So yes, the best way to get better at running, is to run more. Thing is not everyone can, wants, or should run everyday. For example, you need to let your muscles recover, you need to make sure you vary your works outs, and sometimes you’re just too busy to run!
So, with that said, there are a few things you can do on your off days to improve your performance.
Top Exercises for Runners:
Strength training plays such an important part in running performance as well as how fit and healthy we are over all. Everyone should be doing a regular strength training program and there are certain moves that runners should focus on.
- Core: Keeping your core strong will help your balance and posture. Easy exercises to work your core include plank variations, bicycle, bridge, lateral leg raises, and russian twists, just to name a handful. These exercises require no equipment, you only need your own body weight, so they are super easy to add to a regular strength routine. The number one core move every runner should doing is planks!
- Legs: Strengthening your legs is obviously going to help your running performance and help you with speed and inclines. Running itself will strengthen your legs but you need to work the lesser used muscles too, plus weight training will help strengthen the muscles you use for running too. You can do moves like squat variations, lunges, and calf-raises. These moves do not require any additional equipment either and are simple to add to your routine.
- Alternate Cardio: Yes, more running means better running, but if you don’t cross train you are missing out on a lot of benefits. Riding your bike, for example, will work different muscle groups while still giving you a great workout. Water jogging is another excellent way to get a workout in, while working muscle groups that you would use during a run, just in an easy and gentle way.
Other ways you can improve your running performance would be to pick a goal and stick to a plan. If you are looking to increase your mileage choose a distance (10k, half-marathon, full-marathon) and stick to a plan to help you achieve your goals safely.
If you are looking for more input and someone who can really get to know you and your goals you can always hire a running coach. You can find one local to you or there are options for online too. A coach can help you reach your goals and can keep track of your running and will know when to push you.
Making sure you fuel your body correctly is another important aspect of running. Make sure to drink enough water, especially when running in the summer, to avoid dehydration. Make sure you are eating lots of fruits and veggies and choosing lean meats and whole grains whenever possible.