It’s possible to boost running performance despite being strapped for time.
We’re not gonna lie: It takes a lot of discipline and commitment to improve your run times. And when life gets busier than usual, the thought of skipping a run becomes super tempting. One missed training after another and you will see your running performance go down.
Soon after, running will become a dread. On days when you’re super time-strapped, opt for these smart training methods to stay right on track. They will seriously boost your fitness level too.
Shorten your rest times
When you reduce your recovery times during your run intervals, it increases your run intensity. According to a study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, high-intensity interval running helps to improve running efficiency as your muscles adapt to the buildup of lactic acid during workout.
Lactic acid is built up when there is insufficient oxygen for muscles to break down glucose for energy. For a start, swop static recovery for active recovery by jogging at a comfortable pace until your next set. If you are already doing active recovery, try slashing your recovery distance or your rest time. Your rest times depend on your workout plan. If you are more than two seconds off your targeted pace, it means you are cutting too much of your recovery time.
If you have planned for a long run, consider going for a shorter distance at a faster pace instead. Clocking in mileage is one way build your endurance, but when you are short of time, doing a shorter but faster run lets you complete your workout more quickly, and improves your running efficiency too. If you are training for a 10k race, try running at your race pace for 5km as a speedy training session.
Do hill trainings
Doing speed work on the hills can help you to build both speed and strength. However, do not be too eager to charge up the hills. The effort you take to run up the hills should be the same as running on a flat terrain.
As the incline is already an added challenge, you’ll want to maintain enough energy to complete your workout. A good speed workout would be running up the hills and walking down as recovery. If you plan to run downhill, keep your torso slightly leaned back, knees soft and land gently on the heels of your feet.
Segment your missed trainings
Sometimes it can be hard to squeeze in even a quick run. Don’t beat yourself up – simply make up for the missed training by adding the mileage to your subsequent runs.
If you skipped a 6km run and have three other runs planned for the week, add 2km to each run. It’s important to ensure a balance of work and rest, to stay motivated.
Plyometrics is a form of jump training that includes a range of dynamic moves that aims at increasing strength. The exercises require you to push yourself hard in short intervals of time. According to a study by the Australian Institute of Sport, just nine weeks of plyometrics helped a group of distance runners improve their running economy.
As plyometrics involves quick and explosive moves, it challenges your muscle strength and elasticity. When your muscles are trained to produce such force, they become stronger. Over time, you’ll find that you have more strength to push yourself off the ground when running, reducing ground contact and improving running efficiency.
If you really can’t make time for a run, do a quick plyometrics routine at home. Examples of plyometrics exercises are jump squats, high-knee skips and split-lunge jumps.