‘Fast’ is a relative word when it comes to amateur long distance running or probably everything else in life. I did my first half marathon in 2010 in 2:55! And the next one in 2:28, before I had to take a break for 2 years. But I came back stronger; my timings have only been improving in the last two years, from 2:09 at ADHM in 2013, 2:03 in 2014 to 1:50 in 2015. I have been getting better even though I’m running lesser, way lesser than I used to. I was thinking of certain things that I did differently (accidentally) to improve and it’s only fair that I share it on my blog –
1) I have accepted that with the kind of erratic work schedule, I probably can’t follow a routine. Earlier I would miss out on my workout if I missed out on a certain fixed time I had decided for it. Now I fit in a work out whenever I get time through the day. It could mean doing the planks in the morning post dropping my son to school and doing the calf raises in the afternoon when taking a 10 minute break from work.
2) For the last six months, I have been doing (or try) 3 reps of planks (45 seconds each) 4 days a week.
3) I spend 10 minutes on doing basic weight training for upper body 3 times a week.
4) I have been doing calf strengthening and sitting squats whenever I can (3 times a week). Click here to see the videos. I will be adding more.
5) Once a week I run 5 kms as fast as I can. I never time myself as I don’t want it to stress me out.
6) I concentrated on improving my timing for 10 kms rather than for long runs.
7) I get massage done for my legs once a week. But I don’t do the fancy ones as I find them too expensive. A simple massage by a girl who comes home and does it, works for me.
8) I consume one gel before the start and one during the half marathon.
9) I was lucky to have figured the shoes which suit me the best. Boston Boost it is for now.
10) During warm days drinking electrals/ORS during the runs instead of any other drink has made a huge difference in recovery. Recently, I tried Recover (post my runs) by FastandUp which worked wonders as well.
11) Post run stretching by way of basic yoga poses – Warrior pose, Downward Doggie, Dhanurasna, boat pose, reverse boat pose and Viparita Karani.
I hope this helps. Do share what works and what doesn’t work for you.