How do you train to your fullest potential in running?
A big key to training to your fullest potential is to only have two or three days per week where you are running at your maximum speed. The other training days should have slow, easy runs and slow, longer runs. If you run at your fastest speed every single time that you train, you will find that you are actually over-training and not giving your body time to recover. I am a firm believer in the long, slow run each week. When I run my longest run of the week, I have the mind-set that I am in it to just go as far as I have planned in my training plan. I am not trying to break any speed records. I want to give my body time to adjust to the new, longer distance. I also only add one to two miles per week to my long runs, and one week each month, I back off on my mileage. An example would be this for my long runs for a month: 10 miles, 12 miles, 14 miles, and 10 miles. Then the next month, I would pick back up with 15 miles, 17 miles, 19 miles, and 12 miles. This way, I am progressing in my mileage, but I am also giving my body time to adjust and recharge.
I train year-round in the outdoors. That means that I have hot, sweaty runs in the summer, and I have some pretty cold runs in the winter. This helps keep me at peak performance for running and racing outside any time of the year. Another way to help me train to my fullest potential is to change the running surfaces when I train. Sometimes a race may take you through more than one type of surface during the course of the race. I run on pavement, asphalt, gravel, dirt, and trails with lots of hills and roots. This gives me time to work on my pace and breathing while running on different surfaces.
Hill training also helps you run to your fullest potential. Hill training is not fun. Hill training is not easy. Hill training is slow. Hill training will make you a better runner. You will be stronger. You will be able to run faster. You will be able to run longer. What you have to figure out in hill training is how to hold your body properly, so that you do not get injured or strain yourself. You can watch videos online that will show you proper and improper form for running hills. Hill training has helped me run better and faster.