Diana Clement

Your Money and careers writer for the NZ Herald

Step up your pace on the road

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There's plenty of help out there if you're having trouble getting your running up to speed, writes Diana Clement.

Part 2 of a 3-part series

Photo / Paul Estcourt
Photo / Paul Estcourt

So you've started your running programme. Doing the same old run repeatedly isn't going to get you much fitter, but there are tricks that make going faster and further easy.

Set goals
Goals give you a reason not to lapse back to couch potato status. These may be to exercise a certain number of days a week, increase your mileage, or compete in a certain event.

Improve your running style
If you're not a trained runner it's really easy to get into bad habits such as over-striding, heel-striking, or leaning back with your upper body. See YouTube for free technique videos.

Improve your breathing
Breathing well improves running efficiency. Breathing to your step pattern works for some. For more ideas, Google "breathing" and "running".

Quicken your running cadence
Top runners take 180 to 190 steps per minute. Find out your rate by timing yourself over a minute and counting.

You can speed up your cadence by using a metronome or an MP3 player or iPod.

Find out more about techniques
Try interval training to increase speed and endurance. For example, you may run short bursts of 100m, followed by 200m or 400m of slow recovery. Hill sprints are an alternative that help build up your strength as well. The idea is to run hard up a hill, jog down slowly, then repeat a number of times. Other similar speed improvers are fartleks (Swedish for "speed play"), tempo runs and striders, all of which are described on the internet.

Join a regular run
My running always improves out of sight when I join a group.

Do one long run every week
Increasing your distance gradually helps improve fitness. Runners in training will typically do one long run a week as well as a number of shorter workouts.

Tips

* Use tried and tested techniques to improve speed and endurance rather than simply driving yourself faster and harder.

* Try professional training techniques such as interval training, fartleks, and hill strides.

* Improve your running style. It saves energy.

* Find ways to join other runners on fun runs and in groups.

Next week
Technology to up your game.

- NZ Herald

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