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The best running tips

  • 6 min read

Running can be done anywhere, at anytime, and it’s free! Here are a few tips to make your running easier:

1. Start slow

Then pick up the pace as you get warmer. For most runners, a slow paced first mile is regarded as enough to prepare the body for the exertion it is about to undergo.

2. Shorter strides

Practice running at a higher cadence, or more strides per minute, without changing your pace. This will help you run more efficiently and make your runs feel easier. These quicker, shorter strides will force you to use a whole new set of muscles, so it’s to be expected that you’ll feel less efficient until your body and muscles adjust. But it’ll be worth it, when you’re running injury-free, and tackling distances you’ve never before thought possible.

3. Learn how to breathe right

You should always breathe in and out primarily through your mouth when running. Feeding your muscles the oxygen they need is of paramount importance when you’re running, and breathing through the mouth is the most effective way to inhale and exhale oxygen.

Typically, you’ll find that a 3:3 rhythm (three steps – one with your left, one with your right, one with your left – while breathing in) works best for warm-ups and most easy paced days. This allows plenty of oxygen to be inhaled through the lungs, processed, and then exhaled with relative ease.

Runs harder than an easy run, but not all out race efforts, should typically be performed at a 2:2 ratio (two steps – one with your left, one with your right – while breathing in, two steps – one with your left, one with your right – while breathing out). A 2:2 breathing rhythm enables you take about 45 breaths per minute, which is perfect for steady state, tempo runs, and marathon pace runs.

Push your chest forward

When running, try to imagine you are being led by your chest. This reduces the chances of you running with your shoulders hunched over, which makes it harder for you to breathe properly, while putting strain on the neck.

4. Eat more

Many people don’t eat enough to support their running habit. You’ll want to eat enough so you don’t get fatigued or feel faint toward the end of your run, but don’t use running as an excuse to eat everything in sight. Unless you’re a high-mileage runner, your daily calorie needs aren’t going to be dramatically higher than a non-runner’s.

What is the best thing to eat before a run?
Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-grain bread (360 calories). Eat this 60 to 90 minutes before your workout. All the ingredients provide carbs for energy. The peanut butter offers extra protein to fend off hunger and the banana provides potassium to help stave off muscles cramps.

What is the best thing to eat after a run?
Within an hour of finishing your run (and ideally within 30 mins), you should refuel with a snack, it will help minimize muscle stiffness and soreness . You’ll want to consume primarily carbs, but don’t ignore protein. A good rule of thumb for post-run food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Nutrition bars are healthy options.

5. Stretching, warm-up and cool-down

Static stretching is not the optimal way to warm-up before you run. Instead, focus on getting oxygen to your muscles and warm them up. Start out by walking and trotting: swing your arms; shrug your shoulders and slowly elevate your heart rate for about 10 minutes before your run. Engage in static stretching after your run, when your muscles are very warm and full of oxygen and nutrients, focus on your leg, hip, and low-back muscles.

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6. Follow the 10% rule

The 10-percent rule (10PR) is one of the most important and time-proven principles in running. It states that you should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent over the previous week.

If you increase your distance too quickly you are prone to overuse injuries. They occur when you run too much or increase your weekly training program too quickly.

Follow the 10PR, and your body gets stronger and fitter. If you’re running 10 miles a week now, and you want to increase your training, run 11 miles next week. And 12 the week after that. And 13 the week after that. This may look like slow progress, but in just 8 to 10 weeks, you could be running 20 miles a week.

Listen to music while you run

Whether it is rock or classical, music can help motivate you to keep going, while distracting you from any tiredness that you may feel. Studies found that music reduces your perception of how hard you are running by about 10 percent. An external stimulus such as music can actually block some of the internal stimuli trying to reach the brain—such as fatigue-related messages from muscles and organs. When these messages are blocked, this reduces a runner’s perception of effort, so you feel like you can run farther, faster.

7. Wear the right running shoes

There’s no single ‘best shoe’ – everyone has different needs. All sorts of things - your biomechanics, your weight, the surfaces you run on, and the shape of your feet - mean that one person’s ideal shoe can be terrible for another person.

The best way to learn about your running style is to have a gait assessment at your local running store. Their members of staff will be able to assess your running style and advise you on which shoes are suitable.

Top 4 shoe-buying mistakes:
1. Don’t buy for the look - when you buy, think feel and fit, not fashion.
2. Buying shoes that are too small - tight-fitting shoes lead to blisters and black toenails.
3. Assuming your size - have your feet measured every time you buy, and always try the shoes on for fit.
4. Not running testing the shoes before buying.

8. Weight Training & Hills

Having strong leg muscles - specifically the quads and core - will make running feel like a breeze. The quadriceps are key to lifting your legs off the ground.

Squatting can help runners to improve mobility, putting your joints in a more stable, strong position while you run. Try squatting with your feet shoulder-width apart, while your behind is just above the floor, a couple of times a day, for a minute at a time.

Another way to incorporate leg-strengthening work is by adding hills. Running uphill will feel incredibly challenging, but as soon as you get to the top and start running on a flat surface, you’ll be amazed at how much easier running feels.

9. Look Ahead

Keeping your eyes focused on a target in front of you can actually make your runs seem shorter and easier, according to research from New York University. You’ll likely perceive your target as closer in distance than you would have if you were taking in everything else around you.

10. Dress Comfortably

Running is hard enough without a bra strap digging into your side or blisters forming between your toes. Take some time to find quality, sweat-wicking workout gear that makes you feel both physically and mentally comfortable.

Run with a partner or a group

While some people prefer to run alone, for others a running buddies can help make running a much more enjoyable experience. A running buddy also helps make sure you run – even if you don’t enjoy it at the time.

Drink Up

Learn how much water you need to drink while running. Dehydration is serious stuff and can make running miserable. Sweating out even two percent of your body’s weight can wreck your physical performance—not to mention cause cramps, dizziness, and fatigue.

Bring a water bottle with you for shorter runs, and consider a sports drink if you’re going for a long run. Try to make sure you take a drink every 15 minutes or so.

Take Time to Recover

Scheduling recovery workouts and rest days into your schedule will actually help those hard days seem a little less difficult. Your muscles need time to recoup.

Run on soft ground

If you can, try to run on soft ground. Running can cause problems for your joints, and a great way to reduce that risk is running on softer ground so your knees get a break.

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