How often do you think about your technique before participating in a fun run or embarking on a running regime? Most people tend to put on their sneakers and bolt for the door without realising that a little extra knowledge can have huge benefits. Before the date of your next fun run, it is essential to do some form of training and preparation to prevent injuries, some of which can stay with you for a life-time. Everyone is different and especially if you’ve never ‘run’ before, your running routine could look very different to that of an elite athlete. Founder of Back In Motion Health Group, Jason Smith shares how to train for a marathon.
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PREPARE AND ASSESS
Before you consider committing to a running program, it’s important to establish your fitness goals and be clear of what you wish to achieve, whether it be for weight loss or training for an event. It’s also good to keep in mind your other lifestyle commitments – will they clash with your running routine and are you willing to make changes? Additionally, you should assess your physical condition as well as your running technique so that you adopt the most suitable regime.
MASTER YOUR TECHNIQUE
When it comes to running, technique is crucial. Research has shown that runners of all levels can improve efficiency by 4.5-8 percent by improving technique. Additionally, if you don’t perfect your technique, you are more susceptible to getting an injury.
My key seven running technique tips:
– Running with a turn-over rate of 90 foot strikes per minute.
– Stay flat and smooth. Don’t bob up and down too much.
– Learn the correct foot strike placement. Don’t land with your heel out in front of your knee. Land on your mid-foot (not heel or toes).
– Project your body forwards and upwards.
– Keep your hips level and stable. Minimise hip drop.
– Keep shoulders down and elbows bent at 90 degrees.
– Relax hands and wrists.
The technique principles explained above are essentially those of a barefoot runner. I think there is value for some in considering barefoot running but regardless of personal preference would recommend everyone to adopt at least some of the barefoot running techniques even if you choose to wear footware. If you are considering making the transition from regular running shoes to barefoot running shoes, make sure it’s a gradual change.
TOP 9 TIPS TO AN EFFECTIVE RUNNING REGIME:
– Perfect your technique – see a Physiotherapist for a running assessment prior to starting a regime and don’t leave your running technique to chance.
– Partner up – having a running buddy or friend can help you stay motivated and keep things fun.
– Mark it – schedule and record you runs in your diary to stay committed and to keep track of your progress.
– Warm up – prior to running, make sure you stretch and prepare your muscles.
– Maintain and sustain – stay committed to your running regime and try to make your routine consistent. Research has shown that any person needs to run at least twice per week to get a progressive benefit from their activity.
– Replicate and prepare – if you are training for a race or event, train in the conditions that best replicate the event surface itself.
– Change of scenery – whilst I’m an advocate of both outside and treadmill running, training outdoors means fresh air and sunlight, which can have additional benefits for you.
– Rest and relax – allow your body rest days as adequate breaks and recovery is fundamental for optimum performance and fitness.
– Celebrate – create small milestones in addition to long term goals so that you acknowledge your progress and celebrate your accomplishments.
Prior to starting a new running regime, I would highly recommend visiting your physiotherapist so that your personal condition and running technique can be assessed. Taking this step will not only improve results but can also save a great deal of pain and discomfort. This is particularly relevant if you have had pre-existing injuries or pain as your physiotherapist can then take this into account and help keep you injury-free by recommending relevant services for your form.
Not only does running help maintain optimal health, it can also boost your confidence when you begin to notice the physical improvements to your body. Before you know it, you could go from barely being able to run 1km to running marathons. It’s all about starting slow and staying committed to improving your running technique so that you can cover greater distance and run faster. For your next fun run, just remember – a little preparation beforehand can go a long way!