Running is one of the most simple and easiest ways to get a good cardio workout. Just pull on your trainers and step outside the door, right? But if you ever feel like you’re working way too hard for way little return, or your motivation just isn’t where it used to be, it could simply mean you need a few technique tweaks to get you oiled up and back on the road.
Here are 5 top running tips that will get Forest Gump more than a little worried.
Less is more
The greater the load on your feet, the greater the likelihood of injury or shin splints. Instead of loading up through the knees and shins, try and focus on running lightly and landing quietly to reduce any stress on bones, muscles and joints. A good way to practise soft running is to grab a skipping rope and land very lightly as if the ground is thin ice.
Everyone has a different running gait, and what works well for one may not for another. The mid-foot strike is the most neutral of all foot strikes and the least likely to cause any related injuries such as shin splints (heel strike) or ankle/knee issues (forefoot strike). The movement is generated from your hips and glutes with a forward/backwards arm swing to help propel you forwards. Aim for a cadence of 180-190 steps per minute.
Form is king
Try to relax your upper body, lift your chest and keep your shoulders back and down. Your head should be stacked directly above your spine and neck. All of this will encourage your foot to land under your body and negate any lower back pain should your shoulders hunch over. As your speed and endurance increase you may find your body leans more in to the run to generate the forward energy.
It’s easy to feel like you’re never getting any better at running. One way to make noticeable gains is to build up your running distance by including one long run each week that you can maintain with conversation. The second method is to incorporate sections of time while running that take you just outside of your comfort zone. Both methods will reap tangible rewards.
Switch it up
Everyone can get stuck in a running rut and that’s when your motivation truly sinks. To get yourself back up and out again find out what works for you, whether that’s setting a goal, finding a new running buddy, pumping out a new playlist or exploring a different running route. A change is as good as a rest, so don’t be afraid to mix it up and get the spice back in to your running life.