After a hard run, it’s tempting to just collapse on the floor. Or head straight to the fridge for a rewarding beer or juice. But there’s a lot of sense in adding some post run stretches to your after-run routine. They can help improve your flexibility, comfort and performance next time you go out for a run.
If you are particularly inflexible, then when you stretch your hamstrings for example, you’ll experience some trembling. It’s important here not to over stretch or you risk inflicting injury on yourself.
The secret is not to expect too much in a short length of time. Consistently stretch after your runs and you’ll slowly see improvement in your flexibility.
By adopting a post run routine that includes thorough stretching, you should see some performance improvements.
The idea of running is great. Just step out the door and glide round the block, through the local park, and return home for a relaxing shower. Indeed, once you get into the habit, you’ll experience the effects of what is popularly known as the “runner’s high”. Your brain will start releasing feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endocannabinoids while you are on the move, inspiring you to continue exercising even more. Continue reading How to get into the habit of running- and stay there!
Want to become a better runner, but can’t squeeze in more training time? The answer is running drills
There’s a whole range of drills that can help improve a runner’s efficiency, form, and speed. 7, in particular, stand out due to their effectiveness. You can find them all below!
Top 7 Running Drills to Meaningfully Improve Your Running
It’s recommended that you perform drills in a field, sidewalk, road, or any other unobstructed space. Of course, if you are suffering from an injury, it is best to wait before undertaking one of them. After consulting a physician of course.
1. Straight-Leg Bounds
This drill is often considered to be one of the most difficult to conduct. But definitely not impossible if you are dedicated and practice. This top drill effectively activates glutes more than any other drill. On top of this, it can also improve coordination.
If you want to increase hip flexibility in order to improve your movement when you run on the track, this drill should be your go-to option. (Just like straight-leg bounds, carioca is also able to improve your coordination.)
3. Butt-Kicks (first variation)
Superb hip flexor strength is extremely important if you want to be a first class runner; butt-kicks can aid you to strengthen this area, as well as reinforce midfoot landing. This drill, in particular, has been noted to be easier to conduct than carioca.
For hamstring flexibility, B-skip is a must do! Besides promoting flexibility in this area, it also improves coordination. At the moment, the B-skip can often be seen being undertaken by numerous college students across the country, as it provides results in a short period of time when one is consistent.
Easier to conduct than the B-skip, the A-skip is able to improve coordination, as well reinforce midfoot landing and high cadence. You are basically killing three major birds with one stone when you opt to undergo this drill, making it a great one for a beginner.
6. High Knees
This option has the same benefits as the A-skip drill: improvement of coordination, high cadence, and reinforcement of midfoot landing. The only difference is the movement that you are going to conduct in order to obtain these benefits. It is up to you to choose the one that best suits your preferences.
7. Butt-kicks (second variation)
Out of all the running drills mentioned, this drill is considered to be the easiest one, hence being the first option that a beginner should opt for. This running for beginners drill is able to reinforce high cadence and improve quadriceps and hip flexor flexibility.
Best Running Drills Order
These running drills for speed can take you from being an ‘okay’ runner to being a ‘professional’ runner in a short period of time. It’s up to you to take them into account every day. Remember that the order for most workouts is dynamic warm-up, easy running, drills, strides, workout (e.g. repetitions), easy running, and then strength work.
Time Is Everything for Runners!
If you are a beginner, work yourself up little by little. Begin with butt-kicks (second variation) and then proceed to undertake high knees, a-skip, b-skip, butt-kicks (first variation), carioca, and then go for the most difficult one of them all—straight-leg bounds.
Of course, only undertake it when you feel that you are 100% prepared to do so. You should perform 2 or 3 sets of these drills every day. Also don’t opt for more than 3 to 4 drills in one go. This could cost you valuable time, and as you know, time is everything for runners!
When you get started running it’s all good. Find a gap in your schedule, put on your gear, and off you go. But as you start clocking up those miles, you might hit some problems. Your nails start going black, you get blisters, pains across the top of your feet and so on. Granted, a little wear and tear is unavoidable. Especially if you run for any distance on a regular basis. However, some very simple tweaks to your preparation can help alleviate some of these running pains. One such tweak is how you lace running shoes. Did you know different feet suit different lacing styles?
This article will give an intro into the different ways you can find the best lacing method for you.
How to lace running shoes to prevent blisters
Blisters are the bane of any runners life. You can grin and bear them but sooner or later one will get infected or just make it too uncomfortable to run.
