Keen to improve my form, I joined an 8 week Run Club. Now it’s finished. And I miss it. So when I’m out running by myself, I try to remember all the things I learned during those couple of months and apply them to my run. Here are Ten Things I Learned From Run Club.
Maybe some of these can help you improve too.
Practice and programming work.
At the beginning of the course, my Beep Test result was 7.6 and by the end it was 8.8 (which is in the ‘very good’ zone for my age group, yay). My 1km time trial went from 4.35 down to 4.28. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such an improvement in these tests, it was a pleasant surprise. Just goes to show when you’re doing it right, even without realising, you are making progress.
Hill sprints are a necessity.
Ugh, they hurt like crazy, I always feel like my heart is going to explode but it’s definitely more of a mental battle than a physical one. You gotta do the hill sprints, people. It makes you faster on the flats.
Keep it regular.
You need to run at least twice a week. And mix it up. One long run, one short one and a hill sprint session (or intervals on the treadmill) is a good mix to build that speed and endurance up.
Try to think of your legs as pistons going up and down in straight lines, with your feet facing forwards. I think I still have a bit of eggbeater legs going on, but at least I’m aware and trying to eliminate them. The legs should be moving, not the hips. Keep that core switched on.
Loose high hands.
Cup your hands, keep ‘em loose (but not floppy), as if you’re holding a leaf that you don’t want to scrunch. Thumbs up. Hands where you can see them when you run, and try to keep them going straight up and down too, not crossing your body.
Do the shuffle.
When we get too puffed, we tend to walk for a bit. That’s OK for a beginner, but if you can, try to shuffle, however slow, before you pick up your pace again. It’s harder to start up again from a walk. Part of my homework in the first couple of weeks was a 6km run, 2kms fast, 1km shuffle, 2kms fast, 1km shuffle. Try it.
Warm up a little (running on the spot, or a light jog for example) then do some stretches before and after you run. Try to stretch your hip flexors, quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes and adductors (no, I never do them all either, but do as I say, not as I do).
Let gravity be your friend.
Keep your chest proud, chin up, shoulders back and ever-so-slightly lean forward when you run rather than being bolt upright. This will allow gravity to help give you momentum and carry you forward.
When you’re running, try to run light, so you don’t make a noise. My natural tendency is heavy feet noisily pounding that pavement, I have to make a conscious effort to keep it light and as quiet as possible. Not easy, especially when you’re tired, but switch off the music for a bit and listen.
Be a goal digger.
Sign up for a fun run at a level that is a step above where you are so you have something to work towards, a reason to get out there three times a week and put all your new knowledge, tips and techniques to use. The sense of achievement of completing that run will be second to none.
Knowledge is power, right? Well this knowledge has certainly helped me power up my running form. Loved Run Club. If you’re umming and aahhing, check out why I think you should join a running club.
And if you’re a brand new beginner runner, check out the piece I wrote for Dharma Bums for some tips to get you going.
Now – log off, shut down and go run.