Quick Fixes for Common Running Problems
By Rick Morris
It would be nice if it were a perfect world. Wouldn’t it be cool if we never had any distance running problems? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Every runner has occasional problems or weaknesses in their running. The good news is that any problem can be fixed. Here are some quick fixes for common running problems.
Need for Speed
Those long slow distance training runs are great stress relievers and do an excellent job at improving your overall endurance. Moderate to long distance runs are most likely the training run you perform most frequently. But distance runners can’t live by long slow distance alone. You also have a need for speed. Is your speed lacking? Would you like a quick fix? One of the most efficient workouts for improving your sustainable distance running speed are 5 x 3 minute repeats. These rather intense workouts are physically difficult but theoretically easy. Simply run for 3 minutes at your vVO2 max pace ( running velocity when you reach your maximal oxygen consumption ). You would need a lab test to come up with an exact measure of your vVO2 max but it usually occurs are very close to your 3K race pace. Rather than heading out for a lab test to determine your vVO2 max pace, I would suggest running at about 10 seconds per mile faster than your 5K race pace or a pace that feels very hard. Repeat that 3 minute run 5 times with 2 minutes of complete rest between each repeat. If you have problems completing this workout you could start with 8 x 2 minute repeats and gradually build up to the 5 x 3 minute level.
Do you lack staying power? No worries, you can fix it quickly. Improving your stamina or your ability to run moderate to long distances at a quality pace requires improving your lactate threshold and increasing your physical and mental ability to deal with the affects of metabolic imbalances in your body. Two types of workouts will help accomplish that – tempo training and lactate threshold training. Your stamina quick fix workout combines both of those workouts into one compound set.
Compound set training is progressive in nature. You increase the distance and difficulty as your fitness level increases. A good starting point is 3 x 800/1600/800 meter compound sets. Run 800 meters at 10K pace or a moderately hard to hard pace, 1600 meters at tempo pace or moderate to moderately hard pace and then another 800 meters at 10K pace. Take no recovery between the components of the compound set. Recover between each compound set with 400 meters at an easy pace.
Are you having problems staying mentally strong when you reach high levels of fatigue? You aren’t alone. Staying mentally strong while dealing with the physical and mental symptoms of extreme fatigue is one of the most common competitive running problems. As with nearly any training goal, practice makes perfect. You need to induce the pain of high levels of fatigue during training to improve your mental strength. My suggestion for a quick fix is a common track workout among college athletes. This one is a brutal but simple workout. Just go to your area track and warm up thoroughly. Then hit the track and alternate between 200 meters at mile pace and 200 meters at an easy pace. Keep following that sequence until you are no longer able to physically hold on to proper running mechanics on your hard 200 meter segments. Each time you do this workout, try to extend the number of your repeats.