Not surprisingly the main cause of blisters is excess rubbing inside your shoe. The obvious solution to this would be to simply tighten your running shoe.
However, this sometimes merely tightens one part of the running shoe. Meaning you are now in discomfort because the laced part is too tight. But you still get blisters as the main part of the shoe still rubs.
The real trick here is to make sure you utilise all the eyelets in your shoe.
Consistent running can often result in your nails turning black and eventually falling off. This process may not even hurt. But if you’re about to hit summer and plan on wearing open sandals, this is not ideal.
There is a method of lacing your running shoes that can help prevent this blackening of the toes.
With the method above you thread the lace through the eye nearest the big toe. This means that as you tighten the shoe, you pull the material up and over the toes. This reduces the rubbing that can cause black toe nails.
How to lace running shoes for a more comfortable run
If you have tight shoes or generally wide feet, then the type of lacing can be critical.
The hack here is to allow the lacing style to give your feet more room.
This video gives a simple demonstration of how to do this.
Completely pain free running is pretty much impossible to achieve but you can make it enjoyable by implementing neat little hacks. These tips on how to lace running shoes to suit your needs can help run more comfortably.
Do you have any other comfort hacks for runners?? Drop them below…
Thanks to these articles for the research of this post…..
Haven’t exercised for a while, or want to start running? Then you need a good running plan for beginners.
How a running plan for beginners can let you down
There are plenty of running plans for people starting running but many of them have the downside of being too difficult or two complicated.
As with any new lifestyle change, those first few weeks are crucial. It’s in those early days that we can easily say “as i expected, this running thing just isn’t for me.” You then flit around to some other options and end up giving up altogether.
This article keeps things simple so you have less reason to even think about giving up.
How to get running
The trick is to not start running too soon and too fast.
To start off, make sure you are going for regular walks (aim for three or four times a week).
Next you will start gently introducing running into your schedule.
There are three things you should keep in mind before starting. Always warm up and warm down, concentrate on exercising for a fixed amount of time (not distance) and be careful with stretching (this post goes into this in depth).
The walk run routine
There are hundreds of variations on this so I’ve picked a running plan for beginners that has worked for people starting out just like you.
Warm up (3-5 minutes walk)
Walk 3 minutes – run 5 minutes.
Repeat this 5-7 times.
Warm up (3-5 minutes walk)
Walk 2 minutes – run 6 minutes.
Repeat this 5-7 times.
*How do you know what speed to run? This is actually very simple. After running you should be breathing quite easily. If you are panting and struggling for breath then you’re going to fast. Keep within yourself.
Warm up (3-5 minutes walk)
Walk 1 minute – run 7-8 minutes.
Repeat this 5-7 times.
* To reiterate, you should only stretch after your work out. This helps to improve your flexibility but should only be for about 5 minutes.
Week 4 and beyond
Continue with this process of slowly increasing your running time.
* REMEMBER, your general condition on any given day will dictate how comfortably you can run (or do any exercise). If you have had a particularly hard time at work, or with your kids, then your whole energy levels will be down and your performance will suffer too.
This is normal and don’t stress it. You should be strict on yourself. In terms of once you have committed to running 3 or four times a week, you should fit that into you schedule.
However, it’s essential to be realistic. Don’t make a plan to work out on a day you know you’re going to be super busy.
Once you start letting yourself down by cancelling your planned workout/running sessions you are on the road to giving up altogether.
Follow this simple running plan for beginners and you’re giving yourself every chance of letting running change your life.
Thanks to these articles for their inspiration on writing this:
The secret of how to be a better runner is the holy grail for so many people. Running more, running faster, just getting out there and running. These tips on how to be a better runner have got you covered.
How to Be a Better Runner: Get New Shoes
This might seem an obvious one, but you can’t underestimate how important a comfortable pair of shoes is.
Take the time to find a pair that suits you and your feet and ask an expert if you’re not sure.
If you’re wondering if your old runners are up for a change- some researchers reckon anywhere between 300-500 miles should be the maximum mileage you put on a pair of trainers.
Set Yourself Goals
The bedrock for any successful runner is the setting of realistic, challenging and motivating goals.
You can’t cookie cut this: you have to set a goal that will work for you. It can be “I will run 150 miles a month.” Or I will run every other day. Or perhaps I will break 1.40 in a half marathon.
What kind of goal you set and how you stick to will dictate how quickly you improve as a runner.
Keep Tabs on Your Progress
The key to how to become a better runner is making sure you know you’re getting better.
There’s nothing better than the feeling of beating your previous performances. To do this though you have to record your times and distances.
