Beginners: Mixing up your training routine

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Plenty of runners lock into a running routine and rarely change it, and that’s fine – just getting out the door can bestow a sense of accomplishment and boost your mood. But deviating from your standard practice can make you faster and stronger, and stoke your motivation. When you start changing things up, it’s best to try one tweak at a time so you can see what works and what doesn’t before moving on.

When you run easy...

Do four to eight 30-second cadence drills over the course of your run. Count the number of times your right foot hits the ground; aim to increase that number. Take low, quick steps. These drills will increase your turnover, so you run more efficiently.

When you run hills...

Try to sing a song (quietly). Climbing should never get so hard that you’re huffing and puffing and can’t talk (or sing).

When you run fast...

Bring a friend. A buddy will boost your motivation and morale, and help you push when it would be more comfortable to quit. Don’t compete with each other, but don’t let your pal off the hook, either – encourage each other to complete the day’s goals.

When you run long...

Take more frequent walk breaks. If you currently do a ratio of one minute running to one minute walking, reduce it to 45 seconds running to one minute walking. It will help you run further, minimise soreness and hasten your recovery.

When you race...

Make your first mile the slowest mile. Gradually increase the pace, but every five minutes or so, slow your speed for one minute so you stay strong to the finish.