You can be faster, but you need to focus first on your overall fitness level and how efficiently you use your muscles. While most runners don’t look like body builder, they’re muscle machines too. In fact, of the over 600 muscles in the body, a runner will use almost all of them. So, overall fitness is important, particularly if you want to do your best in a race or become a top contender. Working out with a personal trainer not only improves your overall fitness, it can help you run faster and more efficiently, while training all your muscles to work together.
Teach your body to achieve the maximum oxygen uptake.
VO2max or maximum oxygen uptake is that amount of oxygen your body can use in one minute. The more oxygen you can intake, the faster you can run. However, that’s only part of the picture. How fast you’re running when you hit your maximum is important. Running or doing interval training at your maximum potential increases that maximum, just as lifting a weight that’s at your maximum limit increases that limit and your strength.
Doing drills can help you run more efficiently.
Drills, such as hops, Russian kicks and skips can do so much to help your muscles work together efficiently. It’s more than just running, it’s training the communication from the brain to the legs and back to the brain. Drills also strengthen and train more than the muscles, they aid the joints in building strength to improve your speed. They also help you become more coordinated and agile. Many of the drills used to improve a runner’s speed are also great warm-ups to use before a race.
Proper form can save energy.
Everything counts when it comes to endurance and speed, especially your form. If your hands are swinging across your body, you’re wasting valuable energy you could be using to win the race. A huge benefit of having a coach or trainer is that you have an observer who can spot many of the wasted movements and help you improve your form.
Don’t forget to warm up to the max before training hard or racing. Roll out before a race, just like you would after one to maximize your warm-up.
Check your footwear frequently and don’t skimp when it comes to shoes. Having adequate foot support is important, particularly if you’re running on concrete. Most sneakers will give you 300 to 500 miles of use.
Alternate your pace to build endurance and speed. Fartleks, alternating between jogs and sprints, help you boost both endurance and speed.
Work on core muscles for overall fitness and strength.
Start slowly and pick up the pace the more your body becomes acclimated to the hot weather. Going at top speed on the first super hot day will only get you in trouble.
Know when your body is signaling you to quit. Sometimes, you have to work through the misery, but not if it’s super hot and you’re risking your health. Know when to call it a day or train less vigorously.
Don’t coffee up before you run. Caffeinated drinks act like diuretics and increase your urine output. That can lead to dehydration quickly.
Know the signs of heat illness. If you’re cramping, have a headache, feel dizzy or disoriented you need to get out of the heat immediately. Know all the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.