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As youngsters, our parents told us to button up in the winter and not run outside without our winter jackets on so that we can avoid catching that dreaded cold.

Well… Sorry parents… You were wrong.

The concept of catching a cold from the cold has been thoroughly studied and disproven countless times.

Think about it… the cold isn’t a virus or bacterium. So, why do we think it can infect us? And, what does this all have to do with you as a runner? 

Well…

Running in winter is completely healthy and super good for you! 

On that note, let’s have a look at why you won’t get sick from the cold, why it sometimes hurts when you breathe in the cold, how to protect yourself from the cold while running and some hacks for tackling running in winter… 

Can You Get Sick From Running In The Cold?

No evidence proves that running in the cold harms the immune system. Getting outside in the cold weather can stimulate your immune system. The real threat is not dressing properly.

You’re probably thinking to yourself… then why does cold and flu season align with winter?

In winter months, more people huddle indoors and close windows to keep warm, so all the people in that shared space are exposed to whatever pathogens they are carrying.

Also, during winter in a lot of places, the air tends to be drier and that dry air will facilitate the transmission of viruses.

Is It OK To Run In The Cold?

Running in winter is not unhealthy at all as long as it’s done safely. 

Pros Of Running In The Cold:

  • Cooler weather… not necessarily cold is the ideal weather for running. The colder the weather, the less heat stress on your body, which makes it easier to run.

    If temps are below 11 or 12 degrees then that is not ideal for running as the body spends a lot of energy to keep warm too.
    Not that it’s bad for running, ideal running temperatures for best performance are between 12 – 16 degrees, this of course varies according to some other environmental factors too.
  • Running outdoors in cooler weather can help you stay consistently active. Think about it, running inside on a treadmill or running outside in nature… Which one sounds more fun to you? 
    Although, when it comes to running in the cold, a good amount of people would rather run on a treadmill and be warm than outside in the cold.
  • When the days get shorter and the temperatures drop… many people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder. This normally occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. Running helps release powerful hormones that help combat this depression, increasing your positive mood.
    As hard as it is to get out when you feel like this. It may help you feel better.

Cons Of Running In The Cold:

  • The cold air can hurt your lungs because it’s typically very dry, which can lead to coughing and shortness of breath. If you have asthma or similar conditions, the cold air can make them worse.
  • Black ice can form on roads and pathways. It is quite hard to see especially when running in dim light so there is the risk of slipping and falling.
  • Late sunrises and early sunsets mean runs in the dark. Not being easily visible is a risk for runners as well as not being able to see obstacles on the path clearly due to darkness.
  • ITS COLD -, which means if you don’t have the right gear it’s not fun.

Why Does Running In The Cold Make Me Cough?

Cold, dry air can make you cough during or after your running session due to either bronchospasm, which is when the tubes that bring air in and out of your lungs constrict, or asthma.

Exercise asthma or exercise-associated bronchospasm:

When you reach high respiratory rates in the cold, you can develop contractions or spasms in the smooth muscle that surrounds your airways and also produce extra mucous in the lining of the lung tubes that result in your coughing. 

How To Prevent Coughing While Running In The Cold

A cold-induced cough can be stopped by wearing a scarf or buff over your mouth and nose to prewarm and humidify the cold air.

An exercise-induced cough may be a marker for asthma since both dry air and cold air are triggers for asthma attacks.

If you often cough after cold runs, it’s important to meet a doctor just to determine if you have underlying asthma.

The Impact Of Heat, Cold, Humidity & Altitude On Your Running Performance

How To Breath In Cold Weather While Running

  1. Use a bandana, buff, or scarf to warm up the air you breathe in.
  2. Breathe in your nose and out your mouth. The air has to travel a greater distance to reach your lungs. Along the way, your nasal passages and trachea warm the cold air.
  3. Avoid high-intensity training in very cold weather as this could irritate your airways further, making it hard to breathe. 

Do You Burn More Calories Running In The Cold?

Sure, a decent amount of research shows that shivering to keep your body warm does cause you to burn calories but… exercise raises the body’s temperature on its own without needing to expend more energy to do this. 

In hot weather, it takes more cardiovascular effort to cool the body down. Therefore, exercising in warm weather would use more energy than exercising in the cold.

Tips For Running In The Cold

  1. Set a Goal

To get yourself out of your warm, cozy bed to go out and run in the cold, you need a BIG motivator.

Setting an achievable goal that excites you is going to help you do just that.

  1. Layer Up!


The key to dressing for a run in the cold is to dress in layers and breathable insulation – Gear made from insulating materials traps air, which is then warmed by your body heat. Air doesn’t conduct heat well, so trapped air retains warmth and keeps you warm.

The layers need to consist of:

a) A base layer that is close to your skin and should be made of a material that keeps moisture away from your skin.

b) A second layer that provides breathable insulation.

c) A weatherproof breathable outer layer to protect you from wind, rain, and snow. 

