Did You Know?
On an average, professional runners take anywhere around 185 - 200 steps (strides) per minute.
Running doesn't just form the basic of various outdoor sports, but is also considered one of the most important components of fitness training. Long-distance running and sprinting, both have their own benefits. Based on this, experts suggest that combining both can help you enhance your fitness. Easier said than done though!
To run fast continuously for a long time, you need to strike a balance between your speed and distance. You might cover a distance of 100 m in 12 seconds, but it won't be possible for you to run at the same speed for 1000 m. If your goal is 1000 m, you will have to cut down on speed and preserve your stamina. The magic word here is 'stamina'. If you have a good stamina, you will be able to cover 1000 m at a considerable speed; though not the speed at which you would cover 100 m, considerably fast nevertheless.
Tips to Run Faster and Longer
The most important thing to do before indulging in any sort of physical activity is to warm up. The easiest way to do this, is to start with simple jogging and follow it up with stretching exercises. This will ensure that you don't suffer from any cramps or muscle tears.
Proper Running Technique
In your quest to run faster for a longer duration, the running technique you use and your body posture will play a crucial role by helping you conserve energy. The correct body posture while running includes keeping your head and torso straight and shoulders loose. The latter will facilitate free movement of arms.
You should also keep a track of the number of strides you take per minute. Just measure the number of times your right foot hits the ground and multiply it by two. Over the period, try to increase the number of strides. As you increase the number of strides, your confidence will also be bolstered and that, in turn, will take you a few 'strides' closer to your goal.
Some people are of the opinion that it is better to take longer strides, as it helps to cover more distance. The fact, however, is that longer strides do more harm than good. For instance, when you take a long stride, you hit the ground with your heel and that makes you vulnerable to injuries. If running has earned a bad repute, it is because of these injuries. Instead, you should lean your body forward while running; it will help you keep the strides small and prevent impact injuries.
If you can't stop landing on your heels, you can give barefoot running (or barefoot-inspired footwear for that matter) a try. With no artificial cushioning, the ball of the foot will come in contact with the ground. This will provide a smooth, springy action and ensure that you don't get injured.
Proper Breathing Technique
It's not just important to master the right technique of running, but is also important to master the right technique of breathing. And the right technique is to breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Many runners prefer 3:2 ratio of breathing while running, wherein they inhale for three steps and exhale for the subsequent two.
After you cover a considerable distance at a high speed, your breathing pattern will automatically change to 2:1, wherein you will inhale for two steps and exhale for one step.
Some Training Tips
• The ability to run faster and longer will not develop overnight. You will have to put in a lot of hard work for the same. Regular training is the key if you want to improve your stamina. Once you get well-versed with this rule of the thumb, the task will become easy.
• Initially, you will find it difficult to cover a long distance when you are running fast. So, on the first day, make a note of the time you take to cover a specific distance and gradually try to better the same by increasing your speed and the distance to be covered. By resorting to this method, you will be able to increase your stamina as well as average speed.
• Ideally, you shouldn't increase your speed by more than 10 percent a week. With time you can add variations to your training to increase your resistance level by either training on some incline or in sand.
• When you focus on speed and distance, you cannot afford to ignore your diet. You must have come across people who say that running on an empty stomach promotes weight loss, however, there is no concrete evidence to back that claim. A tried and tested method is to load yourself with carbs an hour before you set out. And if you intend to be on the road for more than an hour, do carry some carbs along.
If you want to make things more meaningful, you can start monitoring your speed and try to beat your own timing. Like we said in the beginning, there are no shortcuts to success. The only key to success is hard work; rigorous training to be precise.