How Can You Improve Running Times When You Train? Here Are Some Things That Can Help

January 21, 2022

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There is so much advice out there about improving your mile time, and lots of it is great. The most important thing to remember if you want to improve your mile time is that the best solutions will differ for each runner. A variety of factors, like your endurance level, experience as a runner, health conditions, previous injuries, and so much more will determine what the best approach and training regimen is for you. With that said, there are some general tips that any runner can take into consideration if they want to see better results. Today, we’re going over some overall ideas to consider if you’re looking to improve running times while minimizing your risk of injury and strengthening your body. Let’s start.

Work on Your Form

Form is instrumental to anybody’s success as a runner. Incorrect form can have a host of negative results for any runner: from slowing you down to causing overexertion and injury, poor form is an issue that should be corrected immediately. There are so many ways that someone’s form might not be where it needs to be, so the best thing you can do is work with a professional – like a physical therapist – to evaluate your form and make adjustments where needed. With that said, it’s a good idea to always make sure your upper body is relaxed, not stiff; you are running forward, not up; and you’re not hunched over as you run. All of these adjustments can help you not only expend less energy and run faster for longer, but to avoid preventable injuries.

Don’t Forget Strength Training

Speed is as much about power as it is about agility. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting strength training as part of your fitness regimen if your ultimate goal is to become a faster runner. We’re not just talking about your legs: whole-body strength training is an excellent way to build endurance and power, which will manifest itself in lower running times if you’re training correctly.

It’s estimated that running exerts up to 6-8x our body weight on certain structures with every step, and with gravity constantly weighing us down, it’s an absolute must to incorporate strength training. We want to build robustness and resilience in our tissues to be able to withstand those pressures. Simple exercises, like push-ups, crunches, squats, and planks, on a regular basis can help your overall performance as an athlete and runner exponentially.

Allow Yourself Proper Rest

Fitness hinges on your ability to rest appropriately as much as it hinges on your training regimen. Opt for total rest or active recovery in the form of long walks, light jogs, and simple stretching on days when you are sore or fatigued. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat the appropriate amount of nutrient-dense calories for your body. Stress and rest are both necessary for positive adaptation. Giving your body the opportunities it needs to recover is one of the most important ways you can set yourself up for success long-term.

Look Into Plyometrics

Plyometric training, which is just a fancy term for training that involves jumping and high muscular exertion is short measures of time, can work wonders for improving running times when done correctly, safely, and under the supervision of a professional. Plyometrics helps to prepare your muscles and joints for the fast, explosive moments they’ll need to make as you run. With that said, if you’re just getting into plyometric training for the first time, it’s advisable to take it slow. Speak to a trusted physical therapist about the extent to which plyometrics should be incorporated into your training regimen.

You can definitely improve your running times significantly with the right training and under the right supervision. If you’re interested in maximizing your running times while improving strength and mobility overall, we highly recommend consulting with a great physical therapist. Don’t hesitate to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Ken Clark to talk through your goals and come up with a plan.