Whether you just took up running or have years of experience, you definitely have the goal of reaching your full running potential. I know so because I’m a runner too and that’s something we all have in common—we all want to push ourselves to the next level.
Here’s the bad news: such results aren’t likely to occur overnight. If you desire instant gratification, running won’t be a great disappointment.
But, there’s a beauty in the intensity of training and being alone with your thoughts for miles on end. All it takes is for that one breakthrough race or long run to show you why those hard days and difficult workouts were worth it.
Without further ado, here are my best recommendations to help you take your running routine to the next level.
1. Increase Your Mileage
Yes, this sounds scary at first, but increasing your weekly mileage can go a long way.
Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean jumping the gun and running 20 miles one week and 60 miles the next week.
Instead, stick to the 10% rule. This simple principle states you should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% than the previous week.
So, if your goal is to reach 60 miles a week and you’re only at 20, it will take many months of training. However, patience is a virtue and you’ll keep your body safe and healthy without burning out or risking overuse injuries.
To stay safe and comfortable while logging in the miles, it’s key to have a pair of running shoes that offer the right amount of cushion and stability. So, research the best training shoes for men or women and go to your local running store to give them a test ride! Some running specialty stores even perform free gait analyses and take molds of your feet to put you in the perfect shoe.
2. Track Your Mileage in a Training Log
To increase your mileage, you want to create a training plan and log it. Laying out a monthly calendar and writing down weekly goal mileage will help you stick to your routine and budget time so you can squeeze your run in.
You can create a running log online, or opt for a traditional running planner where you can write down your goals, your mileage, and keep track of any training related factor that influences both your performance and recovery.
Running logs are extremely important for beginners and elite runners alike. They help you move forward with a healthy progression and allow you to look back on how workouts felt on a certain day, what shoes you were wearing, or what the weather was like.
Being able to see the big picture will allow you to curtail your training if anything feels off. Are your legs extremely heavy every time you need to do a workout? Look at your training log and see if you’re working out too close to your long run or if the time of day you run is affecting your performance.
3. Join a Club or Team
Running alone is great. You’re able to go your pace, zone out, and really focus on your breathing and how you’re feeling. But, running alone every single day can be a drag.
On those days where it’s raining heavily or you simply can’t get out of bed, having a partner, club, or team to run with will push you to go the extra mile! USATF, the governing body of all things running related, has lists of local clubs and teams in your area you can join or try out for.
Or, use apps to meet people who have similar interests as you. This way, you’ll make new friends and have someone to push you to the next level!
You don’t know how to find the right running partner? Check my guide here.
4. Don’t Neglect the Little Things
To be the best runner you can be, you can’t neglect the little things.
What are the little things?
Everything else that isn’t running!
The little things include sleep, stretching, injury prevention, strength training, food— you name it! Anything that can impact your running falls under the “little things” category. Tuning into and listening to your body is what will bring your running routine to the next level.
Don’t second guess your off-days. Recovery days are just as important as your speed and long run days because it allows your body to repair itself and build muscle.
Here are some ways you can take care of the little things:
- Get enough sleep!
- Fuel your body with proper nutrition
- Take care of nagging injuries like plantar fasciitis before they escalate
- Foam roll and stretch, especially after tough workouts
- Stay well-hydrated
The Bottom Line
Taking your running routine to the next level will take some time, persistence, and hard work. From adding a few extra miles to your training log each week, adding a few more speed workouts, and taking care of your overall well-being, you’ll be seeing faster results in no time!
In the meantime thank you for dropping by.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.
Keep running strong