Previously, we gave you a rundown on how you get through the mental struggle of running, my using the art of zen running. Now that you are Zen AF while running, let us help you get through the longer runs without running out of gas. Ok, well maybe I can’t promise that, but I can give you a few tips on improving your running style, to minimize the exertion you face on each run.. it might just give you the extra puff you need to get out that last kilometre.
Breathing: Firstly, you can minimize effort by slowing and controlling your breathing and heartrate. Your breathing gets quicker because your body needs more oxygen to pump around the body to the cells. Rather than lots of shallow breathes, taking longer, deeper breathes will keep your cells fed and make you feel more in control of your run.
Head: Sounds simple, but look where you are going, especially on hills. Don’t look too far ahead, not just to help physically, but also mentally. Looking too far ahead makes it seem all the more daunting. Also try to keep your ears in line with your shoulders.
Shoulders: Keep them relaxed. Having them up around your ears causes tension; relaxing saves the energy used to keep those muscles switched on. The focus on keeping your chest forward and straight, facing the way you want to go. Swinging your shoulders left to right means the rest of your body is working harder to keep you going in the right direction.
Arms/Hands: Similar deal. Keep them facing forward, swinging forward. Elbows in. Swinging your arms helps with momentum so you need that, but focus that momentum on the forward motion, rather than to the sides. Keep your hands relaxed. Those tensed dart style fingers are for those movies, they don’t make you aerodynamic, the tension just uses up more energy than you need.
Hips: This is a tough one. Aim to keep your hips forward. This helps activate your glutes. If you don’t literally get your butt working for you, your other muscles have to work extra hard to compensate. Lean in, just a little, but from your hips not your shoulders.
Feet: Ideally, Your foot should be striking the pavement mid foot and rolling forward to push off. If that’s not your natural running style, look at getting your shoes properly fitted by an expert to help minimize injury. This also goes if you have an altered gait or cadence. If you try to change this, start slowly to avoid overuse and injury… like anything new, your body needs time to get used to it.
If you are looking to make changes to your running style, change just one thing at a time, so you can focus on getting that bit right before you change the next thing. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing, but takes practice.
Do you have any other tips for getting the most out of your running?