3 Tips to Improve Your Running

Running is one of the first things people turn to when they are wanting to get fit and in shape, but so many people do it poorly.

There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from -- poor pacing, running too far, having poor technique (yes, there is a technique to running) and maybe not being in the best condition to run.

I want to give you 3 simple pieces of advice so that you can maximise your efforts and not just pound the pavement and destroy your joints.

Running can be one of the most satisfying, or most hated forms of exercise, depending on your love/hate relationship with it.

But, this can also change depending on how you actually run.

If you are a poor runner or find it quite difficult, then it's likely that you won't find as much enjoyment as someone who perhaps has better running technique than you.

With that in mind, I want to provide you with 3 quick fixes so that you can get the most out of your running and maybe, even start to enjoy it.

1. Stay tall

When you go running it's important that you have a good, upright posture. This prevents your shoulders from rounding, engaging the wrong upper back muscles to hold you up and also get enough oxygen into your working muscles.

As you fatigue, your body will want to 'fold', or start collapsing as it requires less energy.

But, this doesn't lead you to run efficiently.

Relax your shoulders,  keep your arms moving forward-backwards (NOT crossing your mid-line) and make sure that your neck isn't poking out in front of you. Stack your neck directly over your shoulders to prevent excessive tension on your neck joint.

Get tall, and stay tall when you run.  'Be Proud'

Get tall, and stay tall when you run. 'Be Proud'

2. Brace your abs

This tip is something I have been pointing out more and more to clients and with some pretty profound results.

When walking or running, you are trying to get from point A to point B either, as efficiently, or as fast as possible - which means taking the shortest distance or route.

Now, if you are running and your midsection is swaying (rotating) from side-to-side then you are at a huge disadvantage.

You have 2 things which are making running harder for you then it needs to be.

  1. You are a directing force (energy) from left-to-right, as opposed to forward (where you want to go). This wastes a lot of unnecessary energy.
  2. You are taking a slightly longer route - find the shortest route possible.

Try bracing your abs - as if about to be punched in the stomach - as you run so you can maintain firmness through your midsection and have all your energy travelling straight ahead.

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3. Run specific to your distance

Distance matters when it comes to running technique!

Sprinting mechanics are different to the mechanics of a marathon runner.

Ideally, you'll need to figure out how far you are going to be running - if you don't already know.

Second thing, what type of runner would you classify yourself as?

  • Are you a powerful, fast runner?
  • Or, are you a bit more of a slow-burner? Able to run slowly, but for a long-distance?

Below is a quick breakdown of characteristics between short and long-distance running.

SHORT distance

  • Very powerful and explosive
    • Requires a great deal of force (energy) to be directed into the ground per foot-strike. 
      • This style of running is very inefficient, meaning you use a LOT of energy in a very short amount of time.
  • Requires power and speed
    • Short distances require a lot more muscle fibres (fast-twitch) to fire and activate rapidly to propel you forward.
      • If you aren't strong, then you won't be fast! 
  • Long rest periods
    • If you are doing multiple sets of these runs (intervals), you will need medium-to-long rest periods in between your sets.
      • Shorter duration means higher intensity. Work harder (run faster) and rest longer. 
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LONG distance

  • It's all about efficiency
    • You are trying to conserve as much energy as possible from start to finish.
      • Find the method which enables your body and muscles to perform without sapping your energy stores.
  • Endurance-based
    • Long duration/distance running is about lots and lots of frequent muscle contractions (slow-twitch), rather than forceful foot-strikes.
      • Requires less maximal strength, but more muscular endurance.
  • Find your pace
    • These longer runs will respond better to a consistent pace throughout your run. You are trying to get your body to better utilise the energy that you have.
      • Regular breaths, good posture and minimal change in technique.

The last question you probably want to know the answer to is

"Which type of running is better?"

Well, that really comes down to you and your goals. Only you can decide what you want to achieve.

But, if you are interested in Fat Loss, then this article will guide you down the right type of running for you.

In parting, I would like to remind you that unless you are specifically in a running race or event, don't compare yourself to others.

Just aim to improve your running.

Until next time,

Practice your running


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