Want to improve your running? Start junking the junk miles and learn to run faster by running SMARTER and with more intention and planning
Hey, friends, I have something new for you today: a guest post! If you have been reading for a while you know that I rarely have guest posts on my blog, and I’m working to change that. Since there are so many great bloggers, athletes, and cooks out there with a greater knowledge base than I do alone, so I want to start having guest posts regularly on The Fit Cookie.
My first guest post is from Nancy, an experienced ultra-runner and VP of Marketing & Communications at Milestone Sports. I asked Nancy to write a blog post for me and asked specifically about how to run faster and improve speed while still training for longer distances.
During my last race I noticed that my speed began to drop even though I had been running more training for the Bighorn 18-mile in June. I wanted to get some advice from an experienced runner who knows a lot more about running than I do!
Today, Nancy is sharing her experience with improving her running and speed in ultra-marathons, plus she sent some Milestone Pods for a giveaway!
P.S: if you need a little help with planning your runs, check out my printable race training schedule!
Junking the Junk Miles By Nancy L. Rowe
My running life started with a 39 minute 5k and has led to almost breaking 24 hours for 100 miles. In between there was 27 years of training and racing at various levels of commitment. I followed the path of most ultra-marathoners…5k to 10k to marathon, followed by, “if I can do 26.2, then 50k is only 5 more miles!” Eventually, I fell in love with trail running, the venue of most ultra events.
For many years, I cranked out the training miles, and raced ultra distances. I never got injured but never got faster. I followed one rule: get in the miles. I shunned speed work, strength work, cross training and even the treadmill. I did not track my splits on a watch. I was an endurance runner that is what I did. Run long, old school style!
Then, I got older. Instead of holding status quo in race results I began to get slower, even DNF in some events. I started to feel tweaks and twinges in my bones, joints and muscles. Instead of fixing my running, I took a break. I thought that maybe my body just needed a breather. But, without running I felt restless. And I got lazy.
One day, in an attempt to get back into ultra shape, I decided to look for a coach. I am a pleaser at heart and love earning gold stars, so I believed trying to follow a plan perfectly would be the magic ticket. It was! But not in the way I expected.
Soon, my coach sent me training week #1. Here it is, in part:
- Run 1: 1:30:00 flat to rolling run with a negative split
- Run 2: Flat tempo run of 20:00 on a treadmill or track
- Run 3: 50:00 easy hilly run, 175 cadence
- Run 4: 50:00 easy run on any type of course you like, followed by 4 x :15 flat strides
- Run 5: 45:00 slow flat run followed by
- Walk 6: 30:00 uphill walk on treadmill @ 8 – 12%
- Additional: Strength training x2 and drills x3
Track? Strides? Drills? CADENCE?! Whoa.
But my old school mindset of just cranking out the miles no longer worked, so I trusted my coach and earned my gold starts. Star pupil!
And I got faster. Way faster. Within 9 months I set big PRs in all my beloved ultra distances, including 100 miles, and (most importantly!) felt better doing it. No longer did I have to spend half my waking hours running. I ran less (way less!) and got better. Now I actually know my way around fartleks, goblet squats, cadence and stride length. I am a believer that strength and running efficiency matters. I am living proof.
My coach’s auto-signature says: “Train smarter, not harder.” I took the looooong way around, but I finally got there. Make every mile count!
Nancy is currently VP of Marketing & Communications at Milestone Sports, makers of the MilestonePod. Prior to joining Milestone, Nancy served in global marketing roles at PUMA and SRAM and spent over a decade at NIKE. She is veteran ultra-marathoner, having participated in approximately 50 ultra distance races. Her next goal is to break 24 hours in her favorite distance of 100 miles. When not working or running, Nancy loves to spend time with her three beloved dogs and two cats.
Also check out my Milestone Pod review!
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
34 thoughts on “Junking the Junk Miles: Run Faster by Running Smarter”
While I love running, you can’t beat a great Jiu Jitsu session.
My favorite workout involves hard, sweaty interval runs.
This would be amazing!! I’m such a gadget geek and numbers person. This would be perfect for my runs!!
I actually love my pod. As a new runner, the info was invaluable. I am looking to get spare pairs of shoes and want to make sure each had a pod.
Jogging is my favorite ☺
I love going to bootcamp classes.
I love Running and just fell in love with yoga sculpt!
favorite workout is squats, feel like a superstar after lol
Running is my favorite workout, followed by hiking in the woods with my dog!
My favorite workout is yoga. Followed very closely by running and strength training. Honestly, I love it all.
A good soccer game!
I like hiking and tennis the most.
A long walk on a beautiful day!!!
Yoga- building my core
I love core workouts the most. I do run a lot, currently training for my first marathon. However, sounds like I need to start training smarter though! I really enjoyed this guest post, thank you for sharing it.
Thanks for the great perspective on running. It’s good to be reminded that more is not always better.
My favorite workout is dancing and barre, but I mix it up and do some hiking, running and walking.
I like to hike.
Running is my favorite!
I love to hike and hiking
I love to ride bikes with my family.
I go through phases–sometimes it’s running and sometimes it’s cycling and sometimes it’s CrossFit. 🙂
My favorite workout is hiking!
One of my favorites too! 🙂
Running of course! I love Milestone Pod and am due for a new one. 😉
There’s so much research to back this up now! Scientists have been saying for a while that 1 minute of all out exercise is equivalent to 45 minutes at standard effort. I don’t think the equation is quite that simple when it comes to running, but it’s very clear that just going long isn’t enough. Sometimes I am very tempted to just go long and neglect technical aspects of my training (I just love to run!), but it’s pretty clear that doing so won’t have as much of an impact as doing strides, drills etc.
Would like to improve my times
I love weightlifting, running, HIIT, yoga, pilates…you name it. I love being active. I also love great music while I work out. That is key.
I love running but I also love doing fast paced 52 card workouts. You can make it a different workout everyday, get stronger and kick your behind. Love it!
Love running and hiit workouts
My favorite workout is walking!
Great post and I totally agree. As a Masters runner myself, I know that cranking out big miles just isn’t smart on my body or helpful at this point. I have to make all the miles count.
When I’m not running I love doing HIIT workouts!
i love to go jogging and hiking!