A huge part of fitness is patience. You put in the work and are rewarded with results. This formula is reliable, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
So for a nice change of pace, let’s look at four things you can do that will pay you dividends right away, even with your very next run.
1. Hydrate. Try ramping up your water intake before your next run. And don’t start an hour before; start right now. Drinking water throughout the day is going to help your body perform at its best. During your run you’ll be operating more efficiently, enjoying everything from improved blood flow to reduced muscle fatigue.
2. Fuel up. Obviously your body needs good, wholesome food to be at its best. Just as it’s important to eat the right stuff, it’s also important to eat the right amount. Think ahead. Your pre-run food intake should be such that during your workout you don’t feel hungry and you don’t feel full. Keeping granola bars or other light snacks on hand can help keep you in that sweet spot as workout time nears.
3. Get (very) warm. A solid warmup routine is really intended to get your body up to operating temperature. So if you just go through the motions during your five-minute warmup walk, you probably aren’t working hard enough to really be ready for your run. Ideally, you’ll get your heart rate up and actually break a sweat during your warmup. If you can’t do this by walking alone, consider throwing in a few circuit exercises to help get the pre-run blood flowing.
4. Find your race pace. Remember, interval training is designed to help you hit a strong pace when you’re on and recover when you’re off. If you’re really trying to build speed, focus on one interval at a time and worry less about the workout as a whole. The built-in walk periods are designed to help you catch your breath and recover before the next run interval begins. If you’ve reached the workouts that don’t include a rest period, then hey, guess what? That means you’re ready for that kind of intensity. Go for it and don’t hold back!
These tips aren’t hard to act on, but putting any one of them into practice can help you run faster beginning with the very next time you hit the road. Be sure to tell us how it goes and to share any tips you might have for kicking it up a notch in the short term.