Whether you are building your base levels or develping your performance gains, your running form or technique needs to be a key part of your foundation for the best results
When training hard for a race, your goal is to gain the best physiological adaptations within your musculature and cardiovascular system to hit peak performance. So technique training is a waste, right? Wrong!
The right technique-based running sessions can be utilised as intense intervals in order to attach your running goals with a double-edged sword (is there any other kind?). Although as a beginner some of the sessions will not quite achieve this, it won’t be long before you are begging your coaches to reach up on the technical sessions.
- Technique equals efficiency.
- Outdoor work for beginners.
- Utilize the treadmill and a coach.
- Speed technique work.
Technique equals efficiency
In the long term, if your technique is poor you will be slower, and more likely to injure yourself, leaving you unable to run. When you look at it this way, even if you are not competing and you just love the runner’s high and physiological advantages you get from running – it is still work swapping out one of your casual runs, or intervals for technique sessions. I cannot emphasise this enough. It can be made sports-specific or to match your run. Had a hill session marked in? Complete that session, sacrifice 5-10 seconds off each hill run (scaled to distance) and focus on between one and three technical aspects. Had a long slow recovery run planned? Easy. Swap it for a walk run allowing the same session time, run slightly faster focusing on your technical points, and then give yourself a 5-minute brisk walk between sets. Continue for your whole session time. Your body will thank you for running more efficiently – if you are a racer your will only increase your pace, and if you’re a casual runner for the love of the game – it will keep you safer for longer. Allowing you to keep doing what you love.
Outdoor work for beginners
If you have just begun your running journey, that’s great news. And if you have a coach they will give you plenty of tips and help on the treadmill. But say you have just looked up a few technical aspects and a trying to practice – you can do this on an outdoor run. But do take care of yourself. If you begin trying to change your technique alone and all at once, you will not do well. Most often people will overload a certain muscle group and pick up an injury. Here is my advice – on your outdoor run, pick a flattish course, surrounded by lamp posts, fences or trees. Sounds strange I know. Whilst completing your weekly 5-10km uses these landmarks to set a distance in which time you will focus on practising technique. An example would be six lamp posts. Then use another 6 to just relax and run normally. This will stop you from mentally fatiguing from having to focus while trying to exercise, which is hard! It also gives your body a chance to adapt slowly to your new movement patterns which are vital to keeping your body healthy. Obviously, if you have a running watch, you can just use work rest time brackets which will achieve the same ends. Either way, as I’ve said earlier there is no sacrifice to fitting in technique – it will only benefit you.
Utilise the treadmill and a coach
I simply cannot overstate the benefits of completing a block of technique work with a running coach. Not only will you learn about the biomechanics of running and your own body – your fitness will increase. Running technique sessions is hard. Using a coach and a treadmill with a mirror gives the opportunity for real-time feedback, instead of just trusting that you’re making the right changes on your own. This is because the speed necessary to change technique and create new movement patterns is at least 10% faster than your fastest 10km pace. Couple that with the treadmill hill, plus sport-specific exercises intertwined with your runs and it’s quite the workout. It will supplement a tough interval into your session whilst gaining all the benefits of having a coach. Then you can feel guilt-free when you go for an enjoyable longer and slightly slower run on the weekend! It’s an investment in your future – a great technique will prolong your running career and make it far more enjoyable. Having a coach gives you a different insight and allows an intensity that can be difficult to create outside the gym. If you haven’t tried it then please – give it a go.
Now for the treadmill itself. Simply it is a fantastic tool to use for hills, faster intervals, speed work, fartlek training and more. It saves time and hassle, you can do it at the gym, or at home if you are lucky. Not having to drive or run a great distance to find the hill or track you need is a huge advantage. I’m well aware that some people find treadmill running hard work – but experience has told me that the right podcast or playlist, makes it a whole lot easier.
Speed technique work
If you want to get faster, improve in races, or just get as hard a running workout as possible, speed work is the way forward. This is as hard as it gets for a training session – but you should try to fit it in if possible. Trying to run faster without technique can lead to all sorts of injuries – with a coach this will be mitigated, and we have the right programme to be specific to your goals. Speed technique work can be done in blocks, and is best performed weekly from 10-12 weeks out from your race event. It will take you to new levels of fitness – with runs pushing well about your race pace using hills for prolonged periods of time. Initially, the rest time is manageable, but it ramps off quickly. If you are an ambitious runner, it’s a challenge you will relish – whether you working towards the 10km or the marathon – speed technique work are intervals that you don’t want to miss.
- Technique training will make you a safer, faster runner in the long term.
- You can complete many different sessions outdoors having sessions for slow or fast runs.
- Using a treadmill and coaching is a great way to trick yourself into completing harder but most beneficial intervals.
- Speed technique work will give you the most bang for your buck! You’ll be fitter than ever.