Here are some tips to maximize your run:
- Relax. You might think that is impossible when your legs are pumping and your breathing is heavy, but try practicing a little relaxation. Start with your shoulders. Drop your shoulders. Relax your arms and your hands. Roll your head, relax your upper muscles. Then move down, relax your hips and let your legs move effortlessly. You’ll find a big difference in your technique, not to mention your overall enjoyment of running once you master the art of relaxation.
- Breath through your nose. Our impulse when we run is to draw in as much air as possible, so that means breathing through your mouth. Try taking deep breaths through your nose. This will not only help with your relaxation but will allow your body to run at a pace that is right for you, rather than forcing a faster pace by breathing heavily through the mouth. Think of yogic postures where you breath in through your right nostril and out through your left.
- Enjoy your surroundings. What better time to notice those spring buds coming up or the blue sky. Even if it’s raining or dark, look up and see the moon and the stars. Feel the rain on your face (it’s quite refreshing!). Running is the perfect pace for enjoying the scenery. Make the most of your runs and see what nature has to say to you.
- Run on the balls of your feet. Try making as little noise as you can while running, avoiding thumping down on your heel. Running shoes are terrible for promoting “light” running with their heavy heel padding. (I will be experimenting with barefoot running soon, stay tuned!) Run as if you are on eggshells, treading lightly while keeping your upper body tilted slightly forward. A lighter runner is a faster and more efficient runner.
- Vary your pace. Running can get monotonous. Pick up your pace if you’re feeling a little frisky, or slow it down if you’re feeling rugged. One of the benefits of running is you can do whatever you want, so run however you feel. Vary your running with sprints, long, slow runs and hills. Not only will you improve your skills, you will find the technique and stride that is right for you.