One of the most exciting parts about running is watching yourself improve over time. However, this isn’t always so easy. When you first start, you get better quickly, but after a while, improving can seem like a tall task. I remember when I hit what felt like a brick wall where I just couldn’t reduce my time. I tried loads of different things, and when they didn’t work, I was worried I was “peaking.”
But deep down I knew this couldn’t be, so I said “enough is enough” and set out to find some ways to make my running time more productive. I wanted to share two of these techniques with you today so that you can avoid that feeling of hitting the wall.
Ration Your Energy Effectively
As with most newcomer and amateur runners, I used to exert far too much energy. I used too many strides and would start out way too fast instead of preserving my energy to help me do better overall. This led me to tire out later on, and my time for the session would suffer.
Rationing your energy is one of those “easier said than done” tasks, though. One helpful thing you can do is find your stride rate. Go for a run and when you’re in a comfortable, stable rhythm, time yourself for one minute and count your strides. The amount of strides you use per minute is your stride rate. Olympic athletes run at 180 strides per minute, so this is a nice target to aim for. However, it’s more important to shoot for consistency so that you can have a benchmark to measure improvements and set goals. Finding your stride rate will also help you determine your ideal pace to help you use your energy as efficiently as possible.
Learn Your Metrics
Using fitness devices and apps to learn your metrics is a very effective way to understand your current running abilities and to determine where you can improve. For example, I use the FitBit as well as the app that comes with it to track my running time, distance, calorie burn and other useful metrics.
Having this information makes my runs more dynamic. I can measure my performance on gradients or my average pace to develop strategies to get better. For example, when I first started doing this I realized I would slow down before a big uphill on my route because I had been going too fast at the beginning of my run. Once I learned this, I started pacing myself better to attack the hill with more energy. This change helped me shave lots of time of my run, boosting my confidence and desire to keep working.
Besides the FitBit, there are lots of running apps to help you track metrics. They are all helpful, but no matter which one you use, they require personal information to work effectively. I always run my activity through a secure connection to make sure everything is protected.
Making your running time more productive is a matter of looking at things differently. Whether it’s your pace, energy use or heart rate, there is always some overlooked area for improvement. Today’s technology makes getting this new perspective much easier so that better results are never too far away.
Author Bio: Cassie is a health and tech blogger with a keen passion for running. She likes to spread awareness for combining technology with running so that people can effectively develop their skills and performance.