!

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