Running Tips

Running Tips

8 things you can do to improve your run times, increase your distance, and prevent injury.

These 8 simple running tips will help to maximize your running experience and results.

These 8 simple running tips will help to maximize your running experience and results.

Running is a great way to lose weight, improve cardiovascular health, and gain muscular endurance, especially when incorporated into a strength training program.

However, running is also a high impact exercise and while not only difficult for some, can potentially result in injury if not executed correctly.

The following running tips provide a good starting point for those new to running, but also provides great reminders that will benefit veteran runners as well.

Remember before you hit the pavement or the trails, be safe and have fun!

Running Tip #1. Find the Right Running Shoe

Though there is a debate over the benefits between different types of running shoes, one thing stays the same; if you use shoes, buy a pair that is meant for running.

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There are several different shoe stores designed to find customers the perfect shoe. Everyone has different running mechanics and therefore there are several different types of shoes.

A great way to test shoes is to run in them. Runners will spend most of the day in a shoe store testing shoes for one goal; finding a comfortable shoe.

Don’t be afraid to run throughout the store in order to test a pair of shoes. We all do it.

Barefoot Running Tip: Barefoot Running is a completely different style of running and requires months of training to reach distances you may already be used to in shoes. Although barefoot running may be very enjoyable or beneficial to some, be sure to do your research prior to switching to a minimalist or barefoot approach to running.

#2. Run Quietly

Running is a high impact sport. It causes stress on your lower limbs and can cause several injuries especially if improperly performed. Most of the injuries can be attributed to the impact absorbed by the lower limbs when the feet strike the ground.

In order to minimize the shock created in your running, try running as silently as possible. This will force your muscles to slow your feet down just prior to striking the ground and reduce the shock absorbed by your bones and hard tissue. This is one running tip you definitely do not want to avoid.

#3. Pretend There is a Ceiling Just Above Your Head

Another running tip good for reducing the shock created in each step is to prevent the hopping motion that increases the distance the foot has to fall in each step. Pretend there is an invisible ceiling just above your head with each step.

Run as level as possible and force your leg muscles to move you through each step. This rule will help you run more quietly and reduce impact. Upon implementing this rule of running, you will notice that your muscles will have to work harder to keep up.

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Once your muscles develop and grow, you will notice that you will be able to run faster and longer without injuring your limbs.

If you currently have an injury such as shin splints or knee pain, you may find that by using this tip your body will naturally begin to heal.

#4. Maintain Good Posture

Like a building, your body needs a solid foundation in order to prevent too much pressure on any specific area. Your body is most comfortable in a straight upright position.

Use your foundation to spread the absorption of the impact of each step.

When you slouch, you prevent the shock from being able to spread any further than your hips which forces your lower limbs to absorb the total stress created with each step.

When you pull your body upright, you open your lungs, use your hips for proper form, and spread the shock of each impact over a larger area which prevents stress injuries.

Another good running tip that will prevent hunching is to look forward when running and to occasionally take a deep breath to force your body to open up and become upright.

#5. Relax Your Hands and Shoulders

Running long distances requires a significant amount of energy. Don’t waste the limited amount of energy your body can create by tightening up the muscles in your upper body.

Don’t forget to relax and let your leg muscles and momentum of your upper body do the work. Naturally swing your upper arms but keep your hands low and loose. Don’t let your shoulders pull up towards your ears or hunch forward.

When your muscles tense, they expend energy and cause unneeded stress. Prevent this by occasionally shaking your hands loose and rolling your shoulders back while running.

#6. Breath Normally (As Possible)

Your body needs oxygen to work aerobically and create more energy. When you start breathing harder, your body is telling you that you need more oxygen to hold a certain pace. If you start to lose your breath then you need to slow down in order to keep running.

Beginner runners may often feel that they can’t run longer than short distances because they keep “running out of gas.” Most often their body is capable of running longer distances, however, they need to slow down their pace in order to maintain normal breathing.

When beginning a running program, maintain a pace that still allows for talking (but not singing). You will find that you can run for longer distances at that pace. It may help to really focus on your breathing matching your inhalation with your exhalation. (i.e. in two breaths, out two breaths; or 10 secs inhale, 10 secs exhale; etc.)

#7. Warm Up, Then Stretch

Another reason why runners get injured is because they try to go at full intensity before preparing their muscles for the work.

Warm Up Then Stretch

This can cause unnecessary strains and tears in the muscles or tendons.

Warming up your muscles both brings your body up to an appropriate temperature and increases blood flow to the working body parts.

Warm up with a 5-10 minute light jog then lightly stretch all working muscles.Do not stretch cold muscles.

By warming up your muscles prior to stretching, you will be able to stretch further. Only hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds and do not stretch to the point of pain.

Stretching is only needed in order to prevent strains during long or quick strides.

It is not really needed prior to completing an easy paced run. However you do want to stretch after every workout in order to increase flexibility and recovery blood flow.

#8. Give Your Body Adequate Time to Recover

A major reason for both injury and lack of progression in any sport is over training. Your body needs enough time to recover in between each intense workout.

Your body is designed to repair itself and become stronger to accommodate the increased intensity; however, these gains never come quickly.

If you notice that you are not increasing in speed or distance as you should, you may be overtraining. Decrease either your exercise intensity or amount of training days in order to allow your body to catch up.

#Most Important Running Tip: Never begin a running or workout program without first seeking advice from your doctor. Tips on this page are generated from personal experience with running and are not necessarily going to meet the needs of every individual style, nor are they meant in any way to replace medical advice. As always, be sure to seek your doctor's approval prior to beginning any new exercise program.

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