4 Ways to Make Your Running Time More Productive
We all want to get more from our efforts when running. I remember when I first started taking my running seriously, every time I set out I wanted to beat my previous time. I also wanted to improve other metrics I was tracking, such as calories burned, my heart rate and mile times.
Running can be life changing, and it helped me reach my health goals more effectively than anything else I tried. From my own experience, I found that there were four main areas that pushed me to make my running time more productive. I’d like to share those four areas with you today.
This may sound silly, but you’d be surprised how many runners don’t time their runs. I never used to, but something happened when I began to learn how quickly or slowly I ran my route. I noticed myself naturally becoming competitive with myself, which improved my running time, the calories I burned, my heart rate and also my muscular strength.
The technology I use is the FitBit and its accompanying app. It’s simple to wear and you hardly even notice it. The device measures your heart rate, run duration, calories burned and when you enter the “fat burning zone,” which is useful data to know. It then displays the information in the app so that I can check my progress and set up new goals. There are other devices that also work well, but I’ve had a lot of success with the FitBit.
However, I am an overly cautious person. The FitBit app does ask for some personal information, so whenever I use the app I always make my activity private, and you may want to do the same thing. I simply hide my IP address so that nobody gets access to my information; it’s easily done and helps my mind stay focused on running.
Improve Your Stride Rate
If you unsure about what stride rate is, this might initially make you laugh. I know I did the first time I heard about it. However, your stride rate has a big impact on the productivity of your running sessions. To figure out your stride rate, time yourself running at an average pace for one minute, count every stride taken on one foot and then double that number.
The optimal stride rate is 180. If your stride rate is above that, you’re most likely overdoing it, and this will cause your run to suffer since you’ll be unnecessarily burning more energy than you need to. If your stride rate is below 180, don’t worry, that’s normal, as 180 is usually the stride rate of Olympic runners.
But if your stride rate goes below 170, practice taking longer strides to try and get that number up. Once you increase your stride rate, you’ll notice that you can run further and faster, and you won’t overwork your muscles as much.
Back at the beginning of my running journey, I remember feeling unbalanced a lot of the time. This was because I had an imbalance in my muscular strength. To address this, I found out where the imbalances were and then worked on flattening things out. Strength training helped me to achieve this. I used multi-joint exercises such as lunges and squats to work on an entire area on both sides.
Without realizing it, we can slant to one side while sitting down or standing for prolonged periods of time. This activity can create more muscle on one side, which generates an imbalance. If you have an issue in this area, your running time will suffer, since you’ll be overworking one area of your body and fatigue will set in quicker.
If you need help with this, you could approach a running coach or fitness expert and ask them to analyze your physiology for imbalances. However, the likelihood is you’ll notice it yourself when running. Once you do, some strength training will go a long way towards helping you correct it.
Mix up your Route
Lastly, I noticed that when I had a moment of spontaneity and mixed up my running route, I got an explosion of energy and enthusiasm. This burst of excitement dramatically impacted my running time and the other metrics being tracked by my FitBit.
Try to mix up your regular running route now and then, and see how it changes your motivation, determination and willpower to keep on going. The freshness of a new route is sometimes the perfect solution to a dip in your performance.
Get Out There and See Results
Overall, these four ways to make running time more productive were very influential and powerful for me. I’m certain that they will be useful to you too. Through tracking your performance, improving your stride rate, addressing your strengths and imbalances, and mixing up your route, you can enhance the effectiveness of your running sessions.
You don’t have to use all of these methods, but even one or two of them combined may transform your results.
Author bio: Cassie is a health and tech blogger with a keen passion for running. She also likes to keep up-to-date with the latest advances in terms of technology and fitness, as she finds they help uncover how we think and perform while exercising.