Running is a phenomemal exercise, whether you do it to lose weight or fitness, or just for the love of running, and its therapeutic effects. You’ve probably read up on the basic tips for running. But here, we’re going to give you some uncommon tips on running that can only come from experience of having logged in the miles. Nevertheless, effective:
Relax your muscles: While running, your body goes under stress, so its natural for your jaw to tighten up, for your shoulders to scrunch up, and other such stress reactions. What this does is that it spoils your posture, which in turn makes your body movement less efficient. Lower efficiency leads to your body needing to work harder to do the same work. That lower efficiency in movement leads to a slower running pace in the long run.
So, keep your jaw loose, keep your shoulders down and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.
Consciously keep the stress out of your body, and see yourself improve running form, and run faster & efficiently.
Wear good & big running shoes: When you run, you put stress on all your muscles, speciallly those in your foot. To improve performance, your body makes those muscles expand, that allows increased blood flow to those regions under stress. As a result, your feet expand when you run. If you buy shoes that are just a little larger than your feet (slightly longer and wider than your feet), it will give them space, and you’ll run better. Restricted feet leads to curled toes and less efficient running. So, be nice to your feet, if you want to run well.
Keep it loose: Keeping up with the theme of reducing muscle tension while you run, don’t clench your fists too tightly while running. Keep it like a cupped hand, as if you were holding an egg in each palm, that you don’t intend to crush. It will help keep your body relaxed, and improve performance.
No time, no problem: Everyone is busy, but don’t let that come in the way of your running. If 20 minutes is all you have, still run. 20 minutes of running is better than not running at all.
Run against the flow: This one is key for those runners who run on streets or places where there is a significant traffic flow. Running against the flow of traffic keeps you in command. You can see on-coming traffic, and move accordingly. This is specially important in countries like India, where there are plenty of hazards while running on the roads. See running tips & hazards in India.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate: Water is the lifeline of any process in your body. It is also the medium that your body uses to deliver nutrition to your muscles, or to produce energy in the cells that powers your ability to run. So, when your body starts running low on water levels, it diverts water to the most important processes in the body- that focus on survival. And physical work (in this case, running) is not as important to survival as digestion, blood flow, etc. So, less than optimum hydration will affect your performance, besides increasing the risk of muscle cramps. In extreme cases of low hydration, vision may be impaired. So, at all times be completely hydrated.
Only the right liquids: Hydrates with water. Alcohol is not your friend, when you’re trying to improve running performance. Alcohol dehydrates your body i.e. it lowers your body’s natural hydration levels, so if you care about running performance, you should keep the alcohol intake in check- definitely on the day of the run, but even on the day before. Beyond affecting fitness levels, alcohol has its share of side effects.
Lace it up: Make sure your shoes laces are double knotted. While running long distances, the repeated impact on the shoe and its laces reduces the tension in the lace knot. Typically when you run long distances, single knotted laces often get untied. So make sure you double knot them. Further, take the loose ends of your laces can be inserted in & around your shoes, to avoid them ever coming in the way. This is very important if you have longer laces in your shoe. They can sometimes come under your shoe and get untied. Or worse, trip you. So, keep them tight, knotted & under control.
And last but not the least, relax when your body feels tired and sluggishAuthor Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo