How To Improve Your Running Performance: 5 Effective Tips

Group of friends running together outside in the evening.

Many runners are happy running their regular routes at a relaxed “feel-good pace.” This boosts your overall fitness and gives you a break from your everyday stress. But it is precisely this monotony in your training that can often lead to boredom and waning motivation. Running expert Sascha Wingenfeld is convinced that “a steady, even pace makes your running heavy-footed and undynamic. Your performance will not improve, and your running will be reduced to just plodding along.”

Atletic man running outside.

The following five tips and trips from Sascha can add a lot of variety to your training. This is exactly what you need to enhance your performance and make your next run more fun and more dynamic.

1. Accelerations / Decelerations

Break up the monotony of your running by working short sprints into your endurance training on a regular basis. “That keeps your running form dynamic and makes you fast,” said Sascha. You won’t make performance gains if you always run at the same speed. “Your body needs a speed stimulus to be able to actually run faster the next time.”

Here’s how:
During an acceleration, you slowly, but steadily increase your running speed from a recovery pace to a sprint over a distance of 80-100 m.!

A deceleration begins with a sprint and gradually slows down to a jog.

Sascha’s tip: You can work this short speedwork into one of your long-distance runs to vary the pace, or you can finish a run with a speed drill like this.

2. Hill sprints

Running is not just about endurance training: Your body also requires strength. Sascha recommends doing hill sprints after your long-distance runs. “This turns your regular run into a complete cardio and strength workout and helps you run with a more powerful stride.”

Here’s how:
To improve your hill sprints, run uphill for about 150 m at 90-95% of your maximum effort. Repeat this drill six to ten times. Make sure to take long, powerful strides and engage your core. Rest on the walk or jog down the hill.

Close up shot o legs of runners

3. Fartlek

It is extremely important when running to be flexible in terms of speed, step frequency and power. Only in this way can you adjust to the different surfaces without overtaxing your body. Sascha’s tip: “Play with your pace during your distance runs.”

Here’s how:
From the Swedish word for “speed-play,” a “fartlek” basically involves varying your pace without a specific plan or goal. The intervals and intensity depend on the terrain, and you can mix and mash them as you like during your workout. The activity includes all intensities from slow recovery jogs to high-intensity sprints.

4. Trail running

“Take advantage of the benefits of changing surfaces,” recommends the running expert. Every surface has its own unique challenges. Your body must learn to react to them by unconsciously adapting your stride, foot strike and step frequency. This method is guaranteed to spice up your running training and nip boredom in the bud!

Here’s how:
In this type of running, you leave concrete pavements and asphalt roads behind you. To improve your trail running performance, try to run on unfamiliar terrain and new surfaces. Explore the woods and run across fields and meadows. This way, every kilometer will hold something new for you. If you try this method, you will find that your pace on familiar surfaces seems a lot easier afterwards.

Two friends running together outside over a bridge.

5. Crescendo run

A crescendo run is a training exercise involving a systematic increase in intensity. “This method is a very effective option for improving your running performance. Plus, a crescendo run is an awesome fat burner!”

Here’s how:
Choose a 1 or 2K route and increase your speed between laps without taking a rest.

Example:

Lap 1 at 70 % of your maximum heart rate
Lap 2 at 80 % of your maximum heart rate
Lap 3 at 85 % of your maximum heart rate
Lap 4 at 90 % of your maximum heart rate

I hope you find these tips helpful! Have fun trying them out.

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Sascha Wingenfeld Sascha, health trainer & active triathlete, has been coaching runners from beginners to professionals for over 10 years. "I love my job and I love running." View all posts by Sascha Wingenfeld »

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