Run faster and further — Part II

The best bet is to work with professional strength and conditioning coaches with an individualised schedule and a proper periodised regime. Here are some points to note.

At any level, stretching helps in injury prevention, recovery and increasing range of motion.   -  AP

Building an endurance base and setting new goals in pushing yourself to reach the target time play very important roles in the overall fitness of a professional. And the new buzzword in endurance training is the 2k run, which has become mandatory for all cricketers to prove their fitness levels.

We have a few ways to reach the target through proper processes and protocols. We will look at not only cricket, but other sports too, as we look to enhance fitness levels to international standards.

The first thing to do is calculate your pace in the initial run, noting down the time to cover a particular distance. Depending on this reading, set up your training regime to reduce the time taken to cover that distance.

I have not suggested any workout schedule here in a generalised way since every athlete is unique to his or her sport and skills. The best bet is to work with professional strength and conditioning coaches with an individualised schedule and a proper periodised regime. This can be heart rate variability training, velocity-based training, Triphasic training, et cetera.

Run faster and further — Part II

Some points to ponder:

Control weight

If you’re trying to run faster, losing weight may help. Some estimates say that, on average, runners get two seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose. For example, 3kg weight loss may shave about one minute off your 5km race time.

Improve eating habits

It’s no secret that healthy eating habits are directly proportional to one’s performance and recovery. Consult a professional sports nutritionist to individualise your plan according to each need. Be mindful of your calorie intake with proper proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and micro- and macronutrients according to your specific needs for specific periods of competition.

Running gear

Invest in proper running gear such as clothes and shoes to make it easier and efficient. Loads of new technology-based clothing are in vogue in the market for performance. Proper, fitting attire is a must.

Invest in proper running gear such as clothes and shoes to make your training easier and efficient.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar


Stretch regularly

Still misunderstood is the aspect of stretching — which type of stretching to do when and how or is it effective at all?

Loads of researches is being done regarding this and new findings come out every now and then. At any level, stretching helps in injury prevention, recovery, increased range of motion, et cetera. This is highly individualised, too.

Core work

It’s an open secret that the core muscles can affect your running pace, posture and breathing, and help in free movement of the legs. Working on the core is a critical component for any sport.

Siesta time

This is also highly misunderstood and not followed. An important component of recovery is proper sleep with good sleeping hygiene. It’s been proven that the alpha state of sleep is a huge stress buster, where the mind and the body relax, allowing proper recovery. Eight hours of sleep is recommended for professional athletes.

Strength training

It’s a proven fact that strength training increases muscle build and in turn increases speed, power and injury prevention, and has many more benefits. Schedule a proper functional programme with a strength and conditioning coach to derive the best results possible. Strength training helps in explosive speed towards the last leg of a race.

The importance of communication between athletes and coaches

Resistance bands and accessories

Resistance bands — used to either resist or assist in a run with a harness — can increase the speed and power components with proper running mechanics. It’s a good way to incorporate good running drills and also to increase stride turnover.


The above protocols for increasing speed, power or developing good aerobic base at times can be monotonous and can plateau with incremental levels of fitness. Crosstraining is a great tool to overcome this and keep the body and mind fresh for peak performance. Football, tennis, badminton, swimming, table tennis or other components of fitness such as yoga and tai chi can increase your body’s adaptation and can have a good crossover.

Buddy group

Training and running with a buddy group helps you to push yourself harder with external motivation. Fartleks, interval training, tempo runs or Tabata runs can be done with the buddy group to push your boundaries.

Practise strong

Train as if you are racing and learn to phase yourself during the actual race. It can be fun to have a competition during training. Make this happen once or twice a month in your schedule.

How to win

  • Study the course you are running and if possible walk through the course to understand and plan your strategy.
  • Running too fast initially can burn up stored energy too soon, causing fatigue and hindering finishing ability. Phase the race well.
  • If running on a track that curves, the best way to bank the curve is by running on a tangent. A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Running on a tangent helps in running the shortest distance along the curve. This comes with race preparation.
  • Proper hydration and diet prior to a race is essential for continuous energy supply and to avoid fatigue. Check your urine’s specific gravity and your heart rate before the race.
  • Visualise the race and prepare mentally.
  • Plan each lap with a specific time to cover to reach the target time demanded.
  • Check your running form at regular intervals to prevent energy wastage and to cover more distance.
  • Finally, it all comes down to your preparation and how you have adopted the training schedule.

This is the second of a two-part series on endurance training.

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