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It doesn’t matter if you don’t have free time: tricks to run like a pro

Although most runners think that the more miles they run per week the faster they will be, this is not true. It is advisable to use other methods.

tricks to run like a pro
Tricks to run like a pro

The reasons why one starts running are similar but not identical. Some start running simply to get in shape, others try to find the formula to reduce the stress of the day life and others simply do some kind of exercise to help improve their health, eliminating the sedentary lifestyle of their lives. But what they all agree on when they have been training for a while, is to improve their times. One starts running simply to improve their health and all end up doing it to improve their training times, to be able to run more distance in less time.

You can’t generalize and set an ideal type of training for everyone. Although the ideal routine to be faster is the series, everyone needs to customize their training plan depending on the time they have been running, their weight, the time available to train each day and the days available, during the week, age and the type of race one wants to prepare for; thus, there would be generic guidelines on how to train to be faster depending on the training time available.

Because although most runners think that the more kilometers they run per week, the faster they will be, this is not true. If we do not introduce the strength factor that is improved either with weights or with series training, we will become slower. It is more effective to perform a specific training that really helps to improve our speed through a fundamental parameter, the improvement of strength-endurance. It is not a matter of improving pure speed, that which we develop in a maximum space of 100 meters, but of maintaining the highest possible pace for a minimum of 5 kilometers and a maximum of 42K.

Having so little time to train, the ideal is to do short series and on hills. Here is a series of workouts to perform between one and two days a week:

Here is a series of workouts to be done one to two days a week:

If you only have 20 minutes to train

What to do

As a general rule, you should always spend at least five minutes warming up to prepare your muscles. After that, the best way to improve your strength, power, running economy, neuromuscular capacity and delay fatigue is to do short sprints.

How to do it

In this case and having so little time to train, the ideal is to do short series and uphill. Short series are very harmful, so if we introduce the hill factor, it forces us to reduce speed (and therefore injuries), and instead redouble the enhancement of strength, power and speed.

On hills of approximately one hundred meters, complete between 3 and 4 sets. Perform each series progressively, i.e., start slower, and speed up as you advance in distance, to end up running close to 100% of the M.H.F. (Maximum Heart Rate). Return jogging very gently to the starting point and repeat the remaining series. Finish by jogging for another five minutes, to cool down and return to calm.

If you have 30 minutes

In this case the most interesting workout is the one we complete in about one minute. In this time you will be able to run about 300 meters and running fast over this distance forces you to lengthen your stride a little.

What to do

Perform 7 repetitions in continuous running.

How to do it

As always, start by warming up for five minutes. Then run in intervals, i.e., push the pace for one minute, reaching 85-90% of your F.C.M., and without stopping, continue running for two minutes but at a much slower pace, to recover. Then intensify the pace again for one minute and so on. Finish by trying the last five minutes to return to calm.

If you have 45 minutes

What to do

To improve your heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen to your muscles and therefore run faster, it is best to perform interval training with longer fast and slower stretches.

Run for 40 minutes about 45 seconds slower than your target pace for 5-kilometer runs, so that you are below your threshold.

How to do it

Start by warming up for 5 minutes at a gentle pace to tone your leg muscles. Then in a continuous interval running workout, intersperse three-minute stretches in which you run 10 seconds faster than your 5K target pace and another 3 minutes much slower to recover.

If you have one hour

What to do

In this case, instead of the series, it is more convenient to perform a continuous running workout at a higher pace.

How to do it

Warm up for five minutes. Then get ready to train in a continuous running run in which you maintain a controlled pace but as high and intense as possible within your aerobic parameters. Run for 40 minutes about 45 seconds slower than your target pace for 5K runs so that you always stay below your aerobic threshold. This training helps raise your maximal aerobic threshold, so you can run faster while delaying the onset of fatigue.

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