Running may be an iconic symbol of a healthy lifestyle, but it can also be one of the hardest exercises to enjoy. How do you go from trudging along wishing it would end to looking forward to going for a run? Follow these three easy tips and you’ll notice immediate improvements!
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP
The most important part of avoiding injury and burnout during a run is to keep your posture straight and upright. Instead of hunching over with your upper body way out in front or behind your legs, staying upright and in line will make every step as efficient and natural as possible. Imagine there’s a string attached to the top of your head, and that someone is pulling that string straight up. This will keep your head and chest upright, and make sure that your hips are directly beneath your shoulders. Try to keep a straight line from your ears to your shoulders to your hips to your ankles, and you’ll be on your way to perfect form.
HIT THE GROUND WITH YOUR MIDFOOT
It's an unfortunate truth that running injuries, especially overuse injuries, are common. With the average person taking 2,000 steps to cover a mile, a 5-mile run means 10,000 small impacts on your lower body. If these impacts are happening with poor form, it’s easy to see how ankles, knees, and hips can suffer. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: focus on a midfoot strike. This means that instead of hitting the ground with your heel first, as many novice runners do, the first part of your foot to touch the ground will be at, or right behind, the balls of your feet. When you hit the ground with your heel first, this increases the impact on your body with each step, while landing in the middle of your foot distributes the impact over a wider area. Try this technique for 30 seconds every two minutes on your next run, and gradually build up from there. Don’t worry if you find your calves sore after your first few times running this way; your muscles will adapt to your new form and you’ll be running more efficiently and less painfully in no time.
STEP TO THE RHYTHM
The last quick tip for a better run: get the tempo right! While everyone’s ideal cadence is different, most runners are most efficient at around 160-180 beats per minute (80-90 steps per minute for each leg). There are plenty of playlists out there with various genres of music at this tempo. Find one with music you love, try to match your feet to the rhythm of the songs, and your run will feel like dancing! Here is one playlist that we’ve created at IBX with a little something for everyone at that perfect tempo.
LOOKING FOR MORE FITNESS ADVICE OR EVEN A RUNNING BUDDY?
Keep checking out our blog for weekly helpful tips, or come check us out with a free month of IBX classes with an amazing crew!