How closely you follow this will depend largely on the goals you have set yourself (see above). However, if you want something a little more sophisticated than your trusty old watch, there are a ton of apps you can use on your android or iPhone.
Run For Charity
For some of us, the fun of just running wears off. These kinds of people might find the prospect of running for charity a welcome plus.
Sweating for a good cause is a worthy pursuit and can really give that extra motivation.
The Boston Marathon alone raised nearly $40 million back in 2014. This was only to it’s official charities mind and doesn’t include private collections.
If running for only you doesn’t quite hack it, then why not get signed up with helping one of these many organisations?
Drink Plenty of Water
The simple act of keeping well hydrated can improve your performance massively.
Before a race or training, simply drink enough. Enough means you are no longer thirsty but don’t do crazy. Too much water means an uncomfortable stomach and lots more trips to the bathroom.
Get Enough Sleep
All these other tips on how to become a better runner are rendered useless if you’re not getting enough shut-eye.
A tip tip here is to give yourself 30 minutes before your sleep to just wind down. This means shutting down all screens, computers, iPads, gaming machines, all those gadgets.
Then just let your body relax and adjust before hitting the sack.
This will guarantee an improvement in the quality of your sleep.
Take a Rest Day
The one thing worse than not pushing yourself is to push yourself too much.
Rest days are so important – you should at least one a week.
Make sure your rest day really is that- REST.
It’s easy to start feeling guilty on your rest day. But if you calculate into your rest days with your overall training schedule then you have absolutely nothing to be worried about.
Hopefully these tips on how to be a better runner will get you results over the long term.
Thanks to these articles for inspiring this piece:
Get onto the running on the treadmill vs running outside debate, and everyone has an opinion. Some runners will tell you that being stuck indoors on a ‘hamster wheel’ is worse than death. But a lot will praise the comfort of air conditioning, video screens and protection from the weather that running on the treadmill affords.
Away from all the subjectiveness there are bona fide pros and cons to each type – this article gives as balanced view as you’re going to get.
Running Outside is Freedom
Lovers of running in the great outdoors often wear their hearts on their sleeves. Going for a run should be about releasing those shackles, throwing on those shoes and just running.
Certainly and bit romantic, but there is a lot to be said for fresh air, watching the scenery go by, and even checking out new places on foot.
Running on the Treadmill is better for training for a race
The real bonus with most advanced treadmills is you can punch in the hills and lay out that match exactly the race you’re preparing for.
This advantage can not be underestimated. By allowing your body to get fully attuned to the inclines and declines of the particular course you’ll be facing, you are maximising your prep.
The Treadmill is not an ‘Authentic’ Running Experience
There are some obvious points where running on the treadmill is not similar to ‘real running’.
For one, the running belt is moving so in theory you could just jump up and down as it moves and you’d register as moving forward. When running outside it takes more effort to keep moving forward.
There are also factors like wind resistance that make running outside more of a ‘work out’.
Fortunately, some clever folk have worked out that by adding about 1% gradient to the treadmill you can balance the relative ease of indoor running.
Running on the Treadmill Ruins Your Knees -myth or fact?
This is not really true- both forms of running are high impact. You’ll have to consult your physician for a full rundown of the impact of physical impact on your body.
Having said that there are several factors that can favour either running on the treadmill, or running outside may be for you.
On the one hand, the treadmill can possibly actually be softer going than the slippery, uneven outdoor surfaces. On the flip side, you may find that an innate fear of hitting the edge of the treadmill may make you run with shorter and unnatural strides. This ‘under striding’ over an extended period of time can cause of discomfort and maybe even long term damage.
In short, both of them could cause damage to your knees. For treadmill lovers, it’s best not to get addicted and mix it up with some outdoor runs too.
Running on the Treadmill Doesn’t Teach you to Pace
The treadmill is ‘set and forget’ which is a sort after thing in this day and age. You just plug and it does it all for you. Beautiful. But if you’re hoping to get into race mode, this can be a real disadvantage.
One key skill of completing a race is your pacing. In other words your ability to speed up and slow down over the course of a race. This allows you to conserve your energy whilst keeping to pre-decided pace targets.
The automatic pacing of the treadmill means that your body can’t develop this ‘runners sixth sense’.
Of course, if you’re not planning to take your running to the races (but why wouldn’t you?) this problem doesn’t effect you.
However, if you are training for a race getting running outside must become part of your training routine.
So which is it?
We’ve seen that both running on the treadmill and running outdoors have their advantages.
The reality for most runners is you need to have some flexibility. Enjoy the outