Running articles for endurance athletes.

How to consistently improve your running performance

We all run with the purpose of improving something: whether that’s to improve our health, improve fitness, lose weight or to improve our race times. Whatever your reason for running, it’s likely you’re trying to improve something, and therefore looking to see a progression - otherwise why continue to put in all the training miles? The problem is training progression is never constant, sometimes we improve, sometimes we don’t, and often runners are in a state of performance flatline, where performances remain fairly static for many months at a time. So how can we achieve a more consistent level of improvement? In this article we’ll take a look at running plateaus, why…

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Why endurance runners should practice race day nutrition in training

Whilst runners naturally focus a lot of attention on endurance running sessions, often less attention is placed on practising race day nutrition in the build to important long-distance races such as marathons, or ultra marathons. As an endurance athlete you’ll know the importance of using good nutrition strategies to maximise running performance. Whether this takes the form of energy gels, energy drinks, or foods like a banana, or energy bar, the consumption of regular carbohydrates and sufficient fluids will help to delay fatigue, reduce muscle glycogen depletion, and significantly enhance running performance. However, whilst there are clear benefits to race day fuelling strategies, for some runners there can be a downside in…

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Running Cadence – how important is it?

There are many factors that contribute to endurance running performance - VO2max, running efficiency, lactate threshold, muscular endurance and strength to name a few. However, if we break running down to its simplest form, there are only two metrics that ultimately determine how fast you run: your stride length and running cadence. It’s a simple law of running that the speed you run at over any distance, will always be determined by how long your stride is multiplied by the number of strides, or steps, you take per minute.With endurance running, it’s our ability to run with both a high cadence and good stride length, over prolonged distances, that is key to…

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Running Technique: Is changing from a heel first to a mid-foot running style beneficial?

Heel first running styleOver recent years there has been increasing interest in the potential benefits of changing from a heel first running style to mid-foot strike. Advocates of mid-foot running styles claim decreased injury rates and improve running efficiency, compared with a heel first running style. Since the majority of runners naturally use a rear-foot, or heel first running style, this has led to athletes and coaches looking to ways to change their natural running style in the belief that this may improve running efficiency, exercise performance and reduce injury rates. In order to achieve this specific drills are often utilized to try to encourage a change towards a midfoot or forefoot strike. (more…)

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Plyometric training improves endurance running performance

Despite the proven benefits of plyometric and strength training for endurance athletes it is still not a widely used training method and is often neglected for a variety of reasons including, time constraints, lack of knowledge of its benefits, or fear that it will lead to muscle gains that could potentially harm endurance performance. Recently there has been a large number of studies published in support of the benefits of strength training for endurance. In a recent study published in the Journal of strength and conditioning research the inclusion of explosive strength training/plyometrics significantly improved running performance during a 2.4km endurance run (by nearly 4%). (more…)

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Uphill interval training improves 5km running performance

If like me you’re serious about run training then it’s likely that you include regular hill training as part of your training routine. Hill training is a highly specific way to strengthen the muscles used during running, in fact it is probably the most running specific strength workout you can do. Whilst it is clear that hill running has many benefits for runners there has always been a debate as to what is the best type of hill training (long hills vs short hills, 10k pace vs 5k pace hill reps etc). Recent research has looked to shed some light on the effects of different hill running intervals on 5km run performance in a group of well trained runners (Barnes et al., 2013). (more…)

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