10 Ways to Get Better at Running
Mention running in any box, and you'll always find two opposing camps: those who love it, versus those who really don't.
Which do you fall into?
No matter what your opinion is, you can't really get away from it. Running crops up in many WODs - and it's an important part of any fitness regime. Whether you love running or hate it, your performance in the box will improve if you dedicate a little more time to it.
Here are our tips to help you improve:
1. Stop Cherrypicking
If running is programmed into one of your planned sessions, quit complaining and get it done.
Don't bail out of the class, or think up excuses to use the rower instead.
If you always avoid it, you'll never get better - and it will keep sucking every time you do. Just get it done. It doesn't matter if you're slow, or you finish further down the leaderboard than you normally do - you need to start somewhere.
2. Run More
It might seem simple, but if you're serious about improving your running, make an effort to do it more.
Depending on your program, it might not crop up as often as you need it to for serious improvements - so commit to a run each week.
If you're not one for hitting the road on your own, sign up to your local park run or recruit a few of your training buddies to join you.
3. Work on Your Technique
You spend hours refining your lifting technique, so why would running be any different?
Most of us don't run as efficiently as we could, which doesn't help us reach our full potential. If you're unsure, work with a running coach to find out where you're going wrong, and then put a plan in place to correct your form.
If you know what your weaknesses are, put them right. Ignoring them might feel like the easiest option, but it will only mess you up in the long-run.
4. Wear the Right Shoes
The right shoes can make a world of difference. Find out what's most suitable for you, instead of following the crowd. Your feet and running style is unique to you - and you need a shoe that will work with that, not against it.
If you hate running because it hurts, it could be down to your shoes. Don't ignore this. Take some time, and spend a little cash, to get this right, and your comfort and performance will thank you.
Long, steady runs certainly have their place, but don't ignore sprinting. We still think this is one of the most underestimated movements in the sport.
If you feel your runs are slow, regular sprinting will help you increase both speed and power - helping you smash WODs harder, as well as improving your running.
Although sprint workouts are short and intense, don't take them lightly. Spend plenty of time warming up, to get the most from the workout and reduce your risk of injury.
6. Enter a Race
If you're not motivated to run regularly, enter a race. Not only will this give your motivation a kick, but it will give you something to aim for. Once the race is done, you'll have a baseline to improve upon as you progress.
Want to do something a little different? OCR combines plenty of running with some challenging obstacles, and some burpees for good measure. Check out the Suffering races for a good introduction to the sport.
7. Stop Overthinking It
As far as WODs go, running is one of the more natural movements. We evolved to be able to run away from anything hunting us - so we're all more than capable.
The problems start when you let your head get in the way.
Next time you're out on a run, pay attention to your thoughts. Remember, your head will give up way before your legs do - so focus on building mental resilience to push through those doubts.
8. Make Sure You're Eating Enough
Shredding for summer? Don't expect your runs to come easily.
If you're not getting enough fuel, you're not going to have the energy to smash a run. It's all well and good saying you're going to give it your all, but if you've got nothing to give? It's not going to end well.
Just eat some carbs and get on with it.
It's easy to think of a run as less than what you're doing in the box. Sure, it doesn't involve a barbell - but, if you're doing it right, you're still taxing your body and pushing it to the limits.
Treat each session - whether in the box, or out on the trail, with the same respect. Push hard, then recover smart.
10. Warm Up
The same applies to your warm up too.
Just because you're not picking 200kg up off the floor, it doesn't mean you don't need to prepare your body.
Mobilise, activate and get your heart rate up - just like you would before you smash a WOD. Not only will your runs feel easier, you'll be more efficient - and less likely to hurt yourself in the process.