Grasp The Basics|
A clenched grip relays tension to the rest of your body – and that saps energy. “Hands should be lightly cupped rather than tightly fisted,” says Jim Fischer, a cross-country and track coach. “Imagine holding a rolled up piece of paper during your run to keep the hands relaxed.”
Have A Hot Turnover
Train yourself to rely less on stride length and more on a quick leg turnover. “There’s no doubt that very slow turnover can be costly in terms of the energy demand of running,” says Daniels. “Aim for around 180 footfalls a minute,” which means 60 steps every 20 seconds.
Inflate the Incline
On a treadmill set at zero-per cent incline, a seven-minute mile isn’t really a seven-minute mile. It’s easier. That’s because, unlike running outdoors, a motor is doing some of the work for you. To counteract this effect, increase the incline to one per cent (or more, naturally, if you’re doing hillwork).
Keep Moving Forwards
Lateral motion wastes energy that could be helping you move forward. So swing your arms in a mostly front-to-back motion, rather than side-to-side. “Generally speaking, everything should go forwards or backwards,” says Fischer.
Speed Your Recoveries
During speedwork, lots of runners recover fully between repetitions. For a change of pace, try running your recovery intervals only slightly slower than the pace of the repetition. “This will teach you to recover ‘on the run’ as you would during a race,” says McMillan.
Run Through The Line
Another speedwork tip from Fischer: to squeeze the very most out of your session, run hard – don’t coast – all the way past the line at the end of each repetition.
Strengthen Your Position
Devote one day a week to working on your stomach and back muscles, as well as the hamstrings and quads (front of your thighs), recommends Daniels. “Uphill running can also help, as can bounding and plyometrics,” he says. “All these things, along with some good quality repetition running, will lead to better running economy.”
Eat First, Then Shower
Most gains from training actually occur after your run. To get the most from your recovery, eat immediately after running, says McMillan. “Drink a smoothie or meal-replacement drink within the first 15 minutes after a hard session, race or long run,” he says. “Then eat a well-balanced meal within the next two hours.”
Sleep On It
Rather than fixate on getting a good night’s rest the night before a race, concentrate on the night before the night before. As a rule of thumb, ensuring a quality rest that night will relax and prepare you more than the shut-eye you get on the eve of your race, when you tend to be restless and excited anyway.