I don’t think I’ve ever met a runner who is constantly seeking ways to raise his or her game. Today, I want to look at how a training program for runner progression can help you progress without frustration or injury.
Running is one of the sports in which it’s possible to see a constant natural progression.It can also be conducted indoors or out, making it less weather-dependent than, say, surfing or snowboarding.
However, just like surfing and snowboarding, running can be an incredibly frustrating experience! A training program for runner progression can help you improve in all sorts of areas, from speed to endurance and strength.
If you’ve hit a workout wall and don’t seem to be able to blast your way through it, a training program for runner progression may be the answer.
You may not be doing anything wrong per se. It may just be that you need to make a couple of small changes to the way you work out.
Some runners aren’t overly keen on following plans as they imagine them to be too restrictive. I say, prepare to be pleasantly surprised!
Try the training program for runner progression outlined below. This may sound like a well-worn cliche but you really have nothing to lose! What’s more, it may just be the key to overcoming that frustrating training plateau.
Strength Training Program for Runner Improvement
Many runners’ eyes glaze over when they hear the term ‘strength training’. Ignore this form of exercise and you’re missing a very important trick! A strength training program for runner progression can add serious power and speed to your stride. Did you know that there’s only so much you can do by simply running alone when it comes to gaining leg muscle strength? Runners can’t run using lungs alone!
Resistance training also helps increase joint stability – great for avoiding injury.
Cycling can help you build leg muscle but if you’re not a bike owner and are short on time, a simple 20 or 30-minute strength training session is the way forward.
When I say ‘strength training’ I’m referring to a series of exercises.
Here are my 10 favourite strength training exercises for runners:
Squats, lunges, knee extensions, lateral leg raises, single leg deadlifts, single leg hops, crunches, the plank, bicep curls, tricep curls.
You’ll see from the list above that’s it’s not just the lower body that’s getting a workout. It’s essential to work on the core and developing stronger arms, too. By using more of your body to propel you forward, you’ll gain power and avoid over-reliance on specific muscles, which can lead to injury.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-follow plan, try Strength and Conditioning for Runners. It’s a 12-week training program for runner progression that’s got all the tools you need, including videos and workout trackers. You’ll know you’re performing the exercises correctly because I demonstrate all of them for you.
Mixing things up will also stop boredom setting in. Variety is a great way to stop your brain and body from becoming acclimatised to the same old exercise. If your workout week has been roughly the same for the last couple of months, it’s time to do something different.
Follow a strength training program for runner improvement and you’ll come back a more motivated and efficient machine!
Interval Training Program for Runner Improvement
Now we’ve got strength sorted, let’s have a close look at speed and endurance. If you want to add speed and distance to your runs without injuring yourself, interval training is the way to go. Blending high and low intensity bouts of exercise gives you a workout that’s both aerobic and anaerobic.
An interval training program for runner improvement will help you:
Boost cardio fitness levels and metabolic levels
Increase lower leg strength (you’ll gain lean muscle)
Become more efficient at consuming energy – an essential ability for any runner looking for significant improvement in performance.
Discover your natural pace
Learn how to put on a burst of speed without exhausting yourself in the process
Perhaps most importantly, an interval training program for runner improvement will help you improve VO2 max. I don’t want to sound like a medical reference book here but it’s vital to understand this term if you want to get to grips with what you’re doing and why.
Here’s a simple definition of VO2 max (also called maximal oxygen uptake):
VO2 max is the maximum capacity your body can transport and consume oxygen during exercise that increases in intensity over time. In short, it’s a measurement that indicates your capacity for aerobic exercise.
It’s an excellent indicator of physical fitness.
Broken down, it simply refers to volume, oxygen and max. You hit VO2 max when the oxygen consumed by your body stays at a constant level regardless of how hard the workout becomes.
Ok, so we’ve identified why an interval training program for runner progression is a good idea.
Now, it’s time to look at how to get started!
For the sake of argument, I’m going to talk about interval training in relation to intermediate runners. The interval principle is often used for race preparation. If you’re planning to run a 10 or a half marathon within the next few months, you’ll be looking around for a good, well-rounded training program for runner progression. Simply adding distance to your runs won’t cut it. In fact, it can be the highway to injury. Speed work is essential if you want to stay focused, motivated and complete the course in the best possible time.
Even if you aren’t running a race this year, an interval training program for runner improvement is still a good idea for all the reasons outlined above.
Try Treadmill Trainer. It’s a great intro to the world of interval running and will show you how to push yourself without injury. I’ll take you through a warm up followed by three intense interval sections then we’ll finish with a cool down section.
You don’t have to worry about timings, music or anything except the task at hand. The beauty of an interval training program for runner improvement is that everything is taken care of for you.