If you want to keep advancing as a marathoner then it is important to become an efficient runner, writes Nandini Reddy.
Runners are always looking to improve timing, speed and technique. The more efficient they become – the faster they progress as runners. In the recent times there have been several new innovative running techniques that have evolved and been adopted by runners across the world. But aside from extensive training schedule changes you can also look to improve your running efficiency sneaking in a few quick fixes.
Learn to Sprint
Sprinting can become a part of your training schedule with ease. You will need to add sprinting at maximum intensity to your training schedule at least 3 times a week. Why does this help? Essentially because sprinting pushes you to your limits of capacity and your energy is purely converted to speed. In the process your stride improves and thus boosts your running technique. Start with doing 5-10 sprints in 10-15 second bursts. This you can alter or vary according to your running level.
Most running shoes come with extra cushioning and are fixed with more technology than your laptops. But this extra compensation from the shoe means you don’t pay attention to your strides because your shoes compensates when you over-stride. While this might not be noticeable in the short run, you will notice that you are tiring out faster in the long run. Getting the right stride length is crucial to becoming a more efficient runner. It also reduces the risk of injury and conserves your energy. If you find barefoot too uncomfortable then opt for shoes that have less cushioning so that you can run comfortably in the right stride length.
Our jobs today do not let us move around much. Most of us are sitting 90% of the time at office. This can stiffen your hip flexors and that can ruin your running efficiency. When the hip flexors are tight, it makes it hard to push off and your stride get affected and you will also consequently use more energy to generate the same thrust. So remember to stretch and work out your hips so that there is improved flexibility.
Squats can strengthen muscle groups that are important for running. Work in at least 3 days of strength training and ensure you do squats. Strengthening the muscles means that you can run faster and remain injury free. Watch your squatting technique so that you can get the maximum effect.
Leaning slightly forward can make a world of difference. The slight forward lean is a technique that skiers use to engage their whole body. This allows for better form and makes running slightly less tiresome. This also prevents you from sinking into your hips. The idea is the maintain a straight back and then following the skier slight forward lean is a good running form.
Simple changes can help you run faster and longer and make your runs more enjoyable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.