Tips to improve your running

I’m lately really starting to get back into my running groove. For a while there, I had been running but mainly sticking to lower impact forms of cardio because I’ve been trying to take it easier on my knees the past few months. Man oh man, does it ever feel great to be doing the thing that I love so much so regularly again!

With the more consistent runs, I have also been trying to remind myself of the tips I’ve learned over the course of many years of being in this sport. I have gone to running clinics and had running coaches, as well as learned a lot from myself just from pure experience.

I’d love to take some time now to share with you some of the best running tips that I can give you to improve your speed, endurance and to lower the chances of injury!

tips to improve running

With each step, land your foot directly underneath your body. Over-striding or landing your foot in front of your body adds extra stress and impact to the body. With each step, your foot should land underneath your hips!

Get your cadence to about 180 steps per minute. To go along with the previous tip, try to get your cadence to about 180 steps or 90 strikes per foot per minute. Runners with a cadence of about 180 are more likely to have short, quick strides, which means we are having a mid foot strike rather than over-striding!

Run light on your feet! Try to avoid pounding! I made this mistake for the longest time. By the end of a long run, the bottoms of my feet would feel as though they were burning, bad sign!

Lean slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist. Lean forward and use gravity to help make some forward momentum! This will help you to propel your body forward. It is especially helping to do this when going downhill as well during races.

Avoid swinging your hands cross your midline. Keep your arms going forward and backward, not side to side. Drive your elbows back while keeping your arms at about a 90 degree angle. This technique will also help you with the following tip…

Run TALL! When I feel like I am starting to hunch over, I love to reach my arms up high above my head. This resets my body and helps me to elongate my spine! The more core work that I do outside of running, the easier it is for me to keep great posture and to avoid hunching over throughout my run!

Get rid of the bounce. Bouncing as you run wastes extra energy! Move forward instead of up and down.

Relax your shoulders! I tend to tense them up towards my ears as I am running. You’ll feel the pain in your upper back when you start to do this during longer runs.That is a waste of energy, and it causes extra unneeded tension!  Relax your shoulders and let them enjoy the ride!

Relax your hands. Don’t clench them tightly. Gently cup your hands as you run.

Keep your eyes looking ahead of you about 10 to 20 feet.

I like to spend each mile of my ‘form runs’ (the runs where I really focus in on my form each week) on a different aspect. For example, on your next run, you could spend mile 1 warming up, mile 2 working on leaning forward from your ankles, mile 3 on your arm swing, mile 4 on your posture and mile 5 on combining all of them together for some good looking running.

Music This one is a personal, but can be helpful to many! I have noticed that my speed and endurance actually increases when I’m listening to some upbeat tunes that I love, not to mention it adds some entertainment to the run and can make it seem less daunting and more enjoyable!

Motivation Monday

“80 percent of success is showing up” – Woody Allen

This really applies to exercise. Most of the time it’s just getting out the door that is the biggest challenge.

if-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it motivation

I woke up this morning with zero motivation. To get out of bed, let alone wake up, get dressed and get out for a 20km run!!
Some days are just SO HARD to get yourself to do anything! We all experience it, but it’s important that we challenge this feeling with ways to push ourselves and motivate ourselves to get going.

Over the years, I have come up with my own methods of coping with this feeling and pushing through:

I literally talk to myself. I say “Okay, time to get up and get on with your day!”

– I just JUMP out of my bed as soon as my alarm comes on. Just don’t even let one thought enter your head, otherwise you’ll bog yourself down.

– I think of the delicious food that I will eat afterward (Sounds pretty ridiculous but it works fabulously for me, food is a major motivator hehe)

Think of the way exercising makes me feel during and afterward. It’s really quite liberating. And the natural ‘high’ it provides you with all day long is SO worth it, making me much more productive and friendly and all those great things. Similarly, thinking of the way that I feel when I DON’T workout is motivation enough. I always get that ‘yuck’ feeling when I skip a scheduled time for fitness.

Have fun!! Exercise should always be looked at as a fun activity that is for YOU. If you’re always dreading sweating, it’s going to make for a terrible workout. If running isn’t for you, find an activity that is. As long as you’re moving then it’s good for you! Or grab a buddy! Or even make an awesome playlist and dance your buns off!

Think of the fitness and health goals you have for yourself. For me, my ‘goal’ is to simply live a healthy lifestyle that makes me feel good and capable of doing all the things I want to do in life.

Make your fitness public. Share your goals with friends, brag about reaching your goals, or talk about it on a blog or using one of your fitness apps such as ‘MapMyFitness’. If you tell people thatyou’re going to do something, you’re much more likely to do it.

There’s so many ways to motivate yourself. Now that I have shared some of my favourite methods, I would love to hear what YOU do so perhaps I can borrow these methods for my future fitness endeavours!

Have a wonderful day 🙂