Running can be easier and with less effort, if you strengthen your body and improve your flexibility, says Nandini Reddy
You become a great runner by taking to the trails and roads regularly but a few simple exercises before and after your run can do wonders for your running form. Smooth and efficient running is dependent on the strength and flexibility of your body. Here are a few basic pointers to remember to get the right form.
- Take quick and short strides to avoid injury
- Keep your knees in line with your foot when it strikes the ground
- Keep you elbow bent at 90 degrees
- Don’t keep your hands stiff. Relax those muscles
- Run by pushing off from the ground and not flat thumps
There are three muscle areas that are the most important to have great form – the glutes, hips and arms. All these muscles need to be worked on before and after a run. Dynamic stretches before a run to heat up these muscles and cool down stretches after a run to ensure that these muscles are relaxed.
If you follow particular training principles you can be a better runner. During training runs try and introduce something different.
- Gradually increase your mileage or time spent running. If you are working on interval training then reduce the walk timing and increase the run timing.
- Give yourself enough of a break before you increase your speed or distance. Your body needs to adapt and its important not to push it beyond its limits.
- If you are trying new strength training exercises then remember that you will have sore muscles for a few days and might not be able to run at your regular pace. Its okay to do that and it doesn’t mean that the exercise is the enemy to your running.
- Try and get a plan that increases gradually. If you are running 5km is a good timing this week then try completing 6km in the same timing next week. Training should make you feel happy to achieve your goals and not stressed.
- There are no single methods for running that will work for you always. Every trail and every run might offer different challenges, so remember to prepare for it.
Easy and effortless running comes with practice and dedication. Use the strengthening moves to make running more of a pleasure than a chore everyday.