Completing your first race conjures up great pride and spawns motivation to plan for your next one.
What happens when you approach your second race and the training method you used for your first one no longer works? So many reasons may be the cause: an injury or a change in lifestyle, work-home balance, family demands – all of which affect your training schedule and routine.
When experiencing a decreased availability of running time, one way to accommodate a challenged training plan is to increase your strength training. If you are only running (as opposed to doing races) and wondering how to achieve a higher personal best, then strength training is your answer.
When strength training your legs, you build up the muscle mass required to carry yourself through any race – five kilometers to fifty. Your legs carry you through your runs, while your core, your breathing, your headspace and posture all assume other pertinent roles.
Consider the following training options for an upcoming race:
1. Strength Train
Spend two to three days a week working on increasing muscle mass and strength in your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Perform exercises such as squats, weighted lunges, kettlebell swings and weighted step-ups.
2. Hire a Personal Trainer
Consider hiring a trainer to help improve your strength and mobility with specific exercises to target your weaker areas to complement your running goals. Having scheduled sessions also encourages you to not miss a single one.
3. Stretch Often
Prevent any injuries early on by listening to your body; carve out time after each exercise to incorporate stretching. If you feel any pulls or tightness around your legs during an exercise, make sure you address the pain versus continuing to press on.
4. Cross Train
The best way to flush your legs of lactic acid build up after a long run is with a spin class or a bike ride.
5. Nourish Your Body
Know what your body needs pre- and post-run (not just what it wants). Your best bet is to follow a complete whole-foods diet and forego the post-run snacks and goodies. Nourish your body with foods it needs so you can recover and not crash.
Implementing a strength training regime is one great option to speed up your race time, complement your cardio and decrease your recovery time as you strive to gear up for your next race.