7 Easy Tips for Improving Your Run Training


, by Nick Bester

Photography by: peoplemages.com

The New Year is here and it’s a great opportunity for us to reset and most importantly refresh our training. There are always smarter ways to train and we want to be as productive as possible. Here are some of my top running tips to help you train smart and remain motivated throughout this year:

Add structure to your training (or follow a plan)

By adding structure to your training, your rate of improvement will increase drastically. If you’re able to afford a running coach, then do it - I couldn’t recommend it more highly - as this can often help take your running to the next level. If a coach is out of your budget, you can follow training plans.

RELATED: Strava has Training Plans for all major race distances

Coaches or training plans will help you come up with a purpose in the way you approach your training. Try not run the same distance and pace, day in and day out, without adding variety to your training - there are much smarter ways to be productive. The golden rule, as always, is to keep the hard days hard and the easy days easy. If you’re really not sure where to start with your structure, get in touch and we can try to help you.

Track your training and make notes for analysis

Strava is a quick and easy way for seamlessly tracking your training. It’s as simple as starting your watch or running app, going for a run, finishing it and watching it automatically upload. Strava gives great insight into your training but it’s equally as important for you to make notes on what you have done. You can note things like: how you felt, detailed splits times, what shoes you ran in etc. Basically, use Strava as a personal training diary. This is hugely valuable for when it comes to points in your own running journey where you want to look back at the times you performed best.  It’s quick, easy and all in one place.

Photography by: Jacob Lund

For example, I hit my best levels around two years ago, and I often go back and look at exactly what I did back then in order to try and reach those levels and raise the bar even higher. At the time, I didn't realize just how valuable it was to track my training in detail, but now I do.

Get a Tracking Device that works best for you and follow Built Workouts

What you’re ideally looking for is a watch with a GPS tracker. I personally use a Garmin and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. You want to get a watch or tracking device that allows you to build structured workouts so that you don’t need to keep checking your watch every few seconds whilst doing a harder session. When you’re in the middle of your harder run, you need to focus on form and concentrate on expanding your energy as best as possible. It’s so much easier to do this when you have pre-built workouts and your watch is telling you what to do and beeping before the end of the rep and at the start of the next rep. This allows you to fully focus on your run and get the most out of it.

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Mentally prepare for your hard sessions

Reaching higher heights and pushing your body to its limits requires expanding a whole lot of mental energy. In this day and age, the majority of our lives are super busy. By taking just 5 - 10 minutes to clear the mind of any negative thoughts and  prepare for what’s to come can make the difference between an enjoyable session, resulting in it being productive, and a constant battle in trying to block out those negative demons. Once the mind is fully set, it makes it a whole lot easier for the body to execute. Starting these harder sessions in a bad mental place is a recipe for failure.

When you’re finding things tough - because it can be tough - remember to smile. It just makes things a whole lot easier.

It is equally as important to switch the brain off on your easier days. We want to keep running as enjoyable as possible and if we fully focus during every session, we can often tend to get too serious. Whether it’s a run with a mate, finishing off at a coffee shop, or listening to music and zoning out, allow yourself to switch the mind off on those runs. They allow you to mentally rejuvenate and keep your love for the sport

Finish each run with Jump Squats, Jump Lunges and Calf Raises

This is something I started doing around five years ago and I can really see the results. It’s the big reason that I have been able to remain injury free over the last five years, despite clocking over 3,700 miles / 6,000kms a year. Whenever I finish each run, I do 10x jump squats, 12x jump lunges and 12x calf raises. I encourage you to do the same. It takes 2 - 3 minutes after your run and that’s it.

Strava Subscribers get FREE access to Recover Athletics injury prevention and rehabilitation advice.

All these little bits add up at the end of the day and they go a long way when consistently doing it throughout the year. The only time I would avoid doing these is when you know you have an actual planned strength session on the same day, or if you have a race the next day and you want your body to be really fresh. Apart from that, get these in straight after every run. Your running won’t transform overnight but over weeks, months and years of consistently doing it, trust me, you’ll thank yourself for it.

Photography by: Lightfield Studios

Get the protein recovery in within a half an hour of finishing your run

The sooner you can get good protein into your body post run, the better. The fuel goes to your muscles and the recovery process starts taking place. You have around a half an hour window post run for optimal refueling, but the sooner you can, the better. In actual fact, I premix my protein smoothie and as soon as I get back from my run, before I even update my Strava, I have my smoothie. That’s saying something for me. You’ve broken your muscles down during a run and you want them to rebuild as soon as possible. I always aim for around 20-25 g of protein after harder sessions and around 15-20g of protein after easier runs.

DID YOU READ? Top 10 Recovery Tips for Runners

Remember to have fun

If you’re not having fun, then what’s the point?! We’re not professional athletes and running doesn’t pay the bills. So, if you have the ability and are privileged enough to run, soak it all up and enjoy it. It’s good to set goals as they give us direction and extra drive to our training, but it’s important to not get too obsessed over these goals, to the point that they start taking the enjoyment of running away. Remember, time is just time. Time will always be there. Some races, you’ll achieve your time and others you won’t. But don’t let whether you achieve your times or not determine your happiness for the sport. Embrace it, enjoy it and reap the mental and physical benefits that come along with running.

When you’re finding things tough - because it can be tough - remember to smile. It just makes things a whole lot easier. That’s what Kipchoge does when he starts feeling pain during a marathon and that’s what we should do during every single run. Smile.

I hope these help you and let’s give 2024 one good shot!

I’m pumped for it and I hope you are too!

Onwards and upwards,

Coach and Nick

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