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Running Right

Run faster, better, longer, safer.

Running is one of the easiest ways to get in your daily 30 minutes of exercise. It requires no special equipment, and you can do it anywhere you find yourself. However, to get the best workout, you’ve got to do it right. Grab your running shoes, your favorite shorts, and have a seat. It’s time for a brief refresher in running that’ll have you running faster, better, longer, and safer than ever before.

Warmer Legs

Any time you start exercising without warming up, you put yourself in harm’s way. As you may guess, this is also true for running. Before going full force on the trail, sidewalk, or treadmill, take a little time to get your leg muscles warmed up nice and slow. A great way to do this is to walk for a minute or two, go into a light jog, and work your way up to the top speed you want to use most of your time running. Also, when you’re done running, don’t stop cold turkey. Walk it off for a few minutes to allow your body to cool down in the safest way possible.

Relax – It’s Just Running

When you’re trying to push your body to superhuman speeds, you may find yourself tensing every muscle in your body in an effort to muscle your way across the finish line. But you may want to change your tense-running ways. One of the tricks to running fast is learning to relax. Start out by sitting in front of a mirror and letting your entire face go loose. Pay attention to how your face looks and feels. The next time you go running, take a quick peek in the mirror before heading out the door and remember to keep loose while running, and you’ll feel better during and after your run, while keeping yourself from many bothersome injuries that are more common when you’re tense.

I always loved running. It was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs. – Jesse Owens

Listen to Your Body

Just like every other workout routine, you should pay close attention to what your body is saying when you’re out for a run. If you feel your body is about to collapse during a run, it’s time to stop. Instead of pushing yourself over the point of no return, stop running when your body tells you to, and increase your running distance gradually. If you do it right, you should be able to increase your total running distance by 50 percent every four weeks until you hit your maximum running distance.

Pick up the Pace

Plan on getting in on the next big race in your community? You’ve got to pick up the pace in your own workout. After all, if you don’t make yourself run fast during your workouts, you’re not going to be able to run fast in a race. A great way to determine if you’re increasing your speed is to count how many times your right foot hits the ground each minute and work to increase that number. A good goal is 80 touches a minute, though it may take a while to get there.

Toes and Hands

To get the most effective push forward when running, use the big toe on each foot to catapult your weight. Doing this will move you faster and help your heels avoid some of the abuse that is often the result of frequent running. At the same time you’re pushing ahead with your toes, make sure your arms are moving in the right direction: directly in front of you. Though you may naturally swing your arms left to right, doing this causes your entire body to turn with each step, resulting in extra energy being used and less energy being saved up to help you in the final leg of the race.

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