Other clothing items include snow gear, traction shoes, etc… Gloves and a beanie are also key.

Also, gear for wet cold conditions will differ from just cold conditions. 

  1. Warm Up Inside

It may seem obvious but warming up indoors really will work. Do drills and dynamic stretches before you step outside and don’t allow your body to cool down. 

  1. Slow Down

If you’re running in temperatures where there is a real risk of slipping on ice then slow down. Winter is a great time to build your aerobic base with easy slow running.

  1. Take Extra Caution In The Dark

Running in the dark brings with it lots of risks.

How To Run In The Dark Safely:

  1. Take your cellphone with you in case of emergencies, that is if you live in an area that is safe to run with your phone on you.
  2. Tell family when and where you may be running.
  3. Wear reflective running gear.
  4. Take it slow to avoid slipping/tripping.
  5. Run with friends if possible.
  6. Invest in a good running headlight.

26 miles…  385 yards…  42.195 km…

Based on the legend of an ancient Greek messenger who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens (40k’s), with the news of the Greek victory over the Persians.

Still to this day, people believe that only “certain” types of people can run a marathon.

The truth is, no matter how tall, short, skinny, or bulky you are… with the correct training plan and consistency, you will be able to train for a marathon in less than one year while learning lessons that you can apply to the rest of your life

Let’s have a look at how you can do just that…

How Long Does It Take To Train For a Marathon?

We can be real with ourselves… Marathon training is a big undertaking; there is no question about that. 

Training for a marathon really does not have to be such a daunting idea. 

If we’re realistic, you can be marathon ready in just 12 weeks. That is, if you plan correctly, follow the correct marathon training plan, and stick to it. You’ll begin to see gradual, consistent improvements which will build up and allow you to be ready come race day.

Not all running training plans are created equal, these are the things every running training plan should include as well as the red flags that you should look out for in training plans.

How To Tell If You Are Training Enough 

Am I training too much? How long should my long runs be? How many long runs should I do? Aaaaah!

You’ve been getting the work done and trying not to worry too much about the 42 kilometers that you have signed up for.

But no matter how confident you are, there’s always the question: “Have I done enough?”

This is how you can tell if you have done enough to run your marathon…

  1. Look back at your training plan and see how consistent you were in terms of getting your strength training done, your runs in as well as the rest days. By doing this you will be able to see if you have built up those training blocks correctly. 
  2. Ask yourself… Did you run your long runs slow enough… in other words, if you answered yes, you would have built up your aerobic system correctly and will definitely be ready come race day.
  3. Recovery. A very important and often misunderstood aspect of your training leading up to a marathon is your recovery days. When you run, you aren’t just building your stamina and strength; you’re also breaking your body down, causing a tiny amount of tissue damage with every step.
    So, allowing yourself time to recover after your runs is what makes it possible for you to come back better adapted for your next run.
  4. Your goal pace starts to feel good… At the beginning of your training, running even just a few kilometers at your goal pace may have been a very difficult task, but now that you have done the training it should feel a lot more doable… Considering you are going to be running it for 42Ks.
  5. How mentally prepared are you? In your interval sessions and speed sessions, that was the time to really dig deep and remind yourself of why you are doing this… come race day a very large part of completing the race is going to be based on your mental strength so you need to mentally prepare to stay calm and keep your pace under control.

We know that the constant worrying about whether you’re doing enough to prepare is exhausting…

That is why we created the 12 Week Marathon Training Roadmap.

A proven, step-by-step 12-week marathon training plan to get you from exactly where you are today, to having a marathon medal around your neck at the race you’re targeting in the time you were chasing.

Without the stress and worry. Knowing that you’ve done what it takes to finish a marathon, feeling strong and in control within your goal finishing time.

Ensuring you arrive at the start line, fit, and most importantly injury free…

…to give yourself a shot at achieving your marathon goal.

The Marathon Training Roadmap guides you through every step of your marathon journey.

Training, recovering, tapering, and race day. We’ve got you covered, every step of the way.

Couch To Marathon

If you are doing some exercise you CAN do a Marathon in 12 weeks but building up over 6 months is better and giving yourself time means you can do it safely and enjoy the process.

Running a marathon doesn’t have to be… Scary and Intimidating

Just thinking about running 42km or 26 miles should give you butterflies in your stomach…The thought of it is enough to freak the most seasoned runner out.

Never mind a newbie to marathon running… As much as running a marathon is a physical challenge, it’s just as much a mental challenge. The constant mental gymnastics of second-guessing yourself takes its toll…

This is a step-by-step summary of going from couch to marathon:

  1. Find a training plan that suits you and your lifestyle best.
  2. Try to find a friend to join you on this journey or join a running club. This will help with accountability.
  3. Take it slow and trust the process.
  4. Understand just how important your rest days are. 
  5. Strength training. Strength training. Strength training. – Need I say more!
  6. Fuel your body with nutritious food.
  7. Make sure you are eating enough.
  8. Listen to your body.
  9. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  10. Build up your mental strength by believing in your capabilities.

