So you have decided that you want to become a runner, a top runner. There is no going around the fact that you are going to have to train in order to reach that quest of yours. So how should your training go about? Here are 7 Training tips to help you become a Top Runner.
1. SET THE GOAL AND STICK TO IT
It’s pretty clear that starting off anything without a goal will lead to burnout somewhere along the process of achieving it. Therefore having a clear and fixed Goal is mandatory. Running is not an easy sport, all beginners pretty much hate it during the initial stages of training, and as such, there is a need to set a Goal. The Goal you set need not necessarily be unrealistic or larger than life, but setting short-term goals for a specific day or training session also counts. When you achieve these goals of yours, it will lead to personal satisfaction and also encourage you to set more Goals in the coming days. You can gradually set larger goals for yourself and stick to achieving it. Therefore, It is of Paramount Importance that you need to set a Goal and Stick to it.
2. START OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
Starting anything on the right foot and the right note is absolutely necessary. Before you start the training routine of yours, you need to do a study on the right technique, the right form, and at the right pace. There are many aspiring runners who have started off on the wrong foot and inflicted injuries upon themselves for not doing a proper study on the techniques or form for that matter. Just a little work on your technique or form will go a long way and make your training that much easier and enjoyable. Some examples of good technique are, running tall instead of taking short steps, loosening up your shoulders instead of tensing them up and Landing on the underside of your foot instead of landing on your heels which will lead to heel pain and overuse injury. Stressing on these small tips can bring about big improvements in your runs and lead to overall progress.
3. WARMING UP
Something which is common across top runners irrespective of the competitions they partake in is that they invest quality time warming up. On an average, they spend 25 to 40 minutes warming themselves up. Warm-ups include Stretching, Light jogging, Yoga and Drills and a host of other activities which may include playing small games as well. Some common yet very good warm-up exercises are; Walking-walking in a slow pace for five to ten minutes is very effective as it takes the various muscles and joints through a very wide range of motion that is very identical to what your body will experience in the process of running. This will also warm up the body and aid in the circulation of blood to all parts of the body. Stretching- Stretches are very crucial to a runner as it prevents injury. Static stretching, where you stretch in a fixed position is now discouraged; however dynamic stretching is the go-to for stretching. Some dynamic stretches include Lunges, Jumping Jacks, Forward Jacks, and Squats with Walkouts, Jumping Rope, and Butt Kicks etc. All these Dynamic Stretches target a wide range of specific muscle groups, which will lead to fewer chances of injury.
4. FOLLOW A PLAN OR PROGRAM
It is a well-established fact that some days you are going to feel great, other days not so much. So there is a need to follow a plan or adopt a program to keep you moving no matter what. Elite and top runners know this fact as such they plan out days and adjust the workouts accordingly. Some athletes shorten their training interval, while some keep the interval time same but tone down the intensity of their training. If you are not that type of person who can chalk out your training plan, there are a host of other preplanned programs prepared by experienced runners to help you stick with a program. Some of the best Running programs available are 1.Hal Higdon’s Training Program. 2. Nike+ Run Club 3.Boston Marathon Training Plan and 4.The Run S.M.A.R.T Project. However, it should also be taken into consideration that these training programs are aimed at the general audience and do not serve a specific person or a body type as every runner is different, and there is no substitute for a personal trainer or coach.
5. VARIATION AND ALTERNATION ARE KEY
Just sticking to a single training method or routine will make your workouts boring and your training sessions will become monotonous. Not only that your progress will hit a saturation point. Therefore, adding variation and alternation to your training sessions is very crucial, and it will help you to progress and also keep your mind engaged and excited. Cross training can also help you to enhance your running skills. Cross training for two days a week, by focusing on Muscular Strength Workouts such as Lifting weights, Doing weighted squats, Planks, Calisthenics, etc. will help you to become more stable, have more power in your legs, increase your upper body strength and help you to become a stronger runner. Therefore it is no secret that most elite runners can be seen lifting weights, doing gymnastics and other hosts of athletic activities other than running.
6. EAT CLEAN, DRINK MORE AND REPEAT
What you put into your body will affect how well you perform as a runner. As an athlete, your body is your temple and as such it is your topmost priority to keep your body in its peak and best condition. Eating Clean includes adding 55-65% of Quality Carbohydrates into your diet, which includes grains like quinoa, millet, kamut, oats, brown rice and rye bread. A Protein serving at every meal is necessary to build and replenish muscle tissues and to stabilize blood sugar. Protein foods include nuts, seeds, and legumes for protein, fiber, and energy. Eggs and whole grain products also fit the bill for protein foods. When it comes to Fats, most of the general populace only tends to lack omega-3 fats which can be sourced from fish, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts. Fiber should also be made a staple however in minimal quantity. To further protect your immune system which is of utmost importance in order to prevent you from getting sick, include foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E such as citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, onions, mushrooms, berries, green tea etc. Hydrating yourself is of utmost importance for a runner. You lose a lot of fluids during your runs as such it is of utmost importance to replenish the lost fluids. Drinking 8 to 16 ounces of fluids one to two hours before a run or training session is crucial. Water and Coconut Water is considered the best fluids for runners, however, some may have their own favourite energy drinks. Some of the best beverages for runners other than the aforementioned are as follows, Tea or Coffee, Chocolate milk, Tart cherry juice or beet juice and Maple water. Foods and drinks to avoid are processed foods, artificial flavoured foods and drinks, and alcohol.
7. REST, RECOVER AND REPEAT
Resting and recovering is just as important as running. It’s easy to assume that going out every day and pushing the pace harder may seem to be a good way to get quicker and better, but research suggests that this is counterproductive, instead of leading you to burn out quicker, and lack overall energy for the next effort and may even lead to muscle overuse injury. Therefore, it is equally important to respect the rest day as much as one respects the work day. Rest and Recovery periods helps the muscle tissues to repair themselves and also helps the body as a whole to recalibrate itself and get itself ready for the next session. The Final step is to repeat all of the above, staying consistent is key! Be consistent in your training, be consistent in your diet and be consistent in your recovery, so that you can stay and perform at peak levels always. The Secret is to always keep moving, no matter the obstacles are thrown at you. Hope that these seven tips help you to improve yourself as an athlete and help you to get the most out from your running and aid you in your Endeavour to become a top runne