There’s nothing like the feeling of smashing you personal best. It makes all those early morning runs feel worth it.
But runners will know that improving your time often comes down to the finest of margins, and making that push to improve your speed can be incredibly difficult.
If you’ve got a 10K – or any distance event – coming up, and you’re keen to shave some seconds off your time, there are ways to do it. You just have to focus your training.
We asked Anthony Mayatt, personal trainer and owner of Breathe Fitness, for his top tips on how to get faster.
‘Weight training is very beneficial for long distance runners, especially if you are looking to add in a longer distance or trying to run faster,’ explains Anthony.
‘Working explosively helps recruit more muscle fibers so that your power output can increase for your runs.
Weight training also helps runners in general by improving posture and reducing the chance of injuries, such IT band syndrome or shin splints.
‘Look to add one or two strength sessions a week into your training schedule.’
Five exercises to improve your speed over a long distance
1) Sprint sessions
Work on short sprints to help your legs recruit more muscle fibers and improve power when you want to increase your speed over a longer distance.
6-10 X 100m sprint
Recovery walk back to the start line before repeating.
It’s important to work the posterior chain for strong hamstrings, lower back and strength around the pelvis. This exercise should be explosive, so work at a smaller rep range with heavy weight.
4 X 6-8 reps
- Stand tall with a barbell, feet shoulder-width apart, pointing forwards.
- Bend from your hips, keeping your chest out and shoulders back and drop the weight straight down, keeping the bar as close to your legs as possible.
- Pause when the bar reaches ankle to knee height, depending on lower back posture (no rounding of the back), and return to the starting position.
3) Pull ups
Even though your legs are doing most of the work, your arms are swinging and your upper body is supporting you as you run. So you need good posture and a strong upper body when you want to move faster.
Pull ups will train your back, arms, shoulders and core, so add this into your training.
4 X 6 reps, add a resistance band to assist if you cannot complete a full set.
4) Split squats
Running works by one leg going forwards and the other back, which is exactly how a split squat works, but without having to step into the movement.
By adding resistance to the movement, you can train your glutes and legs to get them stronger – helping your power output.
3 x 6 (each leg) holding dumbbells in each hand.
Your core needs to be strong, a weak one will more likely lead to injury and slower runs.
A plank is very much a mental exercise with no movement involved. This will work the transverse abdominus, which acts like a belt around the waist pulling it in so hits the core in its entirety.
There is no need to hold it for too long as it is hard to keep a good muscle contraction for a long period, so work between 30 second – 1 minute, and do it 3-5 times with a break between each one.
I am Team GB
Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.
Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.
Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.
To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com
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