Improving Running Economy

By Charles Gallagher

If you improve your economy you will run faster and use less oxygen. There are a few was to do this, but strength work will bring about the greatest results.

What do I mean, well you need to run shorter distances faster than your race pace. For example, to achieve a goal of one hour at Bloomsday (our local 12k) runners need to average about 8 min mile pace. That means running a 2 min 400 meters. So lets try it, we will run 10 minutes real easy then do our stretches. Now lets do some strides of say 100 meters. Now we are ready, our goal is 3 400s at 2 min splits (that’s once around the track for a 400). Stay on pace don’t go to fast, keep good form remember to breath as relaxed as possible. Add 2 400s per week until you are doing 20-25 400s on pace. If you find this a little hard do a recovery run between each 400 say for 200 meters. These recoveries should be jogging not walking. Once you have started to slow down I mean you are not running on pace you are done with that session. Try to get this workout in once a week. Also get with a group; hard work is easier amongst friends.

Here is an advanced drill if you are new to running don’t try this one. Hill Bouncing. Find an easy hill and bound up it really exaggerate the vertical leap into the air. Land on the ball of your foot while allowing the heel to drop below the level of the forefoot, don’t let the heel hit the ground. Then quickly repeat. Do this slowly at first for about 300 meters remember time up the hill is not important, focus on the lift and lowering. Start with 2 or 3 repeats.