Back Running versus Front Running: 2022 Tips

Back running is unorthodox but does it work? I believe anything you can do in order to outwit your competition is worth trying. In addition, learning to improve your running form is essential. The best middle to long distance runners are always working to be as effective as possible. Have you ever watched top level runners? They always look relaxed and confident don’t they? So, running backwards may be very strange at first but is a great warm-up technique.

I also advise the athletes that I coach online to warm-up by running the opposite way they usually run on the track. The reason being is you are using different muscle groups. We always are also in control of what we tell ourselves and how tense we are when we race. It is very important to stay as positive as you can through the process of getting in better shape. It takes time and an enormous amount of time to get in great anaerobic shape. Can back running help make you a better runner? Of course, use this tactic to warm-up prior to your long runs, tempo runs and track workouts.

How to Get Back Running

Remember your why. What got you out the door from the beginning? What it to lose weight? A time goal you had in mind? Were you aiming to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Perhaps, you were training to qualify for the Olympic Trials in a track or road event. The way you get back running is your goals. Remember, we can always get back to training at anytime. The roads are always open as Nike so eloquently stated in one of their commercials years ago.

I recommend in my running courses and training plans to spend 4 weeks training easy, aerobic mileage first. The reason is you strengthen the muscles, ligaments and joints of your body. You can then start working into a 16 week training plan built around your time goal. Specific training takes time to adapt to. In addition, it often times is spent running at paces that are much faster than you are aiming to race at in your chosen event. The goal with this post is to help you to get that race pace to feel more in control and less taxing on your body.

What is the Fastest Way to Get into Shape?

You can get back into running shape in a matter of weeks, aerobically. Anaerobic training takes longer but can be done relatively timely as well. You just have to be patient early on and don’t rush the process. It takes the body between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to the stress you are placing on it. So, the perks and benefits of the hard training you are doing now will be seen several weeks down the line. Again, having a belief in delayed gratification is key.

Focus first on training easy. I would recommend doing strides 2 to 3 times a week. These are short, 100 meter sprints. No, you don’t want to do the entire stride all out. You can gradually increase your speed throughout the sprint. Strides are great for acceleration drills. In addition, they help you to improve upon your running form. Again, always focus on staying as relaxed as you can.

There is no need to waste any mental or physical energy that can be better used in your race. You don’t need to be training 7 days a week either. So, start off slow. Perhaps, jogging 2 to 3 days a week for a few weeks. You can then move to 4 to 5 days for a few weeks. Lastly, work toward training the same amount of days.

How Do I Get Myself Back into Running?

Start gradual. Once you start seeing the adaptation from your training taking place then start increasing your mileage. Remember, it isn’t so much the quantity as it is the quality of the mileage you are doing. The best middle to long distance runner are heavily focused on using leverage. How many hard working people do you know who miss their athletic and personal goals. I have known many. We are taught to work hard for money and yet so few understand you don’t necessarily have to work hard for money.

Have we been taught to make money work hard for us? No. The same goes with training. So, if your weekly mileage is spent training too aerobically (with oxygen) are you going to be prepared to race at anaerobic (without oxygen) efforts? I believe doing faster, varied pace, long runs. I used this tactic and improved my marathon best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.

How does an athlete go from running a marathon at 6:14 mile pace down to 5:19 mile pace? Faster long runs. Of course, I was also doing a great deal of speed training well below 5 minute mile pace as well. That being said, doing faster long runs was a big reason I improved. Remember, I would always do the following week’s long run at jog paces. Why? Recovery. So, I always stress to my athletes to jog on their easy days.

How Long Does it Take to Get Back to Running?

It is going to depend on your level of commitment, drive and focus. You can run a few days and then take 3 weeks off. There are other athletes who are highly committed and consistent. Consistency will determine how fast you get back running. Remember, it isn’t going to fun at first getting back into running shape. That being said, there are alternatives to just running. You can also try pool running. Pool running can be easy or difficult. You can get in the deep end of a pool, put on a flotation device and pool run.

The water resistance of pool running makes it close to equivalent to land running but without the impact. So, you can alternate land running with pool running. It is also a great workout to work on your form as well. You can make pool running much more difficult simply by not wearing a flotation device. Focus on pumping your arms and kicking your feet. Yes, it can be boring. That being said, it also breaks up the same routine we do getting ready to get back into shape.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, mental training is also very important. So, see yourself performing at a high level in your mind and often. The subconscious mind will work toward your benefit based on what you are telling it to do. A major mistake runners make is focusing too heavily on physical training and bypassing what is equally as important. Mental training. The best middle to long distance runners I have trained and lived with take this very seriously.

How far are you training as well? If your longest run is 8 miles and you are training for a marathon do you think this will help? I think not. Of course, you will build some endurance but you have to lengthen that run out more toward 16 to 18 miles in length.

In addition, work to spend more time during that long run at a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate. I would aim to run around 85 percent of your maximum heart rate when you are in great anaerobic shape. Again, focus first on building easy, aerobic miles or kilometers first.

You can then start training at anaerobic efforts to improve your lactate tolerance. The goal is to slow down less than our competition when we race. Also, to sustain goal race pace for not just a portion but for the entire distance we are aiming for.

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