This summer and fall, I plan running a lot. I’ll likely tackle some 10K races, including the Rock the House Run for Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta and the Canmore Rocky Mountain 10K, and a half marathon or two. (I just signed up for the Big Sur Half Marathon. I can’t wait.)
I’m excited for the races, because this year I’ve been training specifically to improve my running speed and technique.
Once a week, my alarm goes off way, way too early, and I wonder what I was thinking signing up for 6 a.m. training. But, as soon as I get to Inliv and into my session with Kevin Lim, I love it.
Kevin is a personal trainer and an amazing runner. He’s the former Canadian youth record holder in the 400-metre race, is currently ranked in Canada’s top 10 and he’s aiming to make the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
Here he is representing Canada at the World Youth Championships in 2005:
I’d post a pic of me and my new and improved technique but, next to Kevin, it would just look sad.
However, seeing as I’m faster than when I started training — thank you, Kevin! — I thought I’d share the tips that have helped me improve.
Here are, in my opinion, Kevin’s Top Three Tips on Running:
- Focus on your arm swing. Instead of reaching forward with your hands, think about pushing your elbows back behind you. That stronger push-back motion is faster and will force your legs to keep pace.
- Dorsiflex your feet. Confused? I was, too. Simply put, when your foot comes off the ground, slightly point your toes up toward your shin. The slight arch will help your foot land farther — and in a better position — than it would have without it.
- Run intervals once or twice a week. Training your body to go as hard as it can, even in short bursts, will improve your overall endurance and speed. Here’s one of the workouts that Kevin has given me, which is a series of distance intervals. I’ll leave out the speeds. Basically, you want to run as fast as you can for the length of the interval.
- 5 sets of 500 metres. Between each 500-metre interval, take 1 1/2 to 2 minutes of rest. Which means total rest. Get off the treadmill, but keep it running, and walk around or just stand there. (People in the gym will wonder what you’re doing. Don’t sweat it.) After you’ve completed the five intervals, take five minutes of rest.
- 3 sets of 200 metres. Ramp your speed slightly from your 500-metre speed. Take 1 to 1 1/2 minutes of rest in between each interval.
That’s it, runners. May your intervals be fast and your feet be dorsiflexed.