While the warm summer months provide all the motivation you need to take your workout outside, it is easy to slip into a stagnant, repetitive running routine that sacrifices results. But training your body to run faster and further really is straightforward and by simply making a few simple changes to your training you will see results in your speed and running efficiency in just a few weeks. We sought advice from our friends at leading running brands including Karhu and Satisfy for ways to improve your running performance this summer.
Despite a modest population of 5.2 million inhabitants, Finland is home to some of running’s most iconic names. There are two elements that make Finnish runners a special breed: the first, “Sisu”, means a strong strength of will; the second, “Rullaava”, translates literally to “Rolling”, alluding to the proper running form for associated with the country’s most famous runners.
When a runner’s movements are all directed forward rather than up, down or sideways, the runner achieves the greatest efficiency in their stride—and consequently the best performance. Karhu, Finland’s heritage running brand, teamed up with renowned Finnish runner and coach Kirsi Valasti to educate runners about Forward Running and how it can bolster your running performance. Check out the series below to learn how you can improve your running form.
As with any endurance sport, your mind can be your biggest asset or enemy to your performance. Enjoying your training and achieving your best performance is not solely down to physical conditioning, but will also be hugely affected by your mentality and approach to running.
If you tie yourself down to run a specific number of times per week or sandwich your runs between long days at work and evening tasks, it is likely that your workout will start to feel more like a burden than anything enjoyable or relieving.
Instead, take cues from the philosophy of our friends at Satisfy Running in striving for what they label “The High” in running. Every run should be considered a time of release, liberation and pleasure when you can free your mind of the daily grind and live in the moment. Or as the Satisfy mantra has it:
The solo long run is a transformative experience. It’s on this daily odyssey that a runner experiences another level of consciousness – a heightened state that allows for intense reflection, connection and creativity. We call this moment The High and it informs everything we do.
Deriving from the Swedish word for “speed play”, fartlek training simply involves mixing up the terrain and speed of your runs without a specific plan or goal. Transitioning between paces over varying terrains helps keep your workout more interesting but also helps build both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles, developing your levels of endurance, strength and adding more power to your stride.
Train Smarter, Not Faster
When hitting the track, many runners can’t help but try to run at full pelt virtually from the off. After all, if you’re running your fastest, you’ll be running at your most efficient too, surely?
Of course this isn’t true, and to achieve greater efficiency and performance in your run you are much better off slowing down and training smart. Consider investing in a heart rate monitor and setting it to keep your running at a specified pace so that you don’t burn out too quickly, tire and stop giving attention to your technique and gait.
Sportswear has radically developed over the past couple of decades, becoming increasingly technical and technology-focused to help enhance performance. Many brands claim to have near miraculous impacts on sporting performance, and you would be forgiven in thinking that by simply spending the money on the latest gear you can simply pay to slice time off your PB.
But instead of shaving time off your run, well-designed, high-quality running gear will help remove any distractions, inspire you to get outside, and indirectly help you focus on your performance. In doing so, the right running kit will allow you to completely focus on you and your time.