Going for a run is probably one of the most popular ways to get your workout on, whether it’s hitting the roads or jumping on a treadmill when the weather’s gross outside. If you sometimes find running a little tedious, why not challenge yourself to go faster or further?
Here are our top tips to turn up the notch during your run.
1. To the gym
Weight training could make you a better runner. A Norwegian study found that resistance training three times a week for eight weeks significantly improved running efficiency and endurance in well-trained, long-distance runners.
2. Uphill battle
Want to conquer the hills? To race uphill, run with a short stride while pushing off the balls of your feet and pumping your arms. Then relax your arms and use a longer stride to go downhill.
3. Ready, set, splash!
Getting wet could make you a better runner. Swimming increases your upper body strength, making your runs more efficient, while aqua jogging mimics your usual movement sans impact – reducing the risk of injury.
4. Bright idea
‘Watch your stance when running,’ tips Fitness First trainer Bobby Hall. ‘Leaping forward and striding too far will drain your energy fast. Instead, make sure you stand tall and lean slightly forward, so when you feel like you’re going to fall, you step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride.’
5. Take five
Listen to your body! If you’re feeling under the weather or if your body is sore and ready for a rest, take a recovery day. Only you know if those aches and pains are from a good run or the sign you need to rest.
6. Sand storm
Here’s a good excuse to book a beach getaway – running on sand can improve your speed and muscle tone. A study from St Luke’s University Clinic in Belgium found that pounding the sand requires 1.6 times more energy than running on pavements as your body has to work harder to deal with the soft, unstable surface. That adds up to more defined muscles and a swifter run when you get back to solid ground. Neat!
7. Fuel Time
What you eat before your run is important to help you stay fueled and keep your energy up. Use the following handy guide to see what you should have before.
8. Proper Breathing
Better breathing means getting more oxygen flowing to your muscles as the workload increases, which decrease fatigue during your run (and less fatigue means better performance and longer running time). To improve your breathing, use these 2 methods:
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as though blowing through a straw. This keeps the flow slow and steady.
- Focus on your breathing and let it be natural.
9. Drink up
Hydration is key for runners, but plain old water is best if you’re only doing short runs. Upgrade to a sports drink if you’re running for longer than an hour to help shuttle glucose to your muscles and combat fatigue.