Runner, Triathlete, and all around fitness advocate James Walsh shared his top five ways to run faster with us recently. He’s run marathons, experienced triathlons, and competed in off-road racing. Now, he’s turned his attention to ultra-running, or extremely long-distance running. Check out his expert advice for those of us looking to get faster, or even just get started:
1. Don’t Over-do It
“It’s easy to get carried away when you are full of motivation,” James cautioned. But that can lead to varying degrees of high and low performance, rather than meaningful improvement. To combat this, he recommends consistent running that “will provide greater improvement and keep healthy as opposed to just going hard all the time.”
2. Don’t Worry About what Everybody Else Does
Running is a solitary sport, so it’s even more important to make sure you know yourself and your body – not looking at what others can or cannot do. “Everybody is different and the way you train needs to reflect that. Some people can run more miles, do more workouts, and race more than others,” he said. Even he’s learned to temper his routines with what is best for his body. “I’ve learned the hard way,” he told Rise Bar.
3. Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Mixing things up is as important for your body as it is for your motivation. “If you are training for an ultra-marathon don’t be afraid to jump into shorter races and mix it up. A lot of people that want to get into long distance running and racing often think they need to go long all the time. But jumping into a hard 10k or half-marathon is great training,” he said.
4. Get a Coach
Self-motivation is great, but having someone who isn’t inside your head all the time can be even better for getting you to accomplish the goals you want, in a way you might not have thought of. “Having a coach that makes a plan for you can ease your mind and also keep you from doing too much…or not enough when it comes to reaching your goals.”
“Recovery is the most important part of any training plan,” Walsh said unequivocally. “Not just the rest days and days off but also what you do after each workout and in-between workout.” What you do during recovery can make a huge difference when it comes to the next workout.
As for the ever-debated question of listening to music while running? “I do run with music…but not all the time. I grew up playing in bands and music is still a huge part of my life. I love heading out the door with a new record on my iPod. When I do a really long race I like to listen to music after about half-way,” he told Rise Bar. So there you have it – if it works for you, then take do it your way, and you’ll be on your way to faster running and better fitness!