The truth is, there is no set time frame to train for a marathon… Everyone is different, everyone is at a different fitness level and everyone adapts to training differently. 

What you do in the 12 weeks leading up to your marathon will either set you up for success or failure…

That’s why we have created a step-by-step 12-week 42k training plan to help you across the finish line

This is a proven, science-backed 12-week marathon training plan that shows you not only what training to do every day, but exactly what pace that training should be done at so that you avoid injury and ensure you’re not over-or under-trained for come race day.

It really is just a marathon training plan suited to your ability.

Take the guesswork out of your marathon training

Let’s break down what training for a marathon entails…

The Primary Elements Of Marathon Training

Firstly: Strength training –  Strength training is extremely important for runners, for two main reasons. The first is for injury prevention, and the second is to improve your running performance and make you a faster and more efficient runner

Strength training plays an integral part in the Coach Parry training philosophy and that’s why we’re including our S&C plans as part of the marathon training roadmap.

Free strength training here!

Second: Build endurance – To successfully run a marathon, so many runners believe that in order to run further and to build stamina they need to keep on adding mileage and intensity to their sessions. 

Well, here are some great tips on how you can get fitter and faster without going overboard in your training sessions.

Third: Prevent injuries – Improper warm-ups/ skipped cooldowns and too much high-intensity running are the leading culprits of injury.
You need to work on good, symmetrical biomechanics, and alternate hard-effort workouts with easy runs. Have at least one full rest day a week.

To sum it all up. It’s definitely possible to be marathon ready in one year! It’s possible to be marathon ready in 12 months.

Once you reach race day, trust your training, trust yourself and savor the incredible moment.

Are you unsure of how to pace your training runs? Or looking to find out how to train to run at a specific pace in a race?

There are a lot of different factors that need to be taken into consideration when pacing your training runs, especially when training to heart rate. 

First things first. 

One needs to make a decision, whether you’re going to train according to pace or whether you’re going to train to heart rate. 

Training According To Pace

At Coach Parry, we wouldn’t recommend training on pace if you’re NOT getting advice from someone who is very experienced in calculating proper pace-related training zones.

This is because what typically happens when we train according to pace or a target pace is that we often end up running too fast. Pushing ourselves too hard and therefore we don’t develop at the rate that we should be developing at.

Which leads you to train on heart rate. 

While it is still challenging to calculate HR training zones, HR is a reflection of the physiological effort, while pacing is a calculated estimate of what should be easy.

Calculating running zones in terms of pace takes A LOT of experience.

So, how do you do it…

A Formula For Working Out Training Effort

We’ve found that the most useful heart rate method for the layperson is the MAF method developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone.

Dr. Phil Maffetone’s MAF method requires you to run at a strict Heart Rate of 180-age or slower.

But … what that tells us is that we are almost certain that by running at 180 minus your age, you are running aerobically. 

If you’re new to running, if you’re returning from an illness, or if you are returning from an injury, you will then take further amounts off the value. 

If you have all three, if you’re brand new to running, returning from illness and injury, then you would take a further 15 beats per second off of that.

In the case of most people, if you’re repeatedly getting injured or repeatedly getting sick. We would do 180 minus your age,  minus 5.

In extreme circumstances, it would be 180 minus your age, minus 10 and that would effectively set the intensity that you are running at.

There are limitations to the MAF method, particularly as you age and so for athletes older than 50 we recommend 190-age as the starting point.

If you want to work out your maximum heart rate…

How To Calculate Your Heart Rate Maximum

I can assure you that Dr. Phil Maffetone’s method works. 

We’ve used it on many clients where it’s obvious that they’ve got an over-developed anaerobic system. It’s worked very, very well. 

If you do want to go a little bit more detailed, a bit more scientific, then you could determine your heart rate maximum.

We do not recommend you to calculate your heart rate maximum by saying 220 minus your age… you should go out and measure it. 

Provided you’ve been exercising fairly regularly and been cleared by a health care practitioner, you can head to a track or onto a hill (preferable) and do between three to four minutes of all-out efforts with a long recovery in between. (Five minutes between three-minute efforts.)

You should get very close to your maximum heart rate on effort three or four.

You can use Maximum Heart Rate to calculate your easy and hard runs. 

Your easy runs should be done at 70-75% of whatever your maximum heart rate value is and your hard runs in a range from 80% and higher depending on the session.

When you start training on heart rate it’s frustrating and it seems ridiculous, it seems like you can’t run this slowly. 

There are times when you’re forced into a walk. 

Trust us though, if you stick to it and you persevere with it, over six to twelve weeks, you will see very significant improvements in your running speeds at those heart rates.

So, for the vast majority of the population 220 minus your age gives only a very rough idea of what your max heart rate is. 

In this video, we show you how to get to your maximum heart rate, what tests can be done and how often you should do them…

Watch the video here.

