Running is one of the most effective cardio exercises for losing the extra pounds. But it is also one of the most dreaded forms of workout. It may sound silly, but a few minor tweaks can help to make your running significantly easier!
Think about when you started running and how you had to practice controlling your breathing. At first, you didn’t notice any difference, but over time the changes became much more noticeable. Now that you’ve been running for a few months or years, you can’t think of life without this simple trick.
Such a small thing, but it made such a huge difference, right? The same is true of the tweaks below. They’re minor changes to your posture, form, mindset, or preparation, but they’ll help you to run more smoothly and easily.
Improve Your Form from Bottom to Top – The first thing to correct is your pronation, stride, and the way you step. When jogging, the idea is to focus all of your effort on pushing you forward, not bouncing with each step. Reduce upward motion and transfer everything into forward motion. Then work on the way you bend your knees, move your hips, tighten your core, and position your arms, shoulders, neck, and head. Work on your form from the bottom up, improving one element at a time. Over time, you’ll notice significant improvements in the way you run.
Relax Your Face – Squinting, scowling, and clenching your teeth requires energy, meaning you’ll burn through your reserves more quickly. To reduce energy consumption, relax your face and soften your expression. Wear sunglasses to prevent squinting, and force those facial muscles to unclench.
Lift Your Head – Your eyes should be fixed ahead, but lift your head slightly to improve your breathing. Thrust your chin a little bit forward, and it will help to align your upper body. Just don’t thrust it out too far or you’ll reduce knee movement. Pretend you’re taking a photograph and want to reduce the visibility of under-chin fat. Head up and chin slightly forward will do the trick!
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Pull Down Your Shoulders – It’s normal for you to tense up as you run, as the exertion increases the tension in your body. But this tension can use energy you need for your run. Force your shoulders to relax, pulling them down and shaking out your arms to loosen them up. Relaxing your shoulders can help to prevent tension in your neck, head, and upper back.
Relax Your Fists – Clenching your fists when you run uses energy, meaning it will eat into your fuel reserves. Just like you need to keep your face, shoulders, and neck muscles relaxed, so too your hands should be unclenched and hanging loose. Imagine yourself gripping a golf ball, and keep your hands in that loose position.
Tighten Your Core – Engaging your will help to reduce the sway of your upper body. There is a certain amount of upper body movement involved in running, but most of the motion should be limited to your hips, legs, knees, calves, ankles, and feet. By tightening your core, you hold the upper body steady and reduce energy usage. You can eliminate the side to side movement and focus everything on moving forward.
Break It Down – Break down the distance of your run into smaller, bite-sized lengths you can easily achieve. For example, find a point in the distance you can reach in 5 to 10 minutes, then another, and another. Every “accomplishment” will lift your spirits, providing the positive stimulation needed to keep you running. Whether you run 5Ks, hill sprints, or marathons, break the distance down into multiple goals to achieve.
Keep the Pace Steady – One of the biggest mistakes a runner can make is coming out of the starting gate too hot. When you’re fresh, it’s easy to feel like you’re ready to pick up the pace or run faster. Doing so will take a toll in the long run, especially near the end of the race or training session. Resist the urge to pick up speed. Keep your pace steady from the beginning, and it will keep your energy expenditure consistent for a more effective run.
Take Your Mind Off It – If focus entirely on your run or the sensations in your body, you’re more likely to run out of steam or feel the fatigue more quickly. Instead, let your mind wander. Think about something else—anything else. Listen to music or an audiobook to distract yourself from your tiredness. Anything that takes your mind off your run will help to keep you running longer.
These tricks are simple—anyone can put them into practice—but they can make a huge difference for your running performance. They’ll make you into a more effective runner, boost your endurance, and help you love your runs a lot more!
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