If you’re not a professional athlete or a club runner, if you don’t have the luxury of a coach or track facilities then how do you get better and indeed faster?
In a nutshell – just run. Then the next day run again and the next day again. Repeat this process many times over for days, weeks, months and years and, as long as you push yourself a little more most of the time you will get faster. At least, it has worked for me.
I run by myself. I enjoy it and it gives me time to think because life is very hectic and often it’s the only chance I get. In order for me to think my brain has to have nothing much else to worry about. My wife calls it multitasking and, with the best will in the world, I’m no good at it. Running though, is simply putting one foot in front of the other at varying speeds. My head can just about cope with that and leave me free to ponder.
Now, the technical runners may be upset by my description of running and I do not wish to play it down at all or belittle these wonderful men and women. Of course, depending on the level of running you do there is a lot more to it.
I class myself as a time poor amateur. I’m not able to join clubs and even getting to a Saturday morning parkrun is almost impossible. So, the solution is to train by myself and for myself. There is no other way that I know to get fitter and faster.
Now I’ve tried interval training and fartleks (stop sniggering at the back) and I really enjoy these sessions. However, they’re not for me long term. I find that the more I run and push myself then the faster I get. I’ve got myself a loop of just under 5k so I can test myself each week. It is simple but it works, I am steadily getting faster. I am also getting faster over longer distances too which, for me, is something I couldn’t envisage a couple of years ago.
My 2015 challenge is not about speed but endurance. However, my base running speed needs to increase otherwise I will be in danger of finishing the day without enough rest time before the next days activities begin. I’m not hoping to finish each marathon in 2.5 hours but 3.5 hours would be awesome and 4 hours would be acceptable, especially after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride.
To conclude. In order to get faster you must run more and more and more. Get the legs turning over and find time at least once a week to get a timing run in. Perhaps you can do a parkrun? If so, this is perfect. A free 5k timed run near you every Saturday of the year. Or join a Free Sweatshop Running Community Run organised by Sweatshop. If you can’t manage that then create your own 5k loop and really go for it. Alternatively, if you have the time join a local running club then do that. There can be no substitute for intelligent coaching and the advice of some real runners. But ultimately decide what you want from running…it’s not always about speed.
- Base Training (theblogrunner.wordpress.com) This is a great blog that I discovered quite by accident but an inspiring read especially for the beginners out there.