At the start of the year, I set several resolutions including one running-related:
Improve my running pace to an 8.45 min/mile
Although I’m still working my way towards reaching that goal, I am pleased to say that I’ve definitely made progress. Last week I unexpectedly ran my fastest four miles in 35 minutes and 55 seconds. I say unexpectedly because it was one of those runs which I really couldn’t be bothered to do, but once I started going it was like a surge of energy had hit my legs.
Because my runs have been hovering between the 9 -10 min/mile pace for as long as I can remember, seeing my average pace start off with an 8 is a HUGE deal for me. It has definitely motivated me to crush my New Year’s resolution soon. Rather than just one reason, there are several factors which I can attribute my improvement to:
- Consistent strength training: Apparently squatting (and lunging) does more than just make me look like a girl in a Flo-Rida video. Simply put, the more muscle you have, the stronger you are. As a result your legs are stronger and more powerful to carry you faster and farther.
- High Intense Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts: Truth be told, HIIT runs are sometimes a bee-yatch to do. Fortunately the more I do them, the faster I seem to adapt. In terms of speed, these kinds of sessions teach your body to make an uncomfortable pace more comfortable. Also because they’re more demanding on your body, HIIT workouts can help increase your overall cardiovascular fitness.
- Adequate fuel: I posted about this a few weeks ago and this run just reinforced my outlook: food is fuel. I ate a bowl of oats with yogurt, Sunwarrior protein powder, and fruit about 2 hours beforehand. That with a
caffeine rushcuppa coffee 30 minutes before my run provided me with enough energy without making me feel weighed down.
- Quality > quantity: I personally believe that less is more. Since January, I’ve limited my runs to 3 times a week at the most. As a result, my legs feel fresh, I’m mentally more revved up before each run and I go in wanting to give it my all (well a majority of the time ;)).
- Patience: Thirty seconds in life is negligible yet when you’re running, even a difference of 5 seconds is a big deal. It’s impossible to shave chunks of your pace overnight so be patient. As long as you put in the effort, you will improve over time
If you’re a runner, what has helped you improve your performance?