Developing running technique and capacity has a tremendous carryover into gymnastic movements and weightlifting movements. Hip flexor development, ankle mobility and stability, aggressive hip and shoulder extension, etc… are just a few of many components that will make you better on the barbell and pull up bar.
Try not to confuse running with distance running. This is a mistake often made when an athlete decides to get better with running. “Oh , I’ll just start running a few miles everyday.” Milage is not impressive. Not by itself. Mileage with a stopwatch is something to be respected but only acquired by years of training and building up to that ability. Reaching for veteran distances leads to injury, frustration and eventually quitting. Start small and start correct.
I always teach sprint technique first because it is easier for a beginner to learn and the mechanics translate into longer runs like the 400 meter. By short runs, I mean 100 feet and then 50 meters and so on. The incorporation of technical drills and coaching mechanics is paramount to becoming an effective runner. I’ll often take an athlete through one drill five times before practicing a single short run. It’s more necessary to dial in the drill than the run. Once the drill is correct we can aim to apply the drill into the next run. Then repeat the drill and run at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio until it feels natural. This may take a dozen or two dozen sets so yes you can achieve an effective workout by practicing drills and performing short runs.
It’s important to time runs. Wear a watch or have a phone timer visible at the end point. You’ll want to keep track of how long a run takes, even in metcons because you will want to see consistency and get to know your tendencies. For example, you may hit the wall when running is coupled with overhead squats. Or the combination of running with pull ups kills your ability to swing your arms and thus your hips, so you may have to trod along. This too has a solution. Practice said movement at the top or bottom of your run repeats.
Practicing running repeats 1-2 times a week will have a dramatic impact on your fitness. The practice will improve your ability so you won’t hate it as much and then eventually like it. Start with 50m sprint repeats, progress to 100m and so on until you can repeat four 400m runs while maintaining the same time each effort. Resting between run efforts should start at 2:00. When you can maintain run times reduce rest times by :30. You know it is time to increase run distance when your run times are staying consistent with :30 of rest between them. When you can repeat 400m runs with :30 of rest you know you have developed fairly respective run capacity. you can look at two things at this point.
Option 1 decrease your 400m times by improving 50m, 100m and 200m runs. That is done by improving sprint technique and power, most effectively by increasing strength through weightlifting.
Option 2 improve endurance by continuing to increase distance each time rest is decreased to :30.
The majority of the time I recommend option 1, because improvements in short running lead to fitness gains in other areas. There is also reduced wear and tear with less mileage, decreasing the likelihood of an overuse injury. The increase in power means you will not only improve your endurance but also your strength. Leading to a more well rounded and balanced fitness for yourself overall.