Running is such a popular hobby because it doesn’t require any equipment, and it is one of few hobbies where nothing is holding you back.
All you need is a good pair of trainers and a safe open space, then you’re off.
But even though running is a solo hobby, it is impossible not to become competitive, and as you regularly run by yourself, most of this competitiveness is targeted towards your personal best.
It is impossible not to become competitive and as a beginner, you might want yourself to improve immediately.
Like with anything, practice is what will make you better at running, but there are some other tips that we can give you to improve your running ability.
All of these changes are fairly minor, but it is surprising how much of a difference they can make when you set out of the track. So with no further ado, let’s take a look at how you can become a better runner.
Tip One - Be Patient
This might seem like a strange place to begin, but the most important thing to do if you are new to running is to remain patient.
Patience is a virtue, and it can be very hard to accept that you are not going to hit your fitness goals immediately after you set them.
To be able to improve your running ability, patience and acceptance are key, so before you set out to become a better runner you must accept that it will not happen overnight. Even if you cannot see yourself improving, you are improving every single time that you run.
So be patient, stick with your training pattern, and keep up the good work, you will see the results that you want to see eventually.
Tip Two - Recognize your Limits
If you want to become a better runner, you also need to recognize your limits and accept them. When you want to get better, it can be tempting to set out on a long run every single day of the week, because surely running every day will improve your ability, right? Wrong!
In theory, it should improve your ability, but in reality, you are actually just exposing yourself to a higher risk of injury. Pushing yourself will force your body to improve quicker, but it really isn’t worth the higher risk of potential injury that it brings.
So even though it can be tempting to keep on pushing yourself every single day, remember that you should give yourself a break and recognize your limits. If you feel like you need a break, take a break, it isn’t going to hinder your progress, in fact, it will actually help it.
Tip Three - Run More
This probably seems obvious, but the only way to improve your running ability is to run. As the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’ so the more often you run, the better you will find yourself at it.
We’ve just mentioned that you should recognize your limits, and you might think that this means you shouldn’t push yourself, but this really isn’t the case.
You should push yourself, but you also need to recognize when you need a break. So if you usually only run once a week, push this up to two, or if you normally run three times a week, try and push yourself to go 4-5 times.
To begin with, this push might seem difficult, but over time you will be able to notice how much it helps your ability to run. So remember to push yourself but recognize when you need a break.
Tip Four - Set SMART Goals
Another way to improve your running ability is to set your own goals. However, you need to be careful when setting goals.
It is incredibly common for people to set goals that are simply unrealistic, and this can cause you to become disheartened, and could damage your ability to improve.
When you are setting goals, you must make them achievable. One of the best ways to set achievable goals is to make them SMART. SMART is an acronym and it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-dependent.
This means that your goals should be clear, easy to monitor, realistic and achievable and that you should set a time limit in which you plan to achieve them. Setting goals using this method sets out a plan of how you will hit those goals, which increases the chance of you being able to achieve them.
Tip Five - Invest in Good Shoes
This next tip is something that is easily achievable but is often something that people overlook.
As we mentioned earlier, running is one of few hobbies which require absolutely no equipment, however, this is not strictly true. While it is not really a piece of equipment, something that will have a huge impact on your running ability is the shoes that you wear while you run.
To improve your ability to run you should invest in a good pair of running trainers. It might seem like a minor change, and a lot of people fail to see how a pair of trainers can help, but the difference that it makes is massive. There are lots of different running trainers available with huge variations in price and style.
A higher price point doesn’t necessarily mean that the trainers will be better, so always remember to check the reviews before you make a purchase.
Tip Six - Recover like the Pros
Another thing that you need to remember when attempting to improve your running ability is the importance of recovery time. It is not a weakness to admit that you need a break, and even the fittest of athletes have a lengthy recovery time. With that in mind, our next tip is to recover like the pros.
In this, we mean that you should be getting a good night’s sleep every single night, aiming for 8-10 hours every time you go to sleep. You should always incorporate a minimum of 3 rest days into your week when you are first beginning to run.
As well as physical recovery, you also need to give your brain a break. Even if you enjoy running, ensure that you do other things that you enjoy to give yourself a break. Putting yourself under too much pressure increases your risk of injury or burnout, so remember to give yourself time to recover.
Tip Seven - Be Consistent
When it comes to running, consistency is key. The importance of consistency will be reflected in your training schedule, but it should also be reflected in your diet and recovery.
To improve your running ability you have to find a pattern that works for you and stick to it.
Continue to eat well, and run a set amount of times a week, and ensure that you only build upon this and that you never take a step back as this could hinder your running ability.
Tip Eight - Have a Variety of Exercises
If you want to improve your running ability, another way that you can do this is by adding variety to your exercise routines. If you set out on a run every other day following the same path that you always do, this can be mentally draining and it could cause your ability to go backward.
Your brain is a muscle and repetitively exposing it to the same environments can cause it to become tired, by adding variety to your exercise plan you can keep your brain active which will help your running ability. Do different running workouts and run in different areas.
You can also improve your running ability by adding strength training to your exercise plan. So remember to switch it up every now and then if you want to improve.
Tip Nine - Run with Others
This is another tip where you might shrug your shoulders, and ask ‘really?’. But running with other people can actually go a long way to improving your ability to run for distance.
In a lot of cases, running is an extremely solitary activity, and while this can often be nice, sometimes it can become grating.
Trying to find the motivation to keep on going can often be difficult, especially if you are having a low day or the weather outside is frightful. But running with others can be a great way to pick yourself up and set off on a run, even if you don’t really feel like it.
Meeting up with friends and catching up as you run can be a huge motivation, and it can also make the run feel less straining. So if you want to improve your personal best, setting off with friends can be great for getting better at running.
Tip Ten - It is not all about Running
Finally, you need to remember and recognize that your ability to run fast or for a long distance is not just down to running.
Even though running regularly can hugely improve your ability to run, some other types of exercise can help you along the way.
If you complete other types of exercise, this might aid your running ability and fitness levels. But don’t worry if you do not currently do any other types of exercise and running is your primary source of fitness.
Simply adding some at-home strength routines can help improve your running ability, and you don’t even need dumbbells, all you need is a couple of cans and you are good to go.
It can be hard to understand how other types of workouts can help you run, but it is all because of your muscles. By completing strength workouts, you are improving your muscles, which in turn will allow you to run further and faster.
When you first begin to run, it can be very difficult to comprehend how long it can take for you to improve. Success does not happen overnight, it requires lots of hard work, practice, and also patience to get to where you want to be.
This can be very hard to accept, and it can cause some beginners to push themselves too far beyond their limits to a point where they end up injuring themselves.
Even though it isn’t the answer that you are looking for, there is no set time in which your running ability will improve, and it can often take a long time before you see the results that you want.
But as we have said, running is all about consistency and practice, so as long as you stick with the program then you will begin to see the results that you want.
That being said, there are some ways that you can help speed up your improvement, and we have laid these out in the tips above.
So if you want to become a better runner, follow the tips we’ve outlined above, and you will begin to see the results that you desire.