Let’s face it we live in a world of instant gratification. Most of us want to be faster, stronger, and improve as a runner NOW. The truth is that becoming a better runner takes time and it definietly doesn’t happen over night.
Our bodies are creatures of habit, to get faster you have to run faster it seems simple but of course there is always a right and wrong way to go about it. To get faster it takes weeks, months, and sometimes even several months of training to start to see improvement. Your body learns but it doesn’t happen in one day or even one week.
There is good news though – there are things you can start doing TODAY that will help you to become a better run and can even improve your running right away.
These three things might not be new to you, but I promise if you add them into your routine you will begin to notice improvements almost immediately! There aren’t many things that can say that when it comes to running!
Dynamic Warm Ups
Ever started a run and it takes you several miles to feel like your legs are warmed up? Chances are you didn’t warm up your legs before starting your run. I cannot stress enough how much this can help your running performance!
You can find a super old post where I go through some of the dynamic warm up stretches here.
The most common ones you’ll see are: Leg swings, leg extensions, side lunge, lunges with side twist. These are all dynamic stretches that I make sure to do before each run. This allows my muscles to warm up before I go start running. Running on cold muscles will just feel harder and it can increase your chance of injury.
It’s a simple step that is so often skipped but can improve your runs almost immediately!
A runners best and worst attribute can be their running form. It’s also something that no matter your level you should be working on. I will be the first to admit this is an easy one to skip for me but when I do it, it makes a world of difference in how I feel!
When our bodies get tired the first thing to go is your running form. Improper running form not only hinders your performance but it can also increase your bodies risk of injury.
Here is a great post from Strength Running about form drills. These are the primary drills that both myself and my husband do. You’ll be amazed how much better you fill after doing these drills just once or twice.
Eat for Fuel
Running postpartum has taught me a lot of things, but one of the things I’ve had to do a better job of is eating for FUEL.
Prior to getting pregnancy I would go out on any of my runs, including my long runs, with no fuel. My body somehow was able to adapt to it and for the most part it was fine. However; during pregnancy I could no longer do this and had to eat before my runs. Now postpartum running and breastfeeding still require me to eat before my runs but especially before my long runs.
On a regular running day I will eat a piece of toast with butter or cereal. Before my long runs I always had oatmeal, blueberries, and peanut butter.
Find what works for your stomach and your running and stick with it. It’s okay to be a creature of habit when it comes to fueling for your runs.
Want to know what happened when I began to eat for fuel? I was running 30+ seconds faster on my runs and was able to sustain it for a longer period of time. I remember when I started training for Boston my long runs felt awful and I thought I’d never see a sub-9 minute pace again. When I switched up my fueling, used food as fuel, and timed it right I was averaging sub-9’s for all my long runs only 3-4 months postpartum.
Eat for fuel and you will see results very quickly in your running performance!
These three simple steps don’t take a lot of time or a lot of work, but they can have an immediate impact on your running!