Health

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Seven magnificent ways to run faster

Irish legend Catherina McKiernan shares her top tips to improve your technique...

Irish legend Catherina McKiernan

I spent a few lovely days back home in Cavan during Easter. You know you are in the countryside when you are still chatting to neighbours outside the church for a half an hour after Mass. There is no place like home.

You know you are in the countryside when you are still chatting to neighbours outside the church for a half an hour after Mass. There is no place like home.

I ran around some of my old routes I trained on when I was growing up. One morning my daughter Deirbhile and I went running on a little golf course. As we ran around we agreed to do some 100m sprints up a gradual hill.

I was surprised at her strength, elegance and competitive streak as she bounded up the hill. She was ahead of me for the first four efforts. It was great fun and I am grateful that I'm able to run with Deirbhile and I want to keep my body in good shape so that I can continue to run until I get very old.

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Years ago if a person took up running after the age of 40, they would be considered a bit touched. Now, it is normal to see people running into their later life .

1 Running technique: To run faster and further it is vital to improve your running economy. The less energy you use up to run at a certain pace the longer you can go.

2 Stay motivated: If you are taking up running later in life, keep in mind that you are doing it for fun, for health and most of all because it's a great way to get fit.

3 Listen to your body: You can alternate running days with swimming and cycling. It's unlikely you will want to run every day, so find an alternative exercise you enjoy.

4 Rest and recovery: As we get older, rest is critical to injury prevention and performance gains. You may need two days to recover.

5 Add high intensity levels: It's important to have one high intensity workout each week. You need to work at about 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate during this session.

6 Build strength: Maintaining muscle strength can help with your running speed. All it takes is two weight-training sessions per week.

7 Stretching: Many people spend a lot of their lives sitting at desks. The idea is to get blood flowing through the connective tissues and this is best done by stretching before running and statically afterwards. It's important to be consistent with your routine.

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