Training To Heart Rate 

Most watches or products use a very simple measure to predict heart rate max, which we covered how to calculate above. (220 minus your age)

As we get older your max heart rate decreases, the more active you have been, and the higher the fitness level that you have maintained throughout your life, the slower your heart rate max will decrease. 

For this reason, we’ve never been huge fans of training off of a calculated maximum value. But this method can work and it is a better way of controlling intensity than having no control. 

Coach Parry’s Recommendation For Training To Heart Rate

What we find much more useful, particularly when you start getting to a point where you are starting to take your training seriously and your fitness gains are getting a little bit harder to come by… then it is much better to peg your heart rate training on your THRESHOLD HEART RATE. 

On that note, let’s cover what threshold heart rate is, how to calculate it and how to use it…

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Threshold Heart Rate

The gist of threshold heart rate is that it is the highest intensity that you can sustain for an extended period (35-40min).

At Coach Parry, we prefer to use threshold heart rate as opposed to calculated maximum heart rate.

Essentially, when we use calculated maximum heart rate, there are so many different variances that make it unreliable.  

When you don’t have a true, reliable max heart rate reading, you’re not going to get true variables when putting it into your prescription.

When using threshold heart rate, it is more relevant and specific to you as an individual.

Now that we know what threshold heart rate is and why we at Coach Parry prefer it, let’s have a look at how we would test you outside a lab to get your specific threshold heart rate…

How To Get Your Threshold Heart Rate

You need to warm up well and then run a time trial effort, all-out for 35 to 40 minutes. This will give you a good indication of what your threshold heart rate would be.

The reason for this is depicted in the graph below.

As you can see above, you need a little bit of time for your heart rate to climb and get up to a steady effort/ state (warm-up), and then you will be able to sustain a threshold for 35-40min.

In the 35 to 40 mins, we will see the heart rate plateau and where your heart rate is quite stable. That will be your average heart rate which is a good estimation of your heart rate threshold.  

Anything longer than 45min, we generally will start to see a drop off in heart rate, due to you not being able to sustain the threshold for longer than 40min.  Anything shorter and you are able to maintain too high a Heart Rate for the duration. 

Once calculated correctly as explained above, you would then use your heart rate threshold to determine your different zones based on percentage calculations of that threshold heart rate. 

The accuracy of this measurement is absolutely vital. 

The preferred or more accurate measurement device to measure your heart rate is to use a chest belt. This is because it is a more stable and accurate reading compared to wrist devices, where readings tend to fluctuate.

What does this all mean to your training… let’s find out.

How To Train Using Threshold Heart Rate

In the graph above, the grey line represents heart rate and how it increases over time as the intensity increases.

We can see the different zones we train are represented by Z2, Z4, and Z5.

Z2 Heart Rate: Based on the threshold value that you determined, we would look at 80-85% as the upper limit of your zone 2 heart rate. This is where all of your easy runs and your long runs get done from a heart rate point of view. 

On the graph, if you were to look at the second green line in your zone 2, that would be the upper limit of your zone 2. Whether you’re training in the upper limit or the lower limit of your zone 2 heart rate for your easy runs, physiologically you will be getting the EXACT same benefit.

So, whether you are training in the upper limit of zone two or the lower limit you are still gaining the same benefits. 

By training in the upper end… it is more taxing on your body, so the eccentric load that you are putting into your legs on a run at the upper limit is going to be higher than if you were training at the lower end of that zone. It will be more costly on the body and will require a longer recovery time. 

In this video sports scientists, Shona Hendricks and Devlin Eyden walk you through exactly how to train using threshold heart rate and how much training should be done in each zone…

Check it out here!

This is exactly how to keep your heart rate down while running… 

I think, if you’re reading this article then you will agree with me that two fundamental goals of runners of all ages and levels are running faster and running farther.

If you’ve been running for a while you’ll know the good ol’ running plateau…

Whether you’re looking to increase your running speed for race day or your own workouts, there are many proven ways that you can build running endurance and learn how to run faster without getting tired and staying injury-free. 

Before we cover how to run faster, let’s have a look at the root problem…

8 Reasons Why You’re Running Slow

  1. You do all your training runs at the same pace.
  2. You run your easy runs too fast or too hard.
  3. Your training is inconsistent.
  4. How much you are training.
  5. You’re training too much.
  6. Your nutrition intake is all wrong.
  7. You don’t have the physical strength to sustain the running.
  8. You aren’t getting enough good quality sleep.

Let’s dive into these in a bit more detail…

You do all your training runs at the same pace.

Never forget the 80/20 principle, you should do 80% of your training at a low intensity and 20% or less at a high intensity. 

The smaller the gap between your easy run intensity and your hard run intensity the more likely you are to plateau. 

You run your easy runs too fast or too hard.

The reason why we suggest running your easy runs EASY is that by running too hard your eccentric loading on your muscles is causing a lot of damage. 

That damage takes a lot longer to recover, which means you would need to extend your recovery time which will affect the quality of your running session the next day. 

