This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.
For anyone trying to run further or faster over long distances, building up stamina fast is the holy grail. And it’s not just a case of running a little further every time. Even if you’re comfortable running 5K or 10K, bumping that up to a half or full marathon can seem impossible.
You might be fitter than a pro athlete, but your body can only run as far and as fast as your muscles allow. While that might sound like an obvious statement, innumerable incredibly fit runners are slowed down by weaknesses that cross-training will fix.
While you don’t want to be heavy – though this is unlikely to happen with simple strength training – you also need power in your core, legs and arms in order to be able maintain running form over a longer period of time.
Millie incorporates two weight-training sessions a week and is an avid fan of high intensity fitness classes – but any kind of simple strength training once or twice a week will scythe minutes from your PB.
One of the beauties of treadmill classes is that you combine strength training floor work with speed drills on the treadmill. Try the Tabata principle: 8 rounds of 20 seconds as fast as you can broken up by 10-second rest periods.
Speed training is the ultimate way to increase your body’s ability to process oxygen over a longer period of time – essential for endurance.
If you get bored of treadmill work make like Millie and keep things interesting by replacing some (not all!) of your runs with spinning sessions.
Tempo runs – which arc in pace; starting slow before speeding up for the middle section and tapering off at the end – will teach your body to adjust to the impact of longer runs.
Millie slotted 5K tempo runs into her training plan in the run up to a recent 10K race and noticed a huge difference to her energy levels over the final two kilometres.
This kind of training works over both long and short distances, so can easily be fitted into any training regime. Try starting with a simple 3K: go out slow, speed things up considerably for the second kilometre then wind your pace down over the final thousand metres.
New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before. Find out more at: http://www.newbalance.co.uk/TougestOpponent.
You are your toughest opponent.