If you’re a competitive runner, you know that every second counts when it comes to your run times. Trying to shave extra seconds off of your last time can be a challenge. You might try to add complex training to your workouts, or push yourself past your comfort level in order to improve. Unfortunately, this might not result in any gain to your time. Even worse, it could put you at risk for an injury. Before stepping up your training, consider going back to the basics. A solid foundation is the key to success, and you might have missed some fundamentals that could be hurting your performance.
Try these 5 tips to increase your running efficiency:
- Pay attention to your form. Sore muscles, injury, or fatigue could cause you to develop bad habits when it comes to your form. Make sure that you haven’t developed a bad habit that could be costing you time.
- Count your steps to make sure that you’re in the ideal range. The most efficient runners usually have a rate of around 180 steps per minute. Try timing yourself to see how you compare, then work to increase your steps per minute if you fall short of the 180 per minute range.
- Consider having a stride analysis done to make sure that your body is moving at its best. There are some strides, or running styles, that are considered more efficient than others. An analysis of your stride could reveal areas that you can improve for better time.
- Don’t forget to add strength training to your routine. Many runners focus on endurance and speed, forgetting that strength plays a role in both. Adding strength training to your routine could increase your endurance and decrease your race times.
- Don’t forget to stretch on a regular basis. Regular stretching will increase your flexibility, resulting in better strides and form. There are many stretches that have specific benefits for runners.
If you need help with any of these tips, look for the help of a physical therapist. Physical therapy is not just for recovery after an injury, as many people think. Physical therapists spend years studying human anatomy and movement, and they can easily analyze yours for any sign of a problem. A weakness or deficiency in your movement could be hurting your performance. A physical therapist can prescribe specific exercises and stretches that will get you back on track to beating your best time.