By running nice and easy you will still be giving your body the same physiological benefits but ensuring you recover quicker for the next run.

Pro Tip: Slowing your easy runs down improves aerobic capacity.

An improved aerobic capacity means that you will be able to recover faster, and it improves your running economy by allowing you to metabolize fuel better.

Your training is inconsistent.

This is normally regarded as the most important aspect of your training. This is because if you don’t have a consistent training plan then your training will fall apart. 

Lack of consistency impacts improvements over time. 

A great way to think of consistency is as if it were a financial investment.
The small little bits over time lead to big amounts and that’s the same thing as fitness. 

You should aim to stick to your training plan as well as possible. 

*Remember that rest is considered a session.

How much you are training. 

The more frequently you run, the better your aerobic base becomes. The better your aerobic base, the more your running pace increases. 

There is a fine line between training enough and training too much. 

You’re training too much. 

A lot of people fall into the trap of doing too much volume. What will happen is that you’ll find yourself feeling tired ALL the time. 

This is something we should get away from.

We do not improve fitness in every training session. During recovery is where the adaptation occurs. 

The only training session you’ll get the most benefit from is the one you recover properly from. 

Your nutrition intake is all wrong.

It’s crucial to understand that if you don’t put enough fuel into your body or if you’re putting the wrong fuel into your body then you will compromise your recovery and the amount of energy that is available for you to do the training that you want to do. 

You need to eat ENOUGH good quality food (fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins) and they need to be eaten at the correct TIME in relation to exercise. 

Find out when the correct time is to eat nutritious food in relation to your exercise in this video:  

You don’t have the physical strength to sustain the running. 

Strength training is absolutely vital.

When you are doing any exercise, running in particular, you are recruiting muscle fibers that need to contract. If you can’t do that enough, then you won’t get any faster. 

It has been proven that strength training can improve your running performance by up to 5%. 

If strength training is what you’re after, grab a free-running strength plan here.

You aren’t getting enough good quality sleep.

You need to prioritize getting as much sleep as you can, as consistently as possible. 

Life is chaotic and busy. We get that.  

Avoid inconsistency by getting one night of 8 hours of sleep a week, and the rest is all over the place. For the rest of the week, you should try to get 30-60min per night more than you normally do and try to get as much as possible as consistently as possible. 

A good night’s sleep will help build and repair muscles balance your hormones and improve your overall athletic performance. 

In this article we cover the benefits of a good night’s sleep on your running in a lot more detail: Here.

Now that you know why you may be running slow, let’s dive into how to speed right up!

4 Steps To Running Faster 

  1. Recovery

Most people think that you only get the benefits of what you’re doing while you are doing the exercise.  

This is false.

You don’t get fitter and faster while you are running, it all happens during the time that you recover. 

It’s not about doing more all the time, it’s all about HOW you recover.

By neglecting your recovery time, you will arrive at your next run feeling tired, not fresh, and have a higher chance of getting injured. 

How do you know if you’ve recovered enough?

We like to use 3 simple processes:

  • Ask yourself if you’re feeling stiff or if you’re feeling pain anywhere?

Muscle soreness is an indication that you haven’t recovered properly.

  • Take your resting heart rate every morning after you have emptied your bladder.

That number should stay consistent over time. When it starts to go up then you are not recovered properly.

  • Modern wearables.

With modern wearables now, you can use something very useful called heart rate variability. If you are tracking your heart rate variability, particularly while sleeping, over time that allows you to compare if you are recovering well

2. Pacing

This is the number 1 mistake that amateur athletes make…

We’re all guilty of it, if we feel that we’re not smashing ourselves in our training sessions then it’s not good enough. 

It is key to slow down and to run in particular our slow/ easy runs & long runs at the correct slow pace to improve our aerobic efficiency.

Why is it so important to run our training runs at the correct pace?

To improve endurance we need to run in the correct “zone”. This refers to the intensity we run at. That’s where the body becomes more efficient (You become a better runner). 

This range is very wide though. You can run in the faster end of the range = lots more eccentric stress and load on the body or you can run on the slower end = with much less stress on the body. 

Training at the correct pace is so important because when we are running in the correct zone, that essentially is when we are getting all the physiological adaptation that we need. 

Essentially, zones are bands of intensity, with zone 1 typically referring to recovery, zone 2 aerobic endurance, zone 3 anaerobic threshold. For endurance training, we are referring to zone 2.

When you’re running within zone 2, you can run towards the top end of that zone (but the closer you get to the top, the more likely you are to move into zone 3, moving away from the intended workout and increasing the physical stress on your muscles.), which is a little bit faster, or the bottom end. When you’re running at the top end of that zone, you’re putting a lot of eccentric stress on your muscles. 

You can run at the bottom end of the zone and then there will be less of that load of eccentric contraction and less wear and tear on the body. You’re going to be getting exactly the same benefits as if you were running towards the top end of that zone. 

