While not everyone’s favourite sport, running is a simple, yet challenging way to maintain or improve your fitness level. When I speak of running, I do not speak only of running long distances as many marathoners and weekend event attendees do. Everyone needs to remember that there are distances in running ranging from the very short 50 meter, to the very long ultra marathon. Another thing that seems to have been forgotten is that we are capable of running both fast sprints, and long slow distance runs. Being able to achieve satisfactory results in any of these types of runs does take commitment and perseverance, but why is it that most individuals limit themselves to long distance running?
Sprinting is a wonderful test of full power, coordination, and speed. Sprinting engages the full capacity of the heart and lungs, and as a result, is hugely beneficial in developing lower body strength, improving body composition, and increasing full body power. Even in endurance running programs, sprinting becomes very useful since it strengthens the leg muscles and promotes proper form. Obviously, for the endurance runner, sprinting is not something that they want to focus their training on, but they would benefit from it by doing some once in a while. A great way to incorporate sprints into an endurance run would be to perform fartleks. This strange word is Swedish for “speed play”, and involves picking a landmark during your distance run, and sprinting towards it. After the sprint you simply resume pace and then when recovered, find a new landmark to sprint towards.
Changing up your running every once in a while is very beneficial since running is fairly limited in its range of motion. If you have read the article about the ABC’s of running, then you would know that I am against running on the roads. The reason for this is that pavement and concrete are very hard, and as a result cause a lot of unnecessary impact on the knees. Running in long straights on the road is also not a good idea because it limits the use of balancing muscles. Trail running is a great way to change things up since it adds the aspect of uneven, loose surface. This engages the muscles in your feet more, which then activate stabilizing muscles all along the muscle-chain leading to the hips. Trail running also involves a lot of cornering and direction changing, which improves agility and helps to ensure that you receive more muscular activation.
Another great way to change your running while also increasing speed and endurance is to partake in interval training. This involves finding a field or track that you can circle around, and doing an interval of 1, 2, or more laps, and then resting for at least the time it took to do that interval before attempting another one. These intervals should be performed at a pace slightly above what you would run if you were to run a 10k. Running is much more than going out and stomping on the road in a straight line for kilometres at a time. Varying your running is extremely beneficial for increasing performance and run strength. Give one of these examples a try, and you may find that the change is something good.
By Coach Kevin Hehr
As founder of Ivanco Fitness, my promise is to ensure your journey in fitness is unlocked and uplifted. It was the summer of 2012 and I was burnt out - I had spent over 10,000 hours personally training clients through rehabilitation to health, and from health to strength. Young and old and in between, I worked with these individuals to help them create their best version of themselves. While this brought me much joy, I was stressed, tired, and knew I was limited to only a small group of people I could help in this way. I had worked with other coaches along the way, and realized it was time to build a team and create a system that would allow talented coaches to create meaningful connections with those who seek to uplift their lives through physical training. Having brought the right people on board, Ivanco now works as a team of trainers, kinesiologists, holistic nutritionists and administrative staff to provide a more streamlined and versatile experience than an independent trainer could offer. Yours in health, Ivan.