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Running is an essential function that every human should be able to perform correctly. But most people don’t.
Running quantity has trumped quality for a long time.
This isn’t elitism, or about having to be fast to run, but rather the necessity of needing a good base of speed in order to be safe.
Basic running technique has to be established before work can begin on speed and inefficiencies.
Every human should be able to run a mile in 8 minutes with proper form.
If you can’t run an 8-minute mile, there’s a good chance you’re not able to open up your stride, quicken your cadence, or don’t have adequate muscle conditioning for the length of your run.
This is a sweet spot for beginner to intermediate runners to improve their running form and speed.
To run stronger and faster, address the following three major inefficiencies before speed training and taking on the miles.
There are two possible issues if you are unable to open up your stride:
If mobility is the issue, look at obvious problem areas. Are your hip flexors tight? Can you dorsiflex your ankle properly without discomfort? A few weeks of mobility drills for problem areas should increase your stride length.
If your mobility is okay, assess the landing and carry over phase of your running.
Exercises to create a stronger runner include:
Plyometric exercises like box jumps or jumping lunges are also fantastic for conditioning and develop explosive power.
When working on plyometric exercises, it is important to not rush through them.
Every rep should have maximum explosiveness and muscular contraction.
Do not do plyometrics to muscle failure.
Working on sprints will increase your VO2 max, conditioning, explosiveness, mental fortitude, and lean body mass.
Beginners should start with shorter distance sprints, anywhere from 50-200 yards. Once you are better conditioned, incorporate longer distances like quarter-mile sprints.
The final progression would be half-mile and mile interval sprints; however, these are reserved for more advanced runners. Sprints should be treated like plyometric exercises. Recover fully between sprint sets and every sprint should be a maximum effort with excellent form.
Once you have built a decent base through strength development and speed work, you can start to expand the mileage. Increase your mileage as long as it falls around the 8 minute per mile rule.
Train running anywhere from 2 to 6 days per week, but
The 8-minute mile rule is a fantastic way to work on weak spots and create efficient running form, all while progressing quickly and safely.
Figure out which part of your running form is lagging and work specifically on that issue.
Then work on speed while slowly increasing the mileage within an 8 minute per mile time frame.
Eg, if you can run 2 miles in 18 minutes, look for limiting factors, work on speed, and wait to move on to 3 miles until you can run 2 miles in 16 minutes.
However, if you can’t maintain the same form from mile 1 throughout your run, then there is no reason to increase mileage, and it is in your best interest to improve technique at your current mileage.
If you want to run to improve your health, then learn how run the right way or you’re far better off walking.
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