Can you improve your running without running?
30 Nov 2015
Wouldn’t it be great to get your running times down without having to pound the mileage, especially now it’s getting darker and colder. Both things mean we don’t go for our evening run, rather we curl up with a bag of crisps and feel guilty about not running. Sound familiar? Some of you may even have recently been allocated your London Marathon slot. Congratulations if you have…… you have just committed to a gruelling 6 months of intense training, a loss of social life but the most amazing feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all! So can you find a way to train without running?
- Plyometric Training “plyos” is becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. Any personal trainer or running coach worth their salt will be incorporating these into your programme where speed or strength is the goal. Plyos are repeated exercises where your musclesexert a maximum force in short intervals, with the aim of increasing speed and strength (power).
- In 2014, a chap called Rodrigo examined running alone compared to running and plyo training and the effects on overall running ability in experienced middle and long distance runners. Subjects first ran 2.4k and a 20metre sprint to take a baseline, and then they were split into 2 groups. One group maintained their usual running programme whereas the other did their usual running programme in addition to a Plyometric programme. After 6 weeks a significant reduction in both the 2.4k and 20m sprint were noted in group 2 compared to group 1 (3x quicker). A similar study in Japan found that the plyo group ran 25 percent less mileage than the run-only group to get the same results—while also improving their reactive leg strength and jumping power.
- So why does plyo training work? Basically it teaches your body to rely upon fast-twitch fibres and then over time your body will increase the number of these in relation to slow-twitch fibres. When you maximize muscle recruitment, you’re able to turn your legs over quicker and push off harder thus greater efficiency. You’ll also improve your VO2 max (amount of oxygen you can use) and your lactate threshold is pushed meaning the point at which your legs start to give up is delayed! All this means you get better at running and you haven’t run.
- To incorporate plyo training into your routine try my favourite running specific exercises. Perform each for 2 mins, then rest for 30 secs between (and only rest during if you have to) and do take care. Plyometric exercises can involve an increased risk of injury due to the large force generated so they should only be performed by conditioned individuals.
Quality, quality, quality!!
1. Squat Jump
4.Forward/backward hop- power & balance. Don’t take a step when landing.
So there we have it 4 exercises that will improve your running times, it takes less than 10 minutes and you get to stay warm and dry!
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