How To Monitor Pacing

A very simple tool that we love at Coach Parry is…

To be able to hold a conversation with the person you are running with or to be able to break out into song.

You should be able to breathe quite easily, have a light sweat at the end of your training run, and feel like you can go a bit further.

We’re not saying all your training runs need to be this easy, just remember the 80/20 rule. The majority of your runs need to be easy so that the ones that need to be hard, can be really hard.

3. Strength Training

You may be sick of hearing this from us but this is going to CHANGE your running!

Strength training helps keep you injury-free.

As we discussed earlier, running is a compounding sport, it places that eccentric strain on your muscles.

Strength training helps build the structures around the joints and helps make the joints stronger, allowing your body to sustain the load from running so much better. 

Strength training has massive effects on your running performance.

You will improve your running performance (needing less fuel to run longer distances) by not even running at all.

Strength training doesn’t yield instant improvements, in fact, in the short term, it makes you a little sore and takes you right out of your comfort zone.  – This is why so few people do strength training. 

When we say strength training, we mean resistance training – pushing your body against any form of resistance.

Any form of resistance training could be bodyweight, weight training, or even resistance bands. 

Ideally, you should be doing resistance training once or twice a week, as this is when you will reap the most benefits in your running. 

5 Minute, 5 Exercise Strength Training For Busy Runners That is Shockingly Simple To Do.

4. Consistency

We’re not talking about consistency in a way that you might think.

You will notice if you look back at your running career that every time you have had a successful race it has come off the back of your most consistent training block. 

The consistency we are talking about comes from doing the right stuff day after day, week after week, and month after month. 

To achieve this type of consistency, you need to get the first 3 steps correct. 

This will allow you to achieve successful training block after successful training block to build on your past successes and improve into the future.

How to run faster without getting tired ->> Here

So, we’ve had a look at pace, consistency, recovery, and strength training… Let’s see if there are any other ways to increase your running speed. 

Will Changing Your Running Form To Run Faster Work?

We have all seen those runners who just seem to float and glide along. They seem to have perfect form. 

Certain runner forms are more efficient and people who run faster tend to have better running form. BUT, In terms of being able to manipulate and change the running form, that is extremely hard to do. 

In terms of having an ideal way of running, that is also very hard to do. 

This is because, even at the top end of the sport, two runners that don’t look at all alike (not the same height & build) can’t be expected to squeeze into a specific way of running. 

We are all unique and we are all an ongoing experiment.

If you run intelligently, build a program that allows you to train consistently and helps you avoid injury, then your body will find its most efficient way of moving. 

The “Ideal” Running Posture

We do know that certain factors will get you the closest you can get to an ideal running posture, like a slightly forward lean, having a straight posture so that you can almost draw a line from your ear to your shoulder to your hips, to your heel that’s pushing off the ground.  

For example, if we try to force a bigger, taller runner to move into these positions, particularly on their easier runs, then we will be shifting the stress from perhaps their knees straight down into their calves and Achilles. 

The point is that there is going to be stress placed on the body, and depending on how you’ve been running over the years, your body will be adapted to absorb that stress, so if we go and make changes, we have to make the changes REALLY slowly. 

Why We Don’t Spend Loads Of Time Getting People To Change Their Posture

Over the years we have watched many … many… many elite athletes in competition and what we have noticed is that when the chips are really down when they are tight and fall under immense pressure. They revert to TYPE.

By type we mean, what their body is best adapted for, what their body was built for, the physics that their very own body has got.  

What if you were born with really bad biomechanics and just want to run faster?

Is It Worth Manipulating Your Form To Run Faster?

Find out here!

The next section is often spoken about in whispers and with much trepidation. Should I do track training? 

Track training has its place and is nothing to be feared.

Are Speed Sessions On The Track Necessary To Run Fast?

Speed sessions on a track are necessary for the final phases of the preparation, but it’s not really the “thing” that makes you faster. 

There is some debate about how much aerobic vs anaerobic is contributed during and 800 meters, but certainly from 1500 meters and up, is very aerobic dominated, and in the market that we deal with, which is 5k’s to 100 milers, then the aerobic component is the most important.

You will only improve using speed work if you sort out that aerobic component first, and that’s why at Coach Parry we are always so hardcore about … Run easy, run easy, run easy!

There are lots of good things about doing track work (once you have built up your aerobic strength), some of them are physiological, some are around coordination and some are around the range of motion.

The ratio between the easy runs and the speed work depends on your level of running. 

Dangers To Speed Work

The obvious danger to speed work on a track is the increased risk of injury. 

This comes down to the fact that most people when they do get down to the track, they just don’t do it properly.

Anyone can go down and run 400s as fast as they can. But that’s just going to leave you sore, possibly injured, and will compromise your training going forward. 

If you are going to head to a track, ensure that you are doing the appropriate type of session at the appropriate intensity and volume. 

When Should You Not Run On Track?

