It doesn’t matter if you have been running for awhile or are new to the sport, here are a few tips to improve your running experience. Gradually add these tips to your workout and improve your run with each workout.
1. Check your posture. If you notice you are starting to see your feet as you run, it’s time for a posture check! Run with your head up and focus your gaze in front of you instead of down. Keep your back straight, relax your shoulders (no shrugging!) and keep them parallel to the ground.
2. Breathe deep. Oxygen keeps your muscles moving and lets you run longer. ‘Belly’ or deep abdominal breathing is the key to improving your oxygen levels during runs. Practice deep breathing by lying on the floor and placing your hand on your stomach. Feel your hand rise as you breathe deeply into your abdomen. Your belly should rise before your chest does.
3. Foot strike. Use your entire foot to propel yourself forward, but avoid landing on your heel directly. Landing mid-foot lets you use the heel to push yourself forward with the next stride as well as helping to prevent injuries.
4. Drill, baby, drill. Drills improve your form, speed or endurance. Focus on drill sets that help you with the areas you want to improve on. For instance, interval drills such as high intensity training, improve both speed and endurance. If your posture or foot strike are issues, do drills where you focus only on those things. Once you get used to how things should feel you will do them naturally.
5. Strength training. Adding a strength training routine to your overall plan helps with endurance and running economy. This training helps you use oxygen more efficiently, resulting in faster and longer lasting runs.
6. Cross-train. Try a boot camp class, go swimming or jump on your bicycle. Any of these activities use your muscles in a different way. This gives you some variety to your workouts to prevent boredom with running alone. It also challenges muscles to work in a way they aren’t used to.
Get the most from your runs and most of all, enjoy yourself.