Fitness

6 Ways To Improve Your Run

March 2, 2017

I'm currently suffering a few muscle injuries from recent races, and briefly found myself, dare I say it, a little less in love with running. A few tough races knocked my confidence, and the pain (and the fear that the pain would get worse) left me a bit flat. Thankfully - with the help of Run Dem Crew and a whole lot of positive energy and good advice - my mind is back in the game (and my legs are getting there too). More than ever though, I'm noticing the difference between good runs and bad runs, along with what makes a difference, so I thought I'd go ahead and share some tips. Whilst these won't necessarily work for everyone, if you're struggling, I'd say these 6 tricks will go some way to improving your run - through both a performance and enjoyment perspective.

 Fuel up

 I know people have mixed feelings about eating before exercise but I think most runners and athletes would say DO IT. You can't function on empty, and what are you expecting to fuel those legs. Even if it's just a banana, try get it in you at least 40 minutes before your run. I tend to have an espresso too which I think helps, and my snack of choice is a Coconut and Macadamia Bounce Ball (or in the morning, porridge with Pip and Nut).

Take your phone out from your sports bra

The amount of runs and races I've ran with my phone tucked into my sports bra is shameful, and I've recently realised definitely hinders performance. It restricts your movement, and makes breathing more of a struggle too (not to mention, it risks sweat damage to your phone - I actually broke an iPhone that way). Stupid move. Invest in an arm strap and use it - they're much better and more comfortable, just make sure you get one that fits your arm and doesn't slip down.
running - flashanthology

 Strap up any injuries

The first time I suffered calf pain, I quaffed at the idea that a measly tubular bandage would have any real impact. 6 months down the line, I wouldn't dream of running without one (and will be running Hackney Half with one doubled up on each ankle). Straps, tape, bandages...all very effective. If you've got injuries, aches or pains, take it easy but strap yourself up!! Also, Deep Heat and Deep Freeze - use them correctly and those too are very effective.

running - flashanthology

Listen to music

The idea of running a race where headphones are banned pains me, because when the going gets tough, it's really music that I rely on. If you're just getting into running, or possibly getting back into running, find yourself a power playlist and get it on...loud. I listen to DJ mixes and house music when I'm running, on the loudest volume I can, and I love it 'cos its total escapism. Don't underestimate the power of a good song: it can give you a real burst of energy. I find myself sprinting suddenly with a massive grin on my face when my favourites come on. That said, slow and steady is good too; I find Caribou's Our Love album to be a nice pacer.

Run with somebody

When you're running alone, really not feeling it, and ready to give up, it's so easy to just throw the towel in. When you're running with someone else though, it's much more difficult to say 'oh, screw it'. You'll find you can push yourself a lot further when you're running with someone else, and will probably keep a steadier pace too. It's also good for your breathing to practice running and talking — I've always been told you should run at a pace at which you're able to keep a conversation going. So grab a pal, your trainers, and hit the pavement!

Stretch

I can't stress it enough. Stretch, stretch, STRETCH. Basically, if you don't, you're going to get ruined. Stretch before, stretch after, stretch during if you need to. This is really something I need to get better at, and is basically the whole reason I've been suffering with my soleus muscle. We should be doing it for at least 10 minutes in total to warm up and down our muscles. Whether you do it standing, or collapsed in a heap on the floor at the end of your run, it doesn't matter, just do it! It's going to prevent you from injuries and a better runner in the long term so get into the habit now.
running - flashanthology