I’d like to start by saying there are A LOT more than 3 things that have made me a better runner. However, in this post I wanted to focus on a few. I chose the top 3 things – according to me…obviously – that have made me a faster, stronger, and more confident runner. I have talked about all of these things before, but I wanted to put them all together in a post. Give people out there an idea what to do if they are trying to improve. I know I still have a lot of room for improvement myself (I don’t think that will ever stop) but here are some things I have learned on my journey so far.
The first thing that I tell people when the ask about running advice is that you NEED good shoes. You will hear a lot of people say that, then add, “expect to pay a lot”. Not true. Good running shoes are an absolute must, paying $$$ is not. What I usually do is buy last season’s model shoe, even 2 seasons ago if they are still available. I was lucky and was chosen as a ZOOMA ambassador. Altra is a sponsor for ZOOMA so I got mine for free.
These were the shoes I got. Altra Intution 1.5.
As soon as I got them I did a test run. I loved them so much that after my test run I went to the local running store and bought another pair. They didn’t have red so I got the green/gray.
I seriously can’t say enough good things about these shoes. BEST SHOES EVER!
Prepare for a TON of shoe selfies:
Told you I loved them!
The next thing that has helped my training is this book: Hansons Marathon Method. I have become so much faster, and stronger since using their training plan. It is a pretty intense training plan – 6 days a week of running with the beginning plan ranging from 10mi/week to 57 mi/week.
I think this training plan is perfect. The book goes over everything you need to know. They have easy runs, speed and strength workouts, tempo runs and long runs. You really need to stick to it to see improvements. I have been told I am crazy to be running 6 days a week (on top of my cross training with Kaia FIT). People think that it is too much. But it isn’t. Read the book, follow the plan. With Hansons Marathon Method they explain why they made their training plan, the science behind it, and go into everything from running gear to nutrition. I recommend this plan to anyone who is looking to improve their running.
Me at my latest 5k. Before starting Hansons my 5k PR was about 25 minutes, since starting my new PR is 22:35. Which may not seem like a lot but I have been trying forever to get a 24 minute 5k and I finally have…and have actually beat it by a few!
The 3rd thing that I think has helped my running is strength training. In 2012 when I first started running I would do some weights here and there. I was never serous about it. In 2013 I decided I needed to gain muscle. I was tired of my knees hurting after long runs, I wasn’t where I wanted to be physically and despite running all the time I had about 20 lbs I could stand to lose. Now, in 2014 I have lost over 20 lbs and kept it off for over a year (fuck yes!) and since joining Kaia FIT Sunrise I am gaining muscle and strength. I used to do at home or at the park workouts. I saw some improvement but not enough…and not fast enough. We want everything overnight, right? 😉
In my opinion strength training is a must. Whether it be with weights or body strength – I do both – you need to have a strong body to be a strong runner. It isn’t just about the legs, trust me, I have learned the hard way!
The fabulous Kaia ladies! (pics borrowed from Kaia Sunrise Facebook).
I’m working on some ropes!
I will also soon be doing some drop in classes with Midtown Strength & Conditioning . I joined my friend Stephanie (check her out at Girly Tomboy Musings ) for a workout last week and loved it. Another place dedicated to their clients. They welcome you, make you feel like family and will make you WORK! Love it!
Any place that is dog friendly is okay in my book!
So, since combining all of these things, along with other aspects such as recovery, nutrition…I am stronger, faster and an injury free runner! My next race is tomorrow. I’ll be running the Urban Cow Half Marathon . It will be my first time running this half marathon. I am SUPER excited cats and looking for a new PR. I can’t wait…and don’t worry, you will be hearing all about it in my next post!