On April 4th at 8:49 pm, I achieved the milestone of running 50 miles (80km), in less than 12 hours.
The interesting thing is that I didn’t train for it; I was training for a marathon -half the distance-.
Until that day, my longest run was only 26 miles, and my longest training day was just 20 miles (32km).
And even more interesting is that I felt great, I recovered super quickly and finished without any injury or pain.
I was intrigued; how did that happen?
After every race, I do a thorough analysis of what went right and what went wrong, and I ask myself what lessons I can learn to improve for my next race.
In this post, I will share with you the three lessons I learned, and how you can apply them to your training/life.
If you are a runner who wants to improve consistently, these next three tips will help you achieve it.
#1 – Keep Active During the Off-Season
We all runners tend to have some sort of break, or off-season, during the year.
The problem is that during this time, a lot of runners neglect themselves entirely.
They eat poorly and don’t train for multiple weeks, with the idea that their body needs to rest, and that they will get back to the routine soon.
But if you want to be a good runner, you have to keep training; your body needs movement and proper nutrition ALL the time.
You indeed need to give your body time to rest and recover after a year of training, but that does not mean that you have to STOP training entirely.
You need to stay active.
I usually try new things during these times. Like going to Crossfit classes, or rowing, or even boxing classes.
On the running aspect, I just run whenever and as long as I feel like it; the only rule is to run at least three times a week.
Sometimes I run 10 miles, and others just for 30 minutes. Sometimes super fast and others very slow, I let my body set the tone.
But running and being active stay part of my routine.
If you are tired or bored from running, you can try new things, new classes, new routes, the goal is to stay active and keep moving your body.
#2 Make Strength Training an Integral Part of Your Training
It’s way better to run just four times a week and do two sessions of strength training than to run 5-6 times a week without strengthening your body.
I learned this lesson the hard way.
All the doctors and physical therapists that I visited before and after my knee surgery expressed the same thought, your quadriceps are too weak.
None of them told me how to fix it, but it was a thought that stuck in my head.
So, after I fully recovered from the surgery, I decided to make strength training an integral part of my running.
And I’m happy to say that I’ve been injury-free for the last four years and that all my best personal records have come during this time.
Make strength training a regular part of your training; it will help you avoid injuries and become a better runner.
#3 Work on your Mobility and Range of Motion
I talked about this in last week’s article, and I will repeat it here because it’s super important.
If you lack mobility and range of motion, your muscles and joints will work harder than they need to.
The consequences: increased probability of injuries and bad running form.
Not being injured is what will make you a better runner in the long-run (pun intended), and increased mobility and range of motion will have an enormous impact on it.
Increase your mobility, increase your range of motion, and you will become a better runner overall.
Check out my 10-Minute Mobility Routine below. I do this every day after waking up, and it has had a tremendous impact on my running.
The goal of these three lessons is to help you become a better runner.
If you incorporate them as part of your everyday life, they become second nature.
And progressively, you start to become a better runner and run faster and longer without much effort; you start to impress yourself doing things that you thought impossible before.
Applying these lessons does not take much time, and you’re probably doing some of them already. Now, be mindful and consistent about them, and you are on the path to becoming the best runner you can be.