If you’re an avid runner, now is about that time you start checking out the summer race schedule. Are you going to sign up for the same list of 5K races, or is this the year you finally step it up in the distance category? I vote for the latter! If you make it a goal to run a little farther, go a little faster, and improve your endurance, you can be successful. It’s all about motivation and having a plan that will keep you healthy and headed down the right direction. So whether you want to take your 5K to a 10K or your 10K to a half marathon this year, I’m here to help with a few smart strategies to increase your mileage for your next finish line!
PS: If you’re currently thinking, “5K? No way, José!” then stop here and head on over to our Beginner’s Guide To Becoming a Runner to get started.
Follow The 10-Percent Rule
Runner’s World cites the 10-percent rule as “one of the most important and time-proven principles in running.” So, what exactly is the 10-percent rule and why did I put it on the top of my list, too? Well, this is a great rule to plan your training schedule leading up to your longer-than-normal race.
Since overuse is a common cause of running injuries, increasing your mileage too fast is never a good idea. The 10-percent rule means that each week, you only increase your distance by 10 percent. For example, if you currently run 20 miles a week now, up that number to 22 miles the next week, then to 24.2 the next week, 26.6, and so on and so forth. (An activity tracker with a GPS, an app like Nike+ Running, or your health app on your iPhone 6 or 6+ is great for finding exact mileage, or you can just round to the nearest half mile. Often when you feel good on a run, you are tempted to just keep going farther. But being systematic about the increase is key to your success. The process seems long, but your body will hold up better with the slow build.
Make Sure To Warm-Up And Get Loose
With more miles comes more work for your body, so don’t just pop your headphones in and then immediately take off down your block like a rocket. Your muscles, bones, and joints need to loosen up and warm-up first to avoid injury. Start by walking for a few minutes to get the blood pumping. Have you ever watched a high school track practice? Add in a couple minutes of dynamic stretches like high knees, butt kicks, power skips, and walking lunges. Now, off you go!
Change Your Running Route Regularly
If you want to break out of a distance rut, it might be time for a change of scenery. Running the same loop past the same park every day gets old fast and frankly, a little uninspiring. Plus, when your body becomes accustomed to the exact same twists, turns, and terrain, switching to new route on race day could lead to injury. A simple way to mix it up is to start running your normal route backward. Then, search out a hill. A change in elevation is a worthwhile challenge if you want to see improvements. Finally, if you’re still having trouble finding a new path, MapMyRun is an awesome app that has over 70 million routes for you to choose from.
Don’t Forget To Take A Load Off
No, I don’t mean sit on the couch. If you’re putting in a lot of mileage outside, always take advantage of the ability to cross-train when you take your workouts inside. Runners love to run but overuse injuries tend to be the biggest sidelining issue. If you only think “treadmill” when you move indoors, perhaps finding a low-impact option to your pavement-pounding is not only smart; it’s probably necessary, especially as you age.
My Indoor Picks:
The elliptical isn’t a new concept and most likely you’ve spent some time on one. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Octane Fitness over the last six years and I’ve learned a lot about the mechanics of an elliptical machine. If you are scoping one out at the gym or even considering purchasing one for home, here is what you should look for in an elliptical machine.
See the original article at GetHealthyU here.