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Certain techniques can make you a better runner in a short span.
You run. OK, sometimes you walk, but at least you're exercising whether you cover a mile in six minutes or 12. But perhaps that run has grown stale. It's drudgery. A fresh approach is in order, one that maintains interest, motivation and makes you a better runner. It might be as simple as finding a partner to enjoy the camaraderie of the sport or a change in courses, but rapid improvement is within reach.
Hold Your Head Up
Standing tall is the best way to run. If you lean too far forward, it can slow you down by limiting arm movement. Proper running angle is key to faster times. In other words, don't slouch when you run. Concentrate on a balanced, upright position and you're on your way to faster times. If you're not sure whether you're running the proper way, try to give yourself visual feedback by running past something that's reflective.
Not only can strength training benefit your overall fitness level, it can improve your balance and coordination. Stamina comes from running, but there are exercises that you can do to become a stronger runner. Pushups, pullups and dips help to strengthen your upper body, while standing squats, lunges and calf raises help the lower body. Do one set of each three times a week.
Mix It Up
If you want to go faster, there's a need for speed in your two-week period. That means interval training -- high-intensity exercise combined with low-intensity recovery. You have two options when crafting a plan to improve your pace in two weeks. One method is to do a 30-second sprint. After a warm-up that includes arm swings, trunk rotations and jogging in place -- with high knees and with butt kicks -- sprint all-out for 30 seconds followed by three minutes of rest. Repeat this drill five or six times. The other option, following the warm-up, is to run at a fast pace for about a minute then jog or walk for about 30 seconds. Repeat this five times.
Visualize, Visualize, Visualize
You have 14 days to improve your time. Visualization exercises can help. In a relaxed atmosphere, imagine yourself in an environment running faster. Picture your surroundings and other runners, details that you normally wouldn't focus on. Just as golfers and baseball players commit their swings to muscle memory, do the same thing with your running -- mentally train your muscles. It's important to do this before, during and after training runs.