Saturday, July 2

How to Set Your Running Goals & Achieve Them

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The Two Oceans Half and Ultra Marathons will be taking place on 16 and 17 April, respectively, and like every year, it will be a sold-out event. Runners from all over the world are participating in one of the country’s most beautiful races, and some are taking it on as their first.

The beauty of running is that it’s a simple act of one foot in front of the other, making the transition from couch to 21.1km possible for almost anyone. However, getting there takes patience, determination, strength training and a lot of running. It’s certainly not an easy feat.

The best way to make strides in your running training is to set goals. First set a long term goal, accompanied by a short term goal as well as an intermediate goal. Try your best not to compromise on these goals and ensure you set different goals as you progress and succeed.

Of course, having a good pair of running shoes is pivotal. We have a handy PriceCheck buyer’s guide to help you find the right shoes for you, as well as a large variety of listings on PriceCheck.

Adidas Ultraboost 21

Each goal looks different for everyone, but no matter your goal, it is attainable. Training for a 5km, 10km, half marathon or the Ultra Marathon is at a difficulty level for different people, but with the correct training — both endurance and strength training, it’s possible to achieve.

Of course, you can’t achieve your goals without the right gear. Invest in the best running gear you can afford and get ready to smash your goals. The first key investment is a good pair of running shoes built for the task. Research a few pairs of running shoes and brands before you make a decision on the best pair of running shoes for your needs. Whether you’re focusing on speed, slow and steady long runs, or just jogging a few days a week, there is a pair of running shoes for you.

Comfortable running shorts and shirts are also key to your success. While you may think you can get by with wearing an old T-shirt and shorts for your runs, investing in good quality running gear will ensure you stay cool and comfortable throughout your run, leaving your mind free to focus on the task at hand.

Adidas Ultraboost 21

Not sure how to get started on your running journey? We’ve identified key training techniques you can do at home or at the gym to support your running progress. These five SAQ (Speed, Agility & Quickness) drills will help you to improve running dynamics and prime your body for high-end performance:

A-Skip:

A-skips sharpen your overall form by emphasising foot placement and knee drive through the propulsive phase. They are an excellent drill for hamstring activation and correct movement patterning.

Tip: Try not to focus on distance but, instead, on rhythm and fast foot contact.

How To:

This drill is a dynamic progression from high-knee walking. Lift lead-knee to waist height. When it reaches the highest point, there is a small hop forward.

Keep your toes pointed up on your lead leg (dorsiflexed ankle). Forcefully step down with a mid-foot strike — aim to make a noise when contacting the ground. Repeat by alternating legs.

Working on fitness is crucial to keeping your running in check too – you can’t progress if you don’t have the lungs for it. You can shop a wide range of at-home fitness gear on PriceCheck.

compression socks

B-Skip

B-skips are a development from the A-skip, which further improve your form by focusing on your knee drive and leg extension.

Tip: Stand tall and keep your arms relaxed.

How To:

  • Mimic the A-Skip until your knee is at waist height.
  • Kick your leading leg out in front of you.
  • Drag your leading leg back underneath you whilst maintaining a dorsiflexed ankle.
  • Aim for a mid-foot strike by maintaining a slight forward lean.

Bounding

Bounding is used to create a more powerful leg drive upon contact with the ground.

Tip: Do not overextend your stride. Your stride length should increase as a result of your increased power when contacting the ground, not as a result of your overreaching.

How To:

  • Start running at a comfortable pace, and when ready, start to strike the ground with more power on each stride and aim to gradually increase your stride length.
  • Maintain good form, with a slight forward lean.

running

Fast Feet

This is a drill that improves your running cadence by teaching your leg muscles (predominantly hamstrings) to fire faster. This drill also encourages a mid-foot landing. It can be an effective progression from the Functional Balance and High Knee Walking drill.

Tip: Focus on reducing your ground contact time by lifting your feet directly up underneath you towards your butt.

How To:

  • With your feet at hips width, lower your body down into a half squat position. Lift up your heels, so you are on the balls of your feet.
  • Start running as fast as you can on the spot.

Strides (Accelerations)

Strides, whilst technically not a drill, are controlled injections of speed during a regular running session. The aim is to allow you to practice the previous abstract drills in a real running scenario and are therefore usually performed after drills.

Tip:
 The key is to practice the acceleration while maintaining a very relaxed posture (shoulders and arms relaxed with wrists brushing your hip bones).

How To:

  • Run 60-80m at a reasonably fast pace, but not an all-out sprint.
  • Walk back after each set of strides to re-focus.
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