If you have just started running, are new to running, haven’t developed your aerobic capacity, or are recovering from an injury then you should avoid the track.

It’s important to remember that if you want to run fast, for a long time then you need to have a highly developed aerobic system and if you develop that aerobic system, what will happen is that you will be able to run faster… And faster… And faster at or just below the threshold.

If you overdevelop your anaerobic system by running too much speed work or by running your easy runs too hard then you will push that threshold down. 

That pretty much sums up how you can run faster… 

If you’re looking to run a sub 4 hour Marathon then here is your answer: Click here!

Or

If you’re looking to run a sun 45 minute 10K, we’ve got you covered: Here.

What does this all mean for the runners over 50 who want to run faster?

How To Run Faster & Longer As You Get Older

While there is still a notable physiological decline as we get older, the body still shows great aptitude for adaptation if provided with the right stimulus. 

If the correct training intensities and volume of training are followed and complemented with good strength training at least twice a week you can run better as you get older.

There is a saying that children are not small adults and so we shouldn’t train them as such, the same should ring true for runners over 50. 

Of course, the basic training principles still apply but it is key to manipulate the volume and intensity of the program to run fast as you age.

Save your seat at our next Faster Beyond Fifty Masterclass below!

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

During that crazy time in all of our lives, where we were working from home, gyms were closed and we were not allowed to see family members. Health experts encouraged solo outside exercise for physical and psychological well-being and a lot of people found their escape by running.

Whatever your reason for hitting the trails, pavement, or track is, by following a few simple tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to stay motivated, injury-free, and safe while becoming a faster, fitter, and stronger runner. 

Firstly, let’s cover the basics…

Types Of Running

There are 7 main types of running, they all help to achieve different objectives.

7 Different Types Of Running:

  1. Base Runs

When you run a base run, you run at your natural pace for a length of time that doesn’t push or challenge you, this type of run is great for building endurance. 

  1. Fartlek Runs

Fartlek (Swedish for “speed play”) runs, this type of run includes interval training with a long-distance goal. 

You would run at a fast pace for part of the run but intersperse slower speeds for short amounts of time. 

  1. Interval Runs

Intervals or speed workouts are done to increase aerobic capacity.

While doing interval training you would alter between running at a fast pace and then at a slower pace.

  1. Long Runs

By doing long runs you will be able to acclimate your body to exertion over increasingly longer periods. 

This Is Why You Need To Include Long Runs In Your Training: Click Here

  1. Recovery Runs

These are easy runs at a shorter distance or slower pace than usual. These are run to help your body be capable of peak performance on race day.

Recovery runs are very important for several reasons. 

  1. Tempo Runs

Longer than interval distances but shorter than long runs. Tempo runs are generally up to 10 miles long and executed at a challenging but sustainable running pace that will closely align with your projected race pace.

  1. Track Runs

It’s normally elite runners that like to perform speed intervals on track surfaces, finding that the springier surface works well for repetitive speed drills.

It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to running or jumping back into it after a long break. 

The most important thing to remember is to take it slow and start EASY. 

Here are some tips to take into consideration that will make a HUGE difference to your running.

Expert Tips For Beginner Runners

  1. Begin slowly.
  2. Nutrition is key.
  3. Follow a walk/run method.
  4. Stick to your strategy.
  5. Recovery is also key.
  6. Strength training.

Begin Slowly

Now that you’re starting to run, your body will need to get comfortable with the new load that comes with running on your joints. 

The slower you start the higher your chances are of avoiding overexertion, pain, and injuries. The easier you run, where you can easily hold a conversation, the faster you will build up endurance and start to see improvements.

It sounds counterintuitive but Coach Lindsey Parry reveals in this video why you should slow down if you want to speed up and run faster.

Nutrition is key

Immediately after a run, it’s important to refuel your body with protein and carbohydrates to restore your glycogen and repair the muscles. 

The first four hours after exercise is a crucial time for taking on new glycogen to replace what you’ve lost while working hard.

Within 30 minutes after your training, you should consume the correct sugars and protein. As we get older this becomes even more important. You should also drink enough as keeping hydrated will also contribute to speeding up your recovery time. 

In a nutshell, during exercise, we have what are called gated channels. These are channels through which the body takes sugar out of the blood, through the membranes, and then pushes them into the muscles where they are needed most. 

The gated channels are very sensitive during exercise, but they close down and draw that sugar into the muscles much slower once you get out of the 30-minute window.

So, essentially, every 15 minutes, our body’s ability to replace the muscle glycogen, in particular, decreases by roughly a multiplier of 50. (50% less efficient as we go). Therefore 45 to 60 minutes after our exercise it becomes difficult for our bodies to reload that muscle glycogen.

Follow a Walk/Run Method

At Coach Parry, we are huge fans of the run/walk strategy.

The run/walk strategy should be done often enough until you are comfortable enough in what you are doing. 

It’s not something that you need to do in every single session, a good time to implement this strategy would be on one of your long runs.

The important thing about the run/walk strategy is not how much running you do vs how much walking but more about settling on a routine that you are comfortable with and that you can implement from the get-go.

We recommend 1 to 2 minutes of brisk walking every 3 to 6 kilometers, and then of course you need to factor in a bit of extra walking on the hills.

It’s SUPER good to implement the run/walk strategy on long or very steep hills. (e.g Run 1 min, walk 1 min) 

The point of the walks is to keep you feeling fresh and your legs feeling strong for as long as possible so that your average speed improves over the long term. 

Find out how to implement the run/walk strategy here.

Stick To Your Program

Yes, we understand life is busy and days tend to get away from you…

Lack of consistency impacts improvements over time. 

A great way to think of consistency is as if it were a financial investment.
The small little bits over time lead to big amounts and that’s the same thing as fitness. 

You should aim to stick to your training plan as well as possible.

Do this by following a customizable training plan like the ones we have at Coach Parry.

Recovery Is Also Key

When you run, you aren’t just building your stamina and strength; you’re also breaking your body down, causing a tiny amount of tissue damage with every step.

Allowing yourself time to recover after your runs is what makes it possible for you to come back better adapted for your next run. 

We can’t stress the importance of recovery enough. It is as important as your training. 

Without recovery, you won’t reach your full running potential. On top of that, by not recovering you increase your chances of getting sick and injured. 

A practical guide to running recovery here.

Strength Training

Strength training helps keep you injury-free.

Running is a compounding sport, it places eccentric strain on your muscles.

Strength training helps build the structures around the joints and helps make the joints stronger, allowing your body to sustain the load from running so much better. 

Strength training has massive effects on your running performance.

You will improve your running performance by not even running at all. Ideally, you should be doing resistance training once or twice a week, as this is when you will reap the most benefits in your running. 

FREE Strength Training Program Here!

The team at Coach Parry has a lot of experience behind them…better than that, put together the Coach Parry community has even more experience, that’s why we asked them what they wished they had known when they started running…

What We Wish We Knew When We Started Running

The magic happens when you sleep.

The reason why the magic happens in your sleep is that it is the time when your body is working the hardest at regenerating.

This happens because humans were designed to be diurnal, which means that we sleep when it’s dark and be awake when it’s daylight. 

Our hormonal responses are triggered by the changing of the light. Certain processes need to take place at certain times for us to get the best adaptation (recovery) while we are sleeping. 

When you get into bed is the most important. If you get into bed after 10 pm then there will be a reduction in the peak release of hormones(Human Growth Hormone & Testosterone) while we are sleeping. 

The importance of getting the right running shoes.

This is an important factor considering that you are running in them for hours. 

When buying running shoes, a key thing to look out for is that the shoes fit you correctly, it is going to be a personal preference, no brand is better than another… it comes down to what works best for you.

You should try to test different models of shoes to see what fits right and to see what’s recommended.

We strongly advise going to a specialist retail store, where they can talk you through different shoes.

Something to look out for when purchasing your running shoes is the actual fit. There needs to be a little bit of space in front of the big toe, the shoe must not be too constricting around the bridge or top of your shoe. 

Something else to look out for is the right kind of shoe in terms of pronation and anti pronation shoes. 

A lot of running stores might get you to walk up and down and have a look at your feet and give you a pair of anti pronation shoes.

Pro Tip: For about 90% of people, maybe even more, you can get away with a neutral shoe. It is only in extreme cases that we would recommend you get anti pronation shoes. 

Following a structured training plan would give me the results I wanted, rather than what I thought I knew.

Following a structured training program is the KEY to doing things the correct way.

The reason for this is that when you have a structured training plan, it has been scientifically thought out and built up progressively, it takes into account the right amount of rest & intensities that you need. 

If you don’t follow a structured plan then you land up doing the things that you like to do and not the things that you don’t like to do and you probably won’t get enough rest. 

Following a training plan takes the guesswork out of it for you as the runner. 

The older you get, the more important recovery becomes.

This wish applies to everybody. 

The MAGIC happens while we recover, not while we exercise.

As you get older you consistently lose strength, that’s why recovery becomes even more important. So as a result you end up working harder, which means that you will require a longer recovery time.

You don’t have to race every time you run.

A lot of runners believe that you need to be half-dead after every session for that session to be worth it. This is NOT the case. 

Only 20% of your overall volume of training needs to be done ‘hard’.

When you constantly run hard you increase your chances of overtraining and causing injury.

Vaseline is not optional. 

This one is so true… although funny, Vaseline is necessary!

Experiencing chafing during a run can be extremely uncomfortable.

There are tons of products out there, Vaseline being one, that can be applied to areas where chafe is common like between your thighs, under your armpits, and where your heart rate monitor goes.

We touched a bit on why following a training program is necessary to remain consistent and to improve your running performance safely without injury.

Let’s have a look at what and what shouldn’t be included in your training plan…

Check it out in the video here!