Tag Archives: speed

Hitting the Wall: Tips for Finishing the Running Distance

24 Feb

You set out to run a mile. Not 3 laps, not 6 min. ONE mile. But your body (or is it your mind?) is fighting with your goal. You feel tired. You are breathing ragged, and starting to collapse. Every second is horrible. You want to quit.

DON’T!

I mean, unless you have a medical situation (check with your Dr. before engaging in physical activity).

Aside from that–you can do it. You’d be surprised at what your body can handle if you’re mind would just get on board. I mean, watch this survival show, “I Shouldn’t be Alive” at some point. You’ll see what humans can tolerate. You can handle this, and you should train your brain that pushing your limits isn’t quitting time.

But how to go about it?

In the long term, remember why you started running in the first place. You had your reasons. Now think about them. Quitting early gives you a fraction of the benefits too. One of my favorite quotes is “If you’re not going to go hard, why go at all?” which hits on the point I’m trying to make. You set a goal–now do the whole thing. Why bother if you’re not going to do it right?

Have your poster with all your motivational quotes that we talked about making before and hang it where you run (or look at it right before you leave). Refer to it often.

Now to the tricky stuff. Train. Your. Brain. Teach your mind to get comfortable with a little discomfort. Again, I’m not talking torn ACL and asthma attacks here. Regular tiredness and fatigue should be something you can work through.

Don’t fixate on the distance that’s left or your speed or other metrics if you wanna stop. It just turns tortuous and slow. Instead, think of your mantra, turn on your most hyped up power song, sing in your head. Distract!

Then, do some physical adjustments. Because when you get tired your form suffers and ironically, bad form takes MORE energy. You want to be as efficient as possible. Also, you know how you have to concentrate on having good form, so you hardly do it bc it’s so effortful? Now is the perfect time. We need to distract the mind from complaining and make our body more efficient. Go through a checklist and do it over and over. This also has the bonus of helping your running form in the long term!

Think about relaxing the cheecks on your face. They should be bouncing with every step.

Is your neck tight? Concentrate on relaxing it.

Relax your shoulders too.

Look up (more than you think you need to). It should feel exaggerated. When you get tired you start to hunch and crunch downward–very inefficient of a posture.

Your shoulders should be back so your lungs can be open. I attempt to push my lower back forward in order to open my lungs more. Your face feels up to the sky, now think about pointing your heart to the sky as well. Carebear stare, anyone?! This will also feel exaggerated, but it’s just normal form. I promise, your body feels crazy, but it’s actually just upright again.

Hardly anyone has good arms when running. It takes loads of concentration to get it right–perfect for this situation! Relax the hands. Stiff, tight fists make for stiff tight everything–not what you’re going for. Position of the hands doesn’t matter as much as relaxation. Seriously, you don’t want to be tight and stiff anywhere when you run. Next, make sure it’s your upper arm that’s creating the swing (not like a drumming motion of your forearms). Next, actually USE those arms to propel you. The energy between your arms and legs should be more equally divided. Most people are just forcing their lower body to do ALL the work. I think about my hand/arm going from my “holster” near the back of my waist to my shoulder-level in front. It’s a pretty big swing. And the elbows should be in, toward the body. Honestly, look up something online about good arms and follow it. Things get very technical, and everyone could use improvement.

Do your shoulders and pelvis line up? No twisting. Make sure they’re squared and facing forward. Knees too. Line everything up. When you’re tired, your legs might start doing wonky stuff, and this isn’t great for speed/endurance–but it can really cause long term damage.

Lengthen your stride. I think about letting my back foot trail more. Your steps should be long so you take less of them.

Play with stride length. I read somewhere that if short quick steps have you tired, that switching to long strides uses a different set of (less fatigued) muscles. I don’t know if it’s perfectly true, but at the very least it’s an additional thing to distract you from being tired. Try tiny, fast steps or alternate to long, slow strides.

Lastly, consider running faster. It sounds crazy when you’re tired and want to stop, but if you go faster you’ll finish the distance sooner! And often if you speed up you’re thinking so much about just staying upright, that you don’t have time to agonize.

Basically, distract your mind and focus on your form. You can do it-if I can do it, so can you!

30 20 10s HIIT Running Workout also Gets You in Shape FAST

6 Jan

When I’m trying to bust through that dreaded out-of-shape phase, I also (See my incline and intervals post for other workouts that help you get in shape faster) do 30-20-10s. That stands for 30 sec normal speed-20 sec fast-10 sec at peak speed.

