Running is for everyone. We may not all run the same, we may not all speed passed in a flash of flouro and we may not ever conquer the marathon distance. But all of these things are forgetting why we run: to feel free, to feel good and to benefit from running in the way that suits us.
So, as a start to a series of articles on running from a life-long runner, here are five tips for easier running, so stepping out onto the bitumen, forest path or beach will always feel more pleasure than chore.
Relax your face
An overlooked aspect of running technique: the face! We all know how much easier it is to breath, relax and enjoy something if we don’t cramp up our face into an image of concentration or, worse, anticipation of a struggle!
Putting attention on relaxing our faces – even running with the hint of a smile – will do wonders for creating a positive attitude. It also helps with an easy breath flow and reminds other body parts to relax, like our shoulders which rise up to our ears with tension. All in all making our action smoother and running easier.
Check your posture
Running in cities allows you three positives: Changes of pace as you dart through crowds and across crossings; practice of concentration as the distractions all around make you work on focussing on yourself and your running technique; and big shop windows to check you’re posture.
Simply put, you should aim to run with the skeleton in vertical alignment with no awkward crooked angles. This skeleton leans forward, causing you to fall, which is the basis of running. So check it out, stand straight, loose and slightly forward leaning. Proof of its simplicity, truly running is for everyone!
Step more, speed less
The speed you run at is unimportant. If you spend your whole time sprinting then you’ll never run for long enough to work the aerobic system, which is the one most of us should access on our run. As a check, try breathing through your nose and if you can’t slow down a bit.
To help this, concentrate not on speed or distance but how many steps you’re taking. This is called your cadence and you should aim to get somewhere between 75-85 footfalls per foot per minute (a footfall is every time a foot hits the ground). So forget about speed and concentrate on learning to run more efficiently – a faster route to happier, easier running!
All together now!
Once you’re off and running, check that all the body parts are heading in the same direction. In order to run easily we should look to have all moving parts moving in the saggital or vertical plane. Imagine a wheel that runs over the top of your head, down in front of you, under you feet and up the back – like a hamsters wheel.
All our movements should aim to travel in this direction, i.e., where we’re headed! Any movement in other directions is just wasted energy and stops you running as far as you could.
No seriously, I think the worst thing we can do is get stuck in a groove of running particular routes. So every now and again turn the other way at a junction and get a bit lost. Lose how far you’ve run and just run until you get back home.
It does wonders to switch off habits of how fast you can run and makes you learn how to be more efficient. I once went for a thirty minute run and came back nearly two hours later! It was great as I got the chance to learn far more about what I was doing and how to be more efficient!
Try these points out and if you have feedback on them, comment below! Happy running!