running techniques for running success
Some running techniques for running success have nothing to do with physical training.
Oddly we spend so much of our time training physically that we neglect the mental side of training and part of that is paying attention to the naysayers that somehow try their best to put a damper on our spirit.
The name of the game in this sport is being surrounded by positive people and focusing on the mission at hand, not wasting mental energy over something negative someone says about us.
Fortunately, most of us don’t have a problem with that.
We have friends and family who truly give a damn about seeing us succeed and at the ends of the day, that is all that matters.
There is a disease in this sport and that is the fact that people are rewarded for running fast times and those that don’t measure up to what the groupies feel is a good time are ignored.
Groupies are the ones who like to sit back and talk about other runners who aren’t competing with the best in the world or winning their local age group road races yet couldn’t maintain one mile at the same pace these very same athletes can hold for 6 to 26 miles.
1. Don’t give any of your attention to jealous athletes you may know who seem to have you all figured out.
I like to think of these athletes as the know-it-all’s.
They will hold nothing back in making your efforts feel worthless.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone makes you feel less of a person or an athlete simply ignore them.
Life is too short to let anyone take your mental energy away from achieving your goal.
2. Practice running with a lower arm carry
One of the first things that usually occurs in racing is we tense up. There is a lot of wasted physical energy that occurs when we are not relaxed.
Have you ever been in a race and you can feel your arms and shoulders tightening. If this happens in an up and coming race know that you are in control.
Take a few seconds to remind yourself to relax, to drop your arms, shake them if need be and than get back into your rhythm.
It is really difficult to change form.
Do what feels natural for you but also keep in mind when you are training or racing to stay relaxed and monitor the tension in your body.
One you feel your shoulders riding higher than normal, drop your arms, relax and take a couple deep breaths.
Get back into your rhythm, stay focused and repeat positive words.
The sooner you get it over with the better but that doesn’t mean you can’t be more in control during a maximal effort.
Less wasted energy means you can spend more of it on the task at hand.
3. Incorporate strength training into your weekly training
This is, without a doubt, one of the running techniques for long distance success that I will be putting more emphasis on these next 8 weeks leading into the Houston Marathon.
While I was with the Army World Class Athlete Program I had my own strength and conditioning coach who liked to beat up on us marathoners at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs.
A few of the strength training techniques we used was medicine ball throws, box jumps, balancing drills, among others.
Our strength coach would also like to take the marathoners and make them drag a 75-pound sled on the 40-yard field in the back of the complex.
We used this drill to improve knee lift and sprinting capability.
You can assist the body in recruiting more fast twitch muscle fibers but it takes strenuous aerobic capacity-type workouts such as repeat 100m runs all-out, sprinting up hills and running at heart rates above 175 beats-per-minute.
These are extremely hard efforts and unfortunately this physiological change simply doesn’t occur running at relaxed paces.
Core work was also very important.
The core stabilizes you as your running and the stronger mid-section you have the less fatigued you are going to feel at maximal efforts.
Plank repetitions such as 5x1min w/30 second rest starting off moving up to 20x1min with equal rest are great options to incorporate into your weekly training regimen.
4. Implement fartlek training into your training
Whether you are a beginner or a veteran of the sport nothing spices up training like a good ole fashioned fartlek session.
It keeps things interesting and that is why I like utilizing this running technique in my own training.
A few recent workouts I have used is 12 times 2 minutes of hard running at 5.00 mile pace (12MPH) on the treadmill or the roads with 1 minute of easy running (not what I call joyous though) at 6.00 mile pace (10MPH).
If there is inclement weather you always have this second option.
I, as I am sure you have, have run in every weather condition you can think of, even racing in sand storms in the desert of Kuwait, but sometimes training on the treadmill is a healthy substitute when you have no other options.
I also like doing farlek sessions like 60 minutes of 1 minute of hard running followed by 1 minute of easy running.
I got my first taste of this particular workout when I was attending Malone University in Canton, Ohio years ago.
A 2.14 kenyan marathoner that was living and training there introduced me to the pain of this workout. His name is Gilbert Rutto.
Needless to say, I wasn’t strong enough at that time to maintain contact with him throughout the whole run but it was a great introduction into how serious the Kenyan athletes are.
Farlek running is a great way to change up the monotony of doing tempo runs at a set pace or long, boring miles with no change in pace.
They can teach the body to adjust to pace changes when you are fatigued and that will make the biggest difference in your racing once you adapt to this running technique.
You most likely will encounter, if you haven’t already, runners passing you.
Fartlek workouts will help you to react to whatever your competition throws at you.
Practice your goal race pace
This has been a topic I have discussed several times here but I remind my readers of this because it is probably the most important of the running techniques for long distance running success in our sport.
The problem with this technique is that it is painful.
Plain and simple.
There is no way around this but the bottom line is this.
If you want to run a 5K at 8.00 mile pace you have to get to the point where 8.00 mile pace feels totally in control.
Regardless the race distance, practicing at speeds that exceed your goal race effort must be practiced.
How is this done?
It surely isn’t done by running daily runs at 9.30 mile pace. You have to spend some time at 7.30 mile pace and absolutely must stress your body’s energy systems.
This is where fartlek running can really be a useful tool because you spend a few minutes well below 8 minute mile pace, possibly more toward 7 minute mile pace, and than repeat that effort over time so that 8 minute pace will feel more like a controlled, rather than an all-out effort.
I have a goal to break 2.18.00 for the marathon distance. This is an average of 5.16 per mile.
I’m not there yet.
I have gotten really good at running at 5.30-50 per mile pace on long runs and have spent some time at this pace, but to get under that pace for that distance I know damn well I need to spend more time at 5.05 per mile pace or faster.
This week I was able to do a 2x5K workout hitting 15.44 (5.08,5.05,4.59) and 15.46 (5.03,5.05,5.06) with a 1 mile jog recovery between each set.
The paces were far below goal marathon race pace and that is the only way to get to a point where race pace feels more like a controlled long run effort.
Running at 10 seconds per mile slower than your goal race pace will build strength but you have to spend some time going much faster than you intend on racing
This is a great workout that you possibly could use in your own training. Adjust the pacing and force yourself out of your comfort zone.
It isn’t easy, it is hard and that is what makes it special. Don’t think you are less of an athlete if you aren’t running as fast as the guy or gal down the street or you are competing against…just keep hustling.
There is no substitute for training at or below goal race pace.
Lastly, remember to have fun with this. Don’t lose the joy of what you are doing over a failed workout or race. Remember some of the greatest success stories in any area of expertise was built on failure.
The greatest running technique for long distance running success is not losing your enthusiasm when you fail. Take your easy days, easy. Relax about a missed run. You won’t lose any fitness even if you took a week off from training.
Don’t lose sleep over it. Your body will adapt to the training you place on it. Keep it simple, stay motivated and use these techniques.
They will enrich your future racing.