Why no one ever became a good runner by just running!
Maybe like a lot of people, you started jogging to overcome laziness and ‚do something‘ for your health. Week-in and week-out, you keep grinding out the miles, waiting for the point where you start to feel passionate about running. But it never really happens.
Every run seems to end with a new niggle, while the ‚passion‘ stays resolutely at bay. Yesterday, it was your hips..today, you can ‚feel‘ your knees…maybe tomorrow it’ll be your back. And running is supposed to be healthy?!…Well, yes, actually it is.
Many newbies make a similar mistake, underestimating the physical demands of running, under the assumption that ‚Hey, it’s just running…everyone can do THAT‘.
Although there's a grain of truth in this assumption, if you launch headlong into a running regime, without developing a decent style and taking the time to prepare for these news physical rigours, you're as likely to find yourself in the waiting room of your local physiotherapist within a few months.
The Personal Training team here at Fit4TheGame in Hamburg have 6 simple tips to help you get the most from running, without landing in hot water! Today we're focusing on the first three tips, so let's dive in.
1. Embrace variety
Running (as with most things) suffers from too much ‚familiarity‘: if you repeat just one thing the whole time, the boredom kicks in and you’re also more likely to suffer an ‚overuse‘ injury. For that reason, it makes good sense to build variety into your plan.
Barefoot running (over short distances), as well as techniques ‚borrowed‘ from running-schools, such as skipping, heel-ups or high-knee running, train the foot and lower leg in their natural patterns. Running on different surfaces and at varying paces develop a longer, more stable stride, as well as staving off the boredom!
2. Increase your stride frequency
Stride length and frequency both influence your running speed. Many people still mistakenly believe that by simply lengthening their stride, they will suddenly increase their ability to run faster. The result of this ‚half-truth‘ is that the longer stride leads to the lead foot landing too far in front of your own centre of mass. This leads to a highly percussive ‚thud‘ at heel strike and leads to any number of issues. It also results in inefficiencies, with too much time spent ‚in the air‘.
It make more sense to aim to always have the front heel land more or less beneath the hips, and to increase the stride-frequency. There is less stress on the hips and knees, and a firmer ‚contact‘ with each stride. You’re style becomes both lighter more economical.
Work on exercises that increase strength and mobility in the hips and legs. If you do this, you'll notice a marked difference in a short space of time.
3. Build dynamic stretching into your routine
In contrast to static stretching, where the stretch position is ‚held‘ for longer periods of time, dynamic stretching is easily identified by the stretch being held and released relatively quickly, resulting in precise alternating movements.
If you want to mobilise and ‚warm‘ your body up for running, it makes sense to undertake this dynamic style of stretching, so the body is actively prepared for the movement it will shortly be undertaking.
In the following videos, our Personal Trainers in Hamburg show two exercises which could form a basis for your ‚warmup‘ plan before running. Note the way each exercise begins, is executed and how it ends.
If you've found these tips helpful, we'd love to head your feedback, either as commentary below, or even better, by contacting is on Facebook (facebook.com/fit4thegame), by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling us directly on 04088128533. We also offer a completely free consultation service, which you can book by clicking the yellow button below.