While going for a run might seem like a simple, natural task with no running manual required, there’s more to tying up your laces and hitting the pavement than you think.
Going for a run has a multitude of benefits. It can improve cardiovascular health, build stronger bones, tone muscles, relieve stress and promote weight loss. However, if you don’t run properly, you can fall victim to one of its many downfalls – such as aches, strains, sprains, injuries, or worse still, you might lose your love for running.
You can restore your running technique with these top tips. They will help you to avoid setbacks and ensure you get the most out of every hilly endeavour.
- Warm-up – Before you set off on your run, spend 5-10 minutes preparing your body. Start your blood flowing with a short, slow jog and then do a few light stretches to really warm up. If you stretch cold muscles, your chances of doing damage increase. Always be careful not to overstretch.
- Maintain good posture as you run – If you hold your head above your spine, you will be more inclined to straighten your body and run more upright. This will make you move more efficiently and can also reduce the likelihood of back and neck muscle soreness.
- Think about where your feet land – To minimise jarring, try not to land on your heel or your toes, instead try to land mid-foot and roll your foot forward to push back off again. This typically places the least amount of pressure on your ankles and knees.
- Engage your core – If you try pulling your belly button in towards your spine, you will tilt your hips and pelvis into a better position and utilise your abdominal muscles. This will help release pressure on your lower back – and might even tone your tummy!
- Remember to relax – People tend to tense their bodies whilst running, bunching up their arms and shoulders and tightening their neck and jaw. This tends to put more pressure on your legs and knees. The best way to relax your body is to occasionally shake out your hands, arms, shoulders and neck as you run along.
- Add weight training to your program – Doing a few weight-based exercises each week will strengthen your muscles, which in turn will enable you to run faster and longer while holding better posture.
- Use a foam-roller – Foam bolsters are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. Muscles tend to tighten up after you run and with little blood flow going through them you will end up feeling stiff. The best way to overcome this is by rolling each muscle out with a foam roller to loosen the tissue and allow blood to flow more easily. Foam rolling not only helps recovery but can also prevent injuries occurring.