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Step up to a new running PB

Step up to a running PBStep up to a running PB

Neil Kelford from Versaclimber explains how cross-training could help you shave seconds, or even minutes, off your running PB:

The COVID-19 lockdown has encouraged people of all ages and abilities to go out for a run. After all, it is the perfect solo sport, requires no travel or special equipment, and helps to maintain good physical and mental health. New and seasoned runners have discovered routes from their doorstep over the past few weeks, making the most of their daily exercise allowance during these uncertain times.

Running may be nothing more than a gentle jog around the park for some, but others cannot resist a spot of healthy competition – even in lockdown. While many popular races have been cancelled or postponed, keen runners are still testing themselves with virtual challenges, relays and races. If you’ve got extra time on your hands, it is a chance to improve your fitness, hone your technique and smash your running PB ready for racing (or at least impress your followers on Strava).

But, as we all know, upping your mileage too quickly can lead to injury, especially if you’re only running on the road. Getting a physio appointment is likely to prove tricky and managing your injury at home, or worse still, trying to run through it, may simply store up trouble for the future.

Recently, it was reported that online searches for running-related injuries have increased by more than 470% since COVID-19, as more Brits embraced the sport. Nobody wants to be out with shin splints or calf strains, so we’ve put together these cross-training tips to help you safely build up your fitness, stamina, strength and, of course, speed.

Fast paced sessions

Regular speed training is essential if you want to smash your running PB but with club sessions, park run and races on hold, you may be struggling to motivate yourself.

If you feel like you’re plodding, and want to ramp it up a gear, why not challenge yourself with a virtual race? England Athletics has teamed up with OpenTrack to give clubs the chance to create free-of-charge races, complete with inter-club scoring and charity donations. Recently, we’ve seen the Bannister Virtual Mile and 2.6 Challenge, so head online and see what inspires you.

There are also plenty of ready-made speed sessions available online, with interval, fartlek and hill training exercises. 

Change your mindset

Being competitive can take your running to the next level – but remember what the ‘p’ in PB stands for. Rather than feeling annoyed because a clubmate always seems to pip you at the finish line, take this time to reset and think about how far you’ve progressed since you started. Unless you’re Mo Farah