Wednesday, May 30, 2018

3-Ways To Improve Running Fitness In An Hour

I believe in committing to at least 3-times weekly of run. It has to be a variety of tempo run, interval run and speedwork. Often, many of us are short of time to exercise and we often find excuses not to commit ourselves to a regular fitness workout, or in this case, a run. Depending on your level of commitment, my "go to" workout that I will share in this article revolves around your ability to commit a 30mins or a 60mins workout duration. 

Why Time-based workout?
Simple. Time doesn't change, the level of effort and distance covered does!

How # 1: 30Minutes Blast
Suggested Running Workout: 
Run at Tempo pace for 30minutes. If you are a beginner to an intermediate runner, you will get between 4.5km to 6km. Aim to cover more distance as you progress.
Focus On: 
- Discipline to maintain the tempo pace. 
- Avoid going too fast at the start.

This HIIT should allow you to try beating your 5km effort. If you have a 5km PB of about 30mins, expect yourself to cover the same distance in less time. Use the balance time to run at tempo pace. Be surprised what you can achieve!
Focus On: 
- Breathe. Do not hold back your breathing.

How #2: 60mins Endurance
Suggested Running Workout:
A beginner to an intermediate runner should be able to cover between 7km to 10km within 60mins. Because you have more "time", you can opt for a few variation to the Tempo run. My personal favourite is to do a Tempo Negative Split where I run the second 30mins faster than the first 30mins. Sometimes, I couple the Tempo run with an easier Tempo basic, or hammer the Tempo at race pace for 60mins. Either way, the aim for the 60mins is really to run as far as you can. 
Focus On:
- Discipline to maintain the tempo pace. 
- If you are gonna go fast, make sure you can last the next 58minutes!
- Breathe. Do not hold back your breathing.

Gamify Your Run
I benchmark my 60mins run to cover these milestones: 5km (time), 30mins (distance), 10km (time) and 60mins (distance). By doing this, I come out with a set of data where I know i am improving or at at a plateau. It is "racing against yourself". Bonus point - trying to remember all the data while pushing at 80% effort, it's a good mental exercise.
Focus On:
-Having Fun
- Remembering your data!

How #3: Stair Climbs!
This "cross workout" is pretty new to me and inspired by a fellow Garmin athlete which has made running up stairwell his niche. Soh Wai Ching's feat of running skyscrapers prompt me to think on how/what other ways for me to improve my run. We all know Soh is fast. We know he always strive for improvement and hungry to be the best... 
I made the stairs at home my next best friend when I do not have access to the gym or opportunity to run outside due to work calls or rain! This workout gives you strong quads and calves muscle, making you run-ready if the race requires a certain level of climbs up slopes.
I utilise my Garmin device (Fenix 3HR) that helps track the floors I conquered. By definition, one floor is about 16-steps or 3-m elevation. So, if you do not have a device to track, paper and pen can help! 
Focus On:
- How many floors can you climb in an hour
- Safety! Hold the handrail!

Thoughts
Since January 1, 2018, I have been consistently doing the above at least 5 times a week, missing out only on days I am required to travel. The benefit has been great and it provide a great challenge for me to #BeatYesterday, as how Garmin says. I have improved my 5km and 10km tming for this year - bearing in mind that I have been training, but my past achievements goes back 3, maybe 5 years ago. It is a good reality check that I am not as strong or as fast as I used to be. With priority changes in life, we have to be dynamic and remain focus on the one thing that matters to us apart from family and work. For me, it is my "race readiness" - and for that, I can truly said i am 90% ready (the last 10% is to sign up) ;-)

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