So you're at the point where you run consistently, but you still don't consider yourself an expert. You're looking at your times and distances and you feel like you can push a bit harder. Mannn, I know exactly how you feel. That's exactly where I'm at in my personal journey as a runner. So, picking up where the predecessor of this post left off, I have listed some things to help assist you in making a smoother transition from a rookie runner to a seasoned vet.
Click here to read up on why a proper warmup is crucial to ones performance as a runner. Listen, running is all about preparation. You prepare your body for races etc by training. You prepare your body for training by...stretching and dieting. The better you treat your body pre and post run, the more inclined you are to perform at a high level. Lunges, High Knee Pulls, Push-ups, Toe Raises. Do them, and do them often. Yes, some runners may be good without stretching, but imagine how much better they could be if they took better care of their bodies.
As stated earlier, how you treat your body when you're not running has a direct impact on how you perform while running. Eat Complex Carbs, drink plenty of water. A big glass of lemon water before bed helps fight that sluggish feeling you get when you're first waking up. Get rid of the condiments, chill on the smoking, and stay away from fried foods. I've been eating mostly Blue Apron meals for the past two months. I credit part of my improved performance with my change in diet. Eat good run good, muggle!
Hey look, it's impossible to do something over a period of time, consistently and not get better at it. If you want to become a better runner, you have to run more often. You can diet well, and stretch for hours, but if you don't make a point to increase the frequency of your runs, you won't get better. Challenge yourself, to be consistent. Run, even when you don't want to. The results of your consistency will reflect in your improved performance and physique.
Too many runners ONLY run. One would suggest that in order to get the most of of your body, you have to challenge yourself in different ways. In fitness, diversity in ones training in getting optimum results. So to optimize your performance as a runner it's imperative that you implement some cross training into your running schedule. Strength/resistance training, basketball, swimming, yoga, calisthenics, are all helpful tools that will help you become a better overall athlete and runner. If you want to be a great runner, don't just run!
In short, link up with a running coach. There are several running groups, and organizations that will help you improve, and grow into a better runner FOR FREE! I wold suggest one of the Nike Coaches or Pacers at the NIKE+NYC Sessions. They're all great, supportive and extremely helpful. Check them out
Being a runner is very difficult, so the fact that you would commit to getting better in such a difficult sport is commendable. Take the time to challenge yourself, and ensure that you are doing all that you can to be the best runner possible. Follow these suggestions as best you can. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor, muggle :-).