Whether you’re training for a marathon that you want to do just for the heck of it or are a seasoned runner who takes their training seriously, you’ve probably been intimidated by the amount of training that it takes to reach your goals. However, new research is showing that to improve your running, you need to train smarter, not harder.
Run less, not more
The Mayo Clinic Proceedings recently published a meta-analysis that showed that less is more when it comes to running training. By running less than 10 kilometers during a week, you will actually optimize the health benefits of running while minimizing the risks.
A team of exercise physiologists, cardiologists, and epidemiologists took studies from the last thirty years that covered the training habits and health of thousands of runners. Through careful analysis of these findings, they were able to determine that running twice a week for less than an hour total is actually what produced the best results.
Spin your way to more speed
Back in August, findings published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed running speed was improved when long-distance runners swapped the pavement for a cycle-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT) schedule.
The University of Gloucestershire researchers hypothesised that the minimal recovery time between exercises causes athletes to work harder and their muscles adapt to the workload faster.
Walk this way
If you think walk breaks will mess with a carefully cultivated running pace, think again: a 2014 study found runners who approached a race with a walk/run strategy ran comparable times to those who ran the entire length, but reported less fatigue and muscle pain when they crossed the finish line.
Slowing down could be key in building strength and endurance. Walking allows your body to make small adaptations in your feet, knees and hips, builds endurance, and reduces your risk for injury without giving up your workout, writes former Olympian and author Jeff Galloway.
Cut yourself some slack
Bad runs happen – that’s a fact of life. But it’s how you approach a less-than-stellar performance that can make all the difference.
A recent study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed 71 percent of athletes who blamed themselves for a poor performance were injured at some point over the course of year, regardless of how much they were training, because they were more likely to push through pain caused by a sluggish performance than taper their training.