Running is popular for a reason! It’s a form of exercise that you can take with you practically anywhere. With the right gear and a few key tips, you can maximize your running experience and see great results. These will not only improve your fitness, but also help to clear your mind, reduce stress and feel better overall.
As with any exercise routine, variation is the key to success. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned runner, try these tips to vary your routine and keep your body in the best shape.
1. Run short intervals.
Running short intervals is one of the most effective ways to increase your overall speed. Mixing this approach into your running routine can also help to build strength and endurance.
The key to interval training is minimizing recovery time, allowing your heart rate to come down just enough to tackle the next interval again. Each period of time that you spend running, you’ll want to give a maximum effort. All you need is a timer app to keep you working within the intervals you assign yourself; plug your headphones in and keep your phone handy in your FlipBelt, and give each interval all that you’ve got!
As you progress with your routine over the course of a few weeks, you can increase the intensity of your interval workout by reducing the amount of recovery time in between each period of activity. Whether incorporating an interval workout once or several times a week into your routine, this approach will help you build your speed and anaerobic capacity over time.
2. Increase your distance.
As with anything new, your running habit will benefit from a consistent routine. If your goal is to increase your capacity for running longer distances, be sure to do so mindfully in order to set yourself up for success.
Program in at least a couple days a week of a moderate distance, and end each week with a long distance session. Over time, you can gradually increase the distances for weekday workouts, as well as for your longer weekend workout.
This incremental approach will help to improve your overall mental strength as you tackle those longer distances while also increasing your endurance conditioning cautiously over time. By approaching your distance routine in this way, you’ll also avoid adding too much volume too quickly. This will help to prevent injuries that typically come by tackling too much volume too quickly, such as shin splints.
On your longer runs just be sure to eat properly before your workout and stay hydrated along the way.
3. Focus on your technique and form.
While it’s important not to overthink it, take some time out of your running each week to hone in on your technique and form. Your feet, calves, and body overall will thank you for doing so!
First, try focusing on your foot placement. Make sure your feet are striking in front of you, rather than beneath your hips. Lean slightly forward as you run, and this will help you to achieve the correct position.
By leaning forward and focusing on keeping your feet in front of you, this will also better enable you to run on the balls of your feet. The dreaded heel strike can be very taxing on your ankles and calves, causing them to become very tight.
Lastly, make sure to keep your head up and eyes forward. This will engage your abs and minimize the impact you may otherwise have on your lower back by looking down toward the ground too much.
Have a friend or a coach watch your form and give you pointers, or take a video from your phone if you’re working out solo. Either way, taking time to refine your form will help you become a better, more efficient runner!