It’s the same premise as intervals. And it works your heart real good (I think) under the same premise. But it’s more levels. The big thing about this workout is aside from helping you get fit faster–it’ll help you run faster! Serious. It has helped me get personal records and also increase my endurance.

Here’s how it works:

I’ll go backwards in the description (and sometimes I do run it in backwards order and do 10-20-30). The 10 seconds is supposed to be literally the fastest speed you can possibly do. Like, the speed you can barely get to in the first place. A speed so fast you’re nearly falling off the treadmill. It’s only for 10 sec, so the thought is, you can do ANYTHING for just 10 seconds. And I find that’s true.

The 20 seconds is your fast speed. The high part of your low-high intervals. A fast clip. It’s a challenge, but not the TOP speed you can go. I try to split the difference between the speed of my 30s and my top, top speed that I do on the 10s.

30 seconds is faster than comfort pace. It’s not your warm up pace, but not too far above it.

Some hardcore people just do the 30-20-10s and repeat 30-20-10s for the time/distance of their workout. I like to put a slow rest period after that 10 sec. So I do 45 Sec to 60 sec of warm up or slower depending on my fitness level at the time.

And as with regular intervals, you can change the rest period, and all 3 speeds. Which I do. I try to shorten/eliminate the rest, and I try to push that top speed up. Which will happen naturally as you practice and get in better shape. The 10 sec should ALWAYS be your very fastest speed that you can barely do.

An example workout with speeds:

30 sec at 7 (my warm up speed is 6)

20 sec at 8.3 (to kind make a halfway point between my 30 and 10)

10 sec at 9.5 on the treadmill

45 sec of rest at 5.5 (more time or slower if I’m out of shape, less time, faster speed, or eliminate the rest when I’m in good condition).

Again, this example is for when I’m in good condition. Right now, while I’m dealing with coldness/holiday out of shape I would do:

10 sec at 8 or 8.5 (depending how cold it is in my house–DON’T pull a muscle, in cold go slower!)

20 sec at 7

30 sec at 6

rest at 5 for 1 min

Good luck, I hope the 30-20-10s help you as they have helped me.

P.S. per the usual, consult experts if you have health conditions.

Intervals are a FAST Way to Get in Shape

5 Jan

Along with running on an incline, interval workouts are one of the fastest ways to get in shape.

The nice thing about them, is you can customize your workout. YOU decide:

how many levels you will have (2: fast slow or a few different speeds?)

how long of a rest period

how long of an intense period

how long you go (a certain distance or a certain time or after completing a number of the sets)

And depending on your fitness level you can change any of these variables. It’s also a great boredom or plateau-buster for this reason.

The point of intervals is to push yourself. But then you get a built in rest. And you do it over and over to make your heart stronger. Probably other stuff shapes up too, but I never said I was an expert on human physiology 🙂

I’ll give you an example of a slow out-of-shape beginner workout I am currently doing (I’m kinda outta shape from cold and holiday season slow runs) and my workout from summer when I’m in peak condition so you can get the hang of building your own routine:

I warm up until I have to take my coat off (it’s 55F and I’m acclimated to 90F). My muscles aren’t tight, my breathing is just at the point I have to open my mouth.

I have been running at 8 (7 on extra cold days b/c pulling a muscle is NOT worth it, and takes like a year to recover from) on the treadmill for 20 sec.

Then I rest for a full minute. And this is extra long of a rest time. And as I regain my endurance, I will shorten it. My rest speed is 5.5 right now. This is also low.

I repeat this 20s @8 to 60s @ 5.5 until I’ve finished a mile.

In summer, I’m pushing to better my personal records all the time. It’s very toasty in my house so I’m not very afraid of pulling tight muscles.

I’m the worst and have very little patience for a big warm up. I maybe go 6m (1 length of a track) then start. I think trainers recommend like a half mile to warm up, so listen to experts on that, probably,

For the intense bursts I do 30 sec at a speed of 9.

I rest at 6.5 speed for 30 sec.

I try to keep these intervals pretty even, and I go until for 1 mile.

I could also go by distance, and I liked that when I ran more on a track (vs my treadmill).

I would sprint the straights and jog the corners.

Or I would sprint a lap and jog a lap.

You really can do anything with it. And for some reason getting your heart rate up, letting it rest, getting it up, in succession really helps get my speed up and endurance better. And it seems to work faster to get through that out of shape phase. Have fun making your own intervals workout!