A blog by runners. For runners.

Take your running up a notch this fall

Take your running up a notchSummer vacations are over and the kids are back in school. A sense of normalcy has returned, and many of us are eager to get back into our running routines as well. But why not kick your old running routine up a notch?

Thanks to cooler temperatures, fall is the perfect time to take your running to the next level. Whether you’re training for a race, making an effort to lose weight, or trying to make running habit, adding a little “oomph” to your workouts will help you meet your goals.

Spice up your running routine by doing the following:

Get on track. The track to be exact. A track is the ideal place to do speed workouts because it’s simple to measure distance – not to mention it’s flat and you don’t have to worry about traffic. Try 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, or 1600m repeats with rest or slow running in between each interval. Doing speedy repeats regularly will make you a faster runner and give your metabolism a boost. Plus, they’re fun!

Head for the hills. Hill workouts, we all love to hate them! They’re tough, but they deliver results fast. Regular hill work will make running on a flat road seem easier, and you’ll tone up the bottom half of your body in the process. Find a long hill and run up and down it a few times with rest in between each repeat. Or find a route in your town with plenty of rolling hills and run it once a week or so.

Find a fast running buddy. Do you have good intentions of doing speedwork but always find an excuse to slack off during a run? If so, enlist the help of a running buddy who runs slightly faster than you do. He or she will help motivate you to push the pace. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy running with a buddy, and by how quickly you adapt to running faster miles. Runs with friends always seem to fly by more quickly than solo miles because you have the pleasure of their company. 

Add speed surges to long runs. Long slow distance or LSD runs have their place in half marathon and full marathon training. But if you always run your long runs at the same consistent pace, you may be missing out on some of the benefits of training. Running a few miles of your long run at or close to race pace can help prepare you physically and mentally for race day. So, challenge yourself and pick up the pace for part of your long runs.

Give two-a-days a go. One of the quickest ways to lose weight and get in better shape is to do more workouts. Running twice a day can elevate your metabolism, help you recover faster between runs, and improve your running economy. Follow these rules of running twice a day to find out if this type of training is for you.

Up the intensity of cross-training sessions. Biking, swimming, or using an elliptical trainer are great cross-training options for runners. Cross-training helps prevent injuries and aids in recovery. But just because cross-training isn’t your “main” workout doesn’t mean you should take it easy and work out at a steady state. Add speed intervals or hills to your cross-training sessions, and you’ll reap the benefits on your running days.

Written by Jen Matz.

RELATED 5 training goals for fall that don’t include a marathon