How can you tell that your running is improving?

We talk how you can tell that your running is improving and give you some tips to test it out.

You can’t force improvement

Remember you can’t force improvement. Beginners might improve on a weekly basis but for those who have progressed further you may not be able to notice your running improving every week. Expecting to improve with each run and pushing to make this happen is counterproductive.

You don’t get fitter as you run. You get fitter when you are recovering. It’s here that your body starts to adapt to make you stronger and faster. Running on its own doesn’t make you fitter. Running plus recovery does.

How do you know you are getting fitter?

1. Your Chatty pace will gradually get faster. You will suddenly notice that you ran your usual route faster than normal. Your pace might be faster on your running app or you may have got further in a particular time.

2. When you go up hill, you suddenly find it easier. You run all the way up a hill that you used to have to walk up.

3. You will notice that at the end of a long run you are not feeling tired. Your legs are not as weary as they used to be. This means that they are getting stronger. You will also be using your fat stores efficiently which will make the run feel easier and less tiring.

What if you want to check your progress? What can you do?

The Out and Back run

Warm up and then run for ten minutes out, turn around and come back for ten minutes, all at Chatty pace. Try to keep the pace consistently Chatty. If you don’t back to your starting point in ten minutes you have gone too fast on the way out. The reverse may indicate that you have held back more on the way out. If you do the same flattish course each week at a consistent pace,you will be able to track your progress. You will notice that you are running further in your ten minutes each way.

Over time you can build up to and then a maximum of 20 minutes out and back.

Repeat a route

You can repeat a familiar route, perhaps 5km, on a regular basis. Keep your pace Chatty and gradually you will notice that you are completing it in a quicker time for the same Chatty effort.

Beware of being competitive with yourself

If you are someone that struggles not to force progress don’t do these tests every week but once every three weeks. You need to have a relaxed approach as you will not necessarily see improvement every week. You should just let it happen. Each time you should finish feeling like you could do more.

It’s not how fast you but how much you do that makes a better runner. As your Chatty pace improves so does your faster running paces, for example the pace you may run a 5km in putting in more effort.

What happens if you try to force progress?

If you try to run faster on each run in order to prove that you are improving you will become more and more tired. Your body will not be recovering properly. So each run you do, will make you even more tired. You will find that you have to run harder for the same effort. Your times will then get slower and you may make the mistake of thinking that you are not training hard enough. In fact, you are over training. A few days off would allow your body to recover and help you to improve.

Try the six week Chatty Challenge

Run at Chatty pace for six weeks and see how much you improve at the end of that time.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if life gets in the way of your running and affects your improvement. Stress and busy work lives can have an impact. Relax and enjoy your running and give yourself some more time.

Why not join our Facebook group to post your Chatty runs and share your progress.

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