If you’re interested in taking your running game to the next level, there are several things you can do to improve your performance and enhance your results. Elite runners practice a series of actions that help them stay on top of their game and get the most out of their workouts and, with some pro tips, you can, too.

Workout Variation

Workout variation is an important aspect to a successful training regimen. When you repeat your workouts on a regular basis, your body becomes stuck in a rut and can stop and slow the growth of new muscle. Because of this, it is important for runners to vary their workouts by breaking up a training schedule of long runs with strength-training exercises. This keeps the body receptive to new workout regiments and ensures that you’re able to continue building muscle and condition. 

Stretch

Running is ideal for building strong, lean legs but the constant strain running places on muscles often makes them tight and prone to injury. In order to avoid injuries and stay loose enough to perform well, it’s imperative to work stretching into your routine. To ensure optimal performance, stretch both before your run and afterwards.

Pace Yourself

To become a better runner, you need to master the art of pacing. This is especially important for runners who are training for longer distances. Going too fast during a long-distance run means you’ll boost your core temperature too quickly and flood your body with burned glucose by-products such as lactic acid. This can cause muscle burn and force you to slow down, ensuring poor performance and poor times. Mastering pacing, in which you run the first few miles slower than your goal pace, can help you finish the last miles strong.

Recover

Rest and recovery is an important aspect of keeping your running game strong, and to perform well, you need to rest well. To stay on top of your game, get enough rest (elite athletes often need 7-9 hours of sleep each night), and include daily naps into your routine if possible once you’re running 110 miles a week or more. Additionally, be sure to incorporate proper nutrition, stretching, foam rolling and icing into your recovery routine. Doing this will allow you to repair muscle stress, avoid injury and allow all of your body systems to perform as well as possible.

Becoming a better runner is a marathon, not a sprint. With these tips, and regular training, you too can become an elite runner.

Sources:

http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/variations-on-the-long-run

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/essential-runner-stretches

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm

http://www.onemedical.com/blog/newsworthy/sleep-lessons-olympians/