My earlier post on running a 10km was in May, which is the first step to long distance endurance runs. Since then I have been training a little to improve my own speed and stamina over June and a bit of July. All of this led to a drop in my timing in a recent 10km run that was held in my city. I still haven’t reached my 10km goal time and the journey ahead seems long and tough to get there, I did feel quite exhilarated that the run was better than the one in May.
While step one for long distance running is “finishing it” one must try to go beyond this to continually feel challenged. So if you have finished your first 10km run now start to focus on ways to make it better. There are two goals that you can work on for your next 10km.
1. Speed-can I reduce the time taken to complete this?
2. Consistent running with no stops-timing is not the key but to ensure that even in the tough bits you keep running at a consistent pace
When I trained from May to the run on 12th July my main focus was to increase my speed (therefore timing) and to not feel completely winded by the end of the race (AKA stamina improvement). To accomplish this a mixed training schedule of sprints and long distance runs is required
If you want to work towards the similar goals here are a few tips that helped me.
Try to train at least 3 days a week. ( 4 would be perfect, at least get 2 if not 3)
Find a few friends or a friend to push you or help you along. Ideally a person with better timing and speed. I have said this before too a running group really helps when you are a beginner. Finding the right running partners does not come easy I agree, but by joining a group it is a good way to stay motivated and make new friends.
Sprinting: Try to do each type once a week
Short Sprints for Speed Endurance: the goal here is to build muscle memory on how to move your legs quickly, and to make your race pace seem slow in comparison. You can do 400m x 4 rounds with a rest period of 2/3 minutes in between rounds
Shorter Sprints for Efficiency: When you speed up, your body adjusts to sprint more efficiently: You will push off more powerfully with each stride, and reduce up-and-down and side-to-side oscillation. With practice, these habits will become ingrained even at slower paces. Once a week do 100m x 6. Walk back to recover. You shouldn’t be out of breath when you begin the next one.
Shortest Sprints for Power: Full-on sprinting teaches your brain to recruit and use a full range of muscle fibers. Do a thorough warm up before your start. You could do 50m x 6 with a 3 minute break between rounds.
Most IMPORTANT is to TIME yourself and record your weekly improvements. If week 1 you take 1.8mins for a 400m the next week you may see a drop to 1.5/6mins. The world record for 400m is around 45sec so you have a benchmark to work toward!
Long Runs: try to get in one long distance run per week ( anything above 5km) this will build stamina and endurance. So on race day you can breeze through your 10km without feeling like your having a minor heart attack at the end of it.
Finally and most of all get off your couch and just run! Speed, strength, stamina, endurance are important and will be learnt and experienced along the way. Enjoy the wind in your face and sense of achievement after each run. Don’t give up easy or feel demotivated always remember 50% of the battle is won by the fact that you got up, got dressed and showed up! Hope your next 10km is far better than the first one, in the meantime I am working towards getting my timing down too.