Since coming back from my injury, the fitness has come back nice and steadily each week. From all the cross training I was doing, I managed to maintain my aerobic base pretty well. After a few weeks of sessions, my body and lungs felt strong again and raring to go. However, the speed has been a little trickier to find. I have never been someone with natural fast twitch muscle fibres and this was something I was working on a lot prior to my injury. We started to notice some improvements, but there was still a lot more work required.
However, post-injury, I have found this has been harder to get back and is taking longer than anything else. That isn’t a problem, somethings do take longer than others, but here’s what I’m doing to try and find my speed.
What am I doing?
Speeding up sessions.
For me, winter training is right up my street. I love any session that is 10k pace and below. I really enjoy long tempos, because it is where my strength lies. It is for this reason exactly, that I want to really focus on improving my speed. I want to work on my weaknesses as I don’t want speed to be something I don’t have. In order to improve and get faster over the longer distances, I need to work on my higher end pace in the shorter distances. Therefore, this is the goal of the year.
Focusing on recovery.
Whilst recovery is key at all times of the year, as sessions get faster and more intense, it is even more vital. This is because, in order to hit paces harder, my legs need to be fresher and not weighed down with fatigue. I have been prioritising resting in between sessions, taking my easy runs as easy as is required for my body to feel good, stretching/rolling anywhere that feels tight, and getting plenty of sleep. I always try to get up to 9 hours of sleep, but in all honesty, I just don’t need quite that much, so I usually get 8.5 hours sleep each night. Not only does this allow me body to recover, but it also makes me mentally sharper for the faster sessions as my eyes aren’t tired.
Prior to my main sessions, I always do a more extensive drills routine after my warm up jog. In these, I am really working on the delivery of each of each exercise. I want to try and get my foot off the ground as quickly as possible to improve my efficiency and reduce my contact time with the ground. Trying to get my legs used to this quicker movement, can help them get more familiar with moving faster.
Strength & Conditioning.
This has been a big focus of mine following my injury. Not only does being strong help me reduce my injury risk, but it also allows me to be faster and more efficient. If I can make my muscles stronger, they will be a bit more powerful which will allow me to run faster. As distance runners we do not want to build bulky muscle, but there are still some great benefits to doing supervised weight lifting. I say supervised, as this is something that can vary from person to person, therefore it is great the get the advise of an S&C coach before looking to implement such into your own training.
These are just a few of the things I am employing to try and improve my speed and I hope they might help you too!
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!