April 20th 2016
Top tips to help you train for a 10K or half marathon
March 5th 2015
It's not all about running - increased flexibility and some powerful muscle work could in fact be your ticket smashing your personal best
Think it’s all about sprinting your way around a course? Think again. Taking time to improve on your overall fitness, endurance and strength can be just as important as your running technique when preparing for a long distance race. You might be as fit as a fiddle - but when you’re halfway around the course and you’re beginning to tire, it’s your core strength and muscle endurance that’s going to help carry you through to the finish line.
“When training for endurance runs, it’s important to train all aspects of the cardiovascular system,” says Ben Staines, co-founder and owner of revolutionary HIIT concept, Project Fit. “The long runs at a tempo are important, but it’s not the only way you should train. Your body will become used to this very quickly and improvement will be slow.”
With that in mind we delved into our experts directory to gain a little insight from some fitness professionals on the other areas of training that need to be done to help us smash our fitness goals.
“Flexibility is essentially about increasing the range of movement around a joint,” says Luke Copeland, Head of Physiology for Speedflex. “By increasing the body's flexibility you decrease the risk of injury occurring as a result of tight muscles, and it can also lead to an increase in stride length, which is important for improving running economy (the cost of energy expenditure); a key performance indicator.”
We recommend heading down to Hotpod Yoga for your weekly dose of flexible fitness. Offering hot Vinyasa Yoga classes, these sessions give an intensive and balanced physical workout, restoring calm and clarity to the mind, all within soothing and cocoon-like pods. At a toasty 37°C heat, the temperature helps to both warm the muscles and aid flexibility as well as encourage the heart to work a little harder. You’ll be super grateful for attending these classes when a long day of running takes its toll on your muscles.
Resistance, strength, endurance
“Running isn't just about running countless miles, it's also about being strong enough to maintain good running posture to prevent injury, and being as energy efficient as possible,” says Luke. “Studies using distance athletes have found that strength/resistance training can lead to improvements in running economy, time-to-exhaustion, and neuromuscular coordination (which is an important aspect of top speed and may explain the increase in running economy).”
For a sure-fire way to boost your brawn there’s nowhere better than Speedflex studios. Comprising a combination of specially crafted machines and traditional exercise modalities, these classes work to guarantee a total body workout with monitors tracking your progress throughout - so if you’re not quite working hard enough, you’ll quite literally be caught red-handed. High in intensity, low on impact and short in duration, partakers find that in no time at all they feel fitter, stronger and with not a muscle ache in sight - mega bonus.
“One of the most important aspects of endurance running performance is lactate threshold,” says Luke, “This is the point at which we begin to build an oxygen debt and soon have to slow down. One of the only ways to improve the lactate threshold is by doing high speed interval training. Along with improving the lactate threshold, speed training also enhances neuromuscular coordination, which as mentioned before helps to increase running economy and your overall performance.”
For the ultimate surge in speediness we just can’t get enough of Project Fit and the range of classes they have to offer. Combining intense cardio intervals with body transformative exercises, users can attend a regular Project Fit class, which works to drastically improve fitness and overall strength. Alternatively, fitness fanatics can opt for treadmill based Project Fit RUN classes, which involve hill climbs and intense interval sprints that are specifically designed to improve the body's aerobic capabilities and work on increasing your running strength, ability and stamina - ideal for an upcoming race or goal.
For a full list of runs, races and marathons taking place in the UK, simply head here to get all the info.