Improving Your Running
Running is all about getting from point A to point B in the fastest time possible, which is why it doesn’t make sense to read those endless articles littered with technical lingo when you just want to get up and go. With that in mind, here is the solution: a list of minor running alterations which you can utilize right now without wasting any more of your time.
10 Lesser-known Tips to Follow Immediately
#1. Stop Stretching Before Your Run
Contrary to popular belief, stretching before a run has never been proven to prevent injury. To warm up, rather start with a brisk walk and gradually build up towards your run. Other recommended preparation techniques include rolling your feet on a golf ball every morning and using a foam roller to properly loosen up your thighs, calves, hamstrings, and glutes.
#2. Sync Your Stride to Your Breath
It may feel counterintuitive, but you need to slow your breathing down when you run. If you’re breathing too fast, you are not getting the CO2 completely out of your system, and end up starving your lungs. Once you’ve mastered this, count out a stepping rhythm which matches your breath, as this will help you calculate if you’re running too hard, or should be running harder.
#3. The Area of Your Foot Landing Isn’t That Important
There are plenty of examples of athletes who land on any given part of their foot, which is why you should be concentrating on your alignment instead. As long as your foot arrives directly beneath your hips with a straight spine, you are golden. Another useful trick is to quickly slap your forefoot as you touchdown, as this lessens any forceful joint impact.
#4. Know When to Run Through the Pain
As with any exercise, there are good running pains, and there are bad running pains. After a marathon, for example, it’s unreasonable to expect your legs to feel like their usual selves. The key is to know your own body, ensuring you stretch properly, reducing your speed/mileage if your parts call for it, and wearing a brace if you’re working out with bad knees. If an ache is new or persistent, then apply some ice and take a break, considering a conversation with your doctor to prevent any additional damage.
#5. Music Can Be Your Personal Trainer
By compiling a playlist of your favorite songs which subscribe to the 120 BPM rhythm (or more), you should find your feet driving themselves forward just to keep in time. For bonus pep, select songs with loud, exhilarating lyrical content to truly power yourself along.
#6. Not All Lacing is Made the Same
Everyone’s foot is different, which is why you should not simply accept any standard approach of lacing your footwear. Rather experiment with various styles, taking note of when your feet swell during a run. When in doubt, ask an expert in your local shoe shop for advice.
#7. Run in Different Directions
Why not train those often ignored muscle/tendon groups by moving sideways on a treadmill? Also, try running backward uphill to warm those hamstrings and improve your balance. Just make sure you watch out for traffic!
#8. Fueling the Body
If you have a marathon coming up, you’ll need to start preparing your diet roughly four days in advance. Don’t make the mistake of simply piling your plate with more of your usual dinner, and rather load up on carbohydrate-rich foods (pasta, bread, and potatoes) instead. You should also eat a light breakfast 2 – 3 hours before the race (like a banana or bagel) to replace any glycogen lost during the night.
#9. There’s an App for That
No matter what you’re looking to achieve, there is more than likely a running amp just waiting for you to enter its world. Want to keep a record of your runs and compare the results to your friends? Try Strava. Need help to gradually build up a routine? Try Couch to 5K. Want to track all your steps, even when just visiting the store? Try Walker. Want to follow an immersive horror story whilst collecting imaginary items? Try Zombies, Run!. Or at very least, follow other runners on social media, and get inspired by their progress.
#10. Trick Your Brain
If a run feels like the last thing you want to do today, simply manipulate your mind by refusing to think about it. Instead, put on your running gear and go for a leisurely stroll, casually testing out the notion. Joining a fun run, signing up to a marathon, or finding a jogging buddy are all clever methods to add inescapable responsibility to the exercise and remember: if a 45-minute jog sounds like your nightmare, settle for a 20 minute one. It’s much better than doing nothing at all.