How can you be good at something if you don’t know its substance? You enjoy something very much and want to invest more time in it. It gives you great emotions! But do you know it well? Do you know its building blocks and what stays behind it? When it comes to running – it is the running fitness components!

Understanding what builds a run is crucial to get a clearer picture of where you should invest your efforts. Running is a complex of different skills and abilities. You can learn a lot on this page if you think endurance alone is enough for great running! 

I call them “The Big 6”, which are:

  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Muscular fitness
  • Running form
  • Running breathing
  • Flexibility and mobility
  • Running mindset

All of these components contribute to your overall running performance. And here is my point for why you should know them. You may be putting a lot of training on one component and neglecting the others that seem unrelated. 

And this way limits your potential results.

An Example to Understand the Running Fitness Components

Let’s say you spend much time and effort building cardio endurance. Let’s imagine that each running session you do is focused on enhancing your cardio.

Then you only do a little for your muscular fitness, running form, and flexibility. At one point, you hit the ceiling of what you can get from your running by training this way – only cardio. And your progress ceases. 

graph showing the big six running fitness components and how they create your overall running performance.

That is a potential graph of your running performance. You have almost hit the maximum you can get from your “training,” which is cardio-related. At this point, you may think there is no reason to continue training and the world is unfair because you don’t progress.

But suppose you do just a little more for your muscular fitness and running form and spend most of your energy and time where you need it most: flexibility and mobility. In that case, you will skyrocket your performance with minimal effort. 

the second graph that shows the enhanced running fitness conponents and how one little change can mage big difference!

In the next few weeks, you invest where you need it most. You are much more flexible and mobile now. Your running form has improved by itself. You did just a little for your muscular fitness. And your overall confidence in yourself has increased, giving you some points for mindset.

What is the result? 50% improvement from 32 to 48! What did you do? Did you push yourself to deadly exhaustion? Did you spend more time or energy on running training? No! 

You just invested where there was a need to invest.

I call this appropriateness. When you do appropriate training, according to your current condition and needs, you always boost the running fitness components that are falling behind and improve your overall performance immensely!

That is why it is crucial to learn what builds a run and to look at yourself: what do you have in abundance, and what are you lacking. And then train where you are falling behind most. This way, you get the most progress and enhancement in your results with the least effort and training. 

Because it is much easier to raise something from 15% to 35% than from 90% to 100%.

With HomeRunningPrep, you will learn how to assess yourself and create your own graph. It is all about listening to your body and running with awareness. And then, I will give you the best exercises to boost the running fitness components that need improvement. This will happen in the other section: Exercises and Workouts

And now that you know why it is essential to know which are the building blocks of running and have an idea of which are they let’s look at each briefly to see how each enhances your running performance:

Feed You Muscles with Oxygen – Cardiovascular Endurance

You know that you need to increase your endurance to raise your running performance. But do you know that there are 2 types of endurance? And they are comparatively separate?

There is cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance. Here we talk about the former. Cardiovascular endurance is measured in how much oxygen your body can deliver to your muscles – they need it! 

And the amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles depends mainly on the work of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. You see, there isn’t anything about the legs.

Cardiovascular endurance is the main running fitness component which forms the base of your running performance

When you enhance your cardiovascular endurance, you feed your muscles with oxygen more efficiently, which means you experience the “heaviness” in your muscles later than usual in your run.

In other words, fatigue comes later, and you can run faster and longer without your legs becoming heavy too soon. You enhance your “aerobic capacity.”  It is your “VO2Max”. And it is measured in milliliters of oxygen used per kilogram of body weight in one minute.

The next thing about endurance is…

Prepare Your Legs for The Run with Muscle Fitness

The second running fitness component is muscle fitness. And it is a combination of muscular strength and muscular endurance. Here we talk all about those muscle fibers.

a man doing squats representing how you build muscular fitness

Muscular fitness is about preparing and adapting your muscles to bear the exercise you plan to do. It is all about doing the repetitive work after being fed with oxygen. 

Have you noticed when you enter an anaerobic state (when the oxygen is insufficient to feed your muscles because the intensity is too high)? Then, you start feeling your legs heavy (or losing sensitivity completely), but they still can move. It’s because of muscular endurance. 

Your movements aren’t that fresh, but you still move. Your muscles do it! That is why it is vital to train your muscle fitness – to make your muscles able to produce the movement of your run! 

The flexing of the muscles is necessary, but you will really…

Increase Your Efficiency With Proper Running Form

You can have excellent cardio endurance + fantastic muscular fitness. But what if your running form is inefficient, and you spend a lot of energy and effort to move forward. 

Then somebody who is not in perfect physical shape but has ideal running form might run faster than you at the 5k. Why? Because he is economical in his movement.

person running with proper running form for max peformance

That is what the running form does… You compose your body and your movements in a way that you utilize gravity and momentum (the laws of physics) to maintain your speed by existing forces. You don’t need to produce the whole force by your muscles.

In other words, you use gravity and momentum rather than your muscles to move forward. With your muscles, you only slightly support and maintain the speed you already have. This way, you use your muscles less and have energy and power for the final. 

We will look at the mastery of the running form and how to cheat with physics later… Now let’s see how you can…

Enhance Flexibility – Open the Stride – Rise the Speed.

You might have a lot of strength and endurance, but what if your joints can’t support the power you can input? It can’t be used… It is like a great engine on not-so-reliable construction. 

You need mobility and flexibility to make the most of your muscle and cardio capabilities. This way, you can move in a more extensive range of motion, produce longer strides and then be able to absorb those strides.

Also, when you are flexible, you reduce the risk of injuries and pain. You can truly harness all the power your muscles and heart have for you. Nothing matters if you can’t rise those knees. Stretch more – release your run – embrace the flight! 


Get the Most from Your Cardio System with Proper Breathing

Proper breathing for the cardiovascular system is the same as the running form for your muscles – it is about efficiency!

When you run with efficient running form, you make your muscles exert less. When you breathe with efficient technique, you make your heart and lungs exert less. It is that simple.

Remember that your heart and lungs are placed close to each other. And when you breathe, you expand the size of your lungs, which puts pressure on your heart. Once you learn to breathe efficiently, the pressure on the heart diminishes. But this technique will also come later.

With efficient breathing, you keep your heart rate a little lower, feed the muscles with oxygen, and welcome the fatigue at a later stage of your run, if at all. And finally…

Destroy All Mental Barriers To Utilize Your Full Running Potential! – Something Beyond the Running Fitness Components.

Everything might be right. All your preparation is ideal. All aspects of your fitness might be perfect. Your body – is prepared for the best possible performance… But what if your mind says “NO”? Then nothing else matters.

Self-sabotage is one of the most common reasons you don’t give your best. And your legs can produce the results! What is stopping you is your mind.

Your safe systems in your head are activated when you reach a certain level of perceived exertion. Your brain tells you to stop, which you should if you are not pursuing your running goal. 

But when you are after pushing the limits and giving the most your body is capable of, you need to drive through all those mind games. Your brain will tell you to stop long before you actually can’t take anymore. 

For top performance, you need to acquire Mind power.

Master The Big 6 Running Components, Make Your Best Run!

Congratulations! You learned what your run is composed of. As you can see, to make yourself capable of top running performance, it is more than repeating the casual run for 30 mins. It is about enhancing all running fitness components simultaneously.

It is a little complicated, and that is why some people run faster than others, even without dying of exhaustion during each session. The key is in the appropriateness. To enhance your weaknesses, as in the graph above. 

I advise you to examine your performance, detect where you need improvement, and train in that direction. This way, you give your body exactly what it needs to take your running to the next level.

It is not always about doing it harder. Sometimes It is about doing it smarter 😉 Enjoy your running!