How to improve your running ….

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How do you run…? Just take a moment and think about how you run?  Do you feel like you can run freely, easily and effortlessly with a pace that suits you – or do you feel like it is challenging to breathe and move forwards…..  What do you do with your arms, how do your feet land, do you have a strong core?

 People think that it is easy to run and natural….. yes it is!  However, as we begin to get older, we spend more time sitting than we are designed too it shortens muscles, weakens out buttocks and core, all causing us to run in a less effective and efficient way – and become prone to injury…

 Last weekend I went to the www.tcrshow.co.uk and went to a talk from Mark at Physio 4 Life and Mike from the Running School (www.therunningschool.co.uk) – both highlighting top tips to improve your running, confirming my learnings over the years.  I have been to training workshops on biomechanics, tapping & strapping, speed, agility and quickness and completed my athletics and triathlon Level 2 coach certification – as many will know what one person says, another will give an opposing argument. However I do believe that some simple facts will improve your running speed, efficiency and reduce the risk of injury..

 So read on and let us know what you think:

 * Progressive training and Quality Rest Days: adding no more than 10% to your training volume and speed per week, ideally with every 4th week (and at least 1 day per week as a quality rest day) as easy week to allow the muscles to adapt and recover.

 * Start slowly & build from a strong base to avoid injury, enhance performance and enjoyment – break your big goal down into small manageable steps

 *  Listen to your body and never run through an injury – it will only get worse and is there as a warning to listen. A couple of easy sessions, extra stretching and a good sports massage will have limit long term injury.

* Mix the sessions up! Make sure you do long and steady, easy, short and quick, hills and intervals to challenge your body, vary your training and improve your overall pace! Joining a club can help with this – for a great Bristol club join Westbury Harriers http://www.westburyharriers.co.uk/   or to find your local club visit:  http://www.uka.org.uk/

 * Most running injuries are caused through repititive use, (not sudden impact such as rugby)so it will have been caused over a number of weeks and possibly months. So the day you get the niggle is not the first day of its appearence – so make sure you do listen to your body to prevent the niggle becoming a limiting factor to your trianing and racing!

 * The more your run, the more Core sessions you need to do – the stronger your core muscles, the less likely you will be injured, the stronger your will run and you will be more efficient.  All too often athletes do less core when the trianing increases – however, it is vital that you do more Core sessions.  Core sessions should be varied and include lots different exercises using cables, medicine balls, bosu and swiss ball – working the front, side and back muscles -full training plans will be on line in the next month or so but do contact us for more information…

* Remember to use your arms – the make you run faster, stabilise your core and increase speed if you use them effficently and effectively. Contact us for more information, or video Blogs coming in the summer to show you!  X’cos can help with technique training –http://www.xco-trainer.de/en

 * Balance and stretching is essential!  Mak e sure as well as core work, you factor in quality stretch sessions working on all muscle areas, spending at least 15mins per sessions at least 3 times per week. I would highly recommend rolling the ITB area (band running from the hip to the knee) with a foam roller to prevent Runner’s Knee or Hip (http://www.physicalcompany.co.uk/products/product_detail.asp?productId=CCR4 ) and you spend time improving your propreception by balancing on a disc – this can also be used for core work! (http://www.physicalcompany.co.uk/products/product_detail.asp?productId=AADR )

 * Have regular quality sports massage sessions, if you stretch and do core sessions you will need one about every 2-4 weeks …. possibly more depending on your goals and biomechanics.  If you find a good sports therapist they will get used to how your muscles feel, pick up on injuries before they become a problem, reduce fatigue, speed up recovery time and enhance your training sessions (http://www.energisedperformance.com/sports-massage.php ) When Olympic athletes were asked what compliments and benefits their training, 97% responded with sports massage as number 1.

 * Get decent shoes! VITAL 🙂 Make sure you go to a running shop that has specialists who can video you running, and know which shoes to recommend depending on if you are a neutral runner, pronate etc…! Shops such as Sweatshop (http://www.sweatshop.co.uk), Up and Running, Easy Runner and Moti – all have stores through the UK and offer this service.

* If you are having niggles, aches or pains book an appointment with a physiotherapist or oesteopath if more related to the back to sort any problems and give you specific exercises to help correct any problems before they become long term – if you are in Bristol try Jemma at The Physio Place http://www.thephysioplace.com/  and if you are in London try Mark at Physio 4Life http://www.physio4life.co.uk/

* Make sure you eat decent, good quality carbohydrates, proteins and essentials fats, plus have quality sleep – remember you recover and repair your muscles optimally at 10pm – 2am..!!  If your fuel tank is not full of the good stuff how can run effectively and efficiently – look after your body 🙂  For brilliant recipes buy Kate’s fab book Go Faster Food – 5* from Amazon!  http://astore.amazon.co.uk/energisperfor-21/detail/0091929326 – for brilliant recovery and energy drinks, bars and gels visit TORQ products (or order discounted from Energised!)http://www.energisedperformance.com/blog/?p=225 and if you need more essential fats try Udos Oil – again 5* reviews:http://www.udoschoice.co.uk/ …and finally for achy joints try Glucosamine and Chrondriton – or Higher Natures Herbal Joint Supplement is amazing!

 * And finally ENJOY running, set some goals like Race for Life, 10km’s Half Marathons, Marathons and have FUN – the more your relax, breathe and listen to your body the most effective and fun your trianing will be!

For more top tips, biomechanic assessment, sports massage and training plans please contact us or comment below.  For feature articles and top tips for magazine editorial please call Kim on 07720 845849.