Monday, December 5, 2011

Quick Running Tip: Train for Your Pace

It seems obvious: If you currently run the 1.5-mile in 13 minutes, and you want to run it in 11 minutes, then you need to increase your running pace. Of course, as most of us know, it is very difficult to simply run faster. To decrease your 1.5-mile run time, you need to allow your body time to adapt to a faster pace. Running too fast, too quickly, can cause you to run out of energy (or air, depending on your level of fitness), ultimately resulting in a slower run.

One fairly simple technique that can lower your run time is to identify a quicker time and then train for that pace. The trick is only to run at this quicker pace for as long as you can sustain it. When you run out of gas, immediately slow down to finish your run at a more comfortable pace. On the next training day, try to maintain this faster pace for a bit longer. Doing this should drop your run time considerably.

The Basics
  • You should run 1.5-miles 5 days a week.  
  • Run even on days that you are following a weight-lifting or Tabata training routine. 
  • Only run once per day, for no more than 30 minutes. You don't want to overtrain.
  • If you stop making progress on your run times, then reduce your running to 2 days per week for two weeks. Run at your natural pace during this downtime. After these two weeks, go back to your 5-days-per-week training routine.

Running on a 400m Track
  • First, start slowly, moving a minute at a time. For instance, if you are running a 13-minute 1.5-mile, then you should try running a 12-minute pace for as long as you can. Mathematically, that means that you will have to drop your average lap time from 2:10 to 2:00. When you can no longer maintain this faster pace, then finish your run at a slower, more comfortable pace. 
  • Your goal should be to maintain this new pace for more distance with every workout. Remember to run no faster than your calculated pace. You're not trying to kill yourself; you're only training your body to run at a slightly faster pace. 
  • When you can complete the 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes, then start running an 11-minute pace. This means dropping your average lap time from 2:00 to 1:50.
  • Generally, if you want max points, then you will have to train to run the 1.5-mile in 9-minutes (1:30 avg lap) for males and 10-minutes (1:40 avg lap) for females.

Running on Roads, Sidewalks, and Paths
  • This technique becomes much more difficult when running on roads, sidewalks, and paths. For a road course, you can use Google Maps or a vehicle to identify a 1.5-mile course. For sidewalks or paths, a GPS (or a phone equipped with GPS) can be used to identify your route.
  • Tracking your "laps" may be difficult if you are not using a GPS device. Mark the half-way point on your route. If you want to run your 1.5-mile run within 12 minutes, then try to finish each half within 6-minutes. 
  • When you can finish your route within 12 minutes, then move on to the 11-minute pace. This means that you will try to finish each half of your route within 5min 30secs. 
  • Keep training for a quicker run time until you hit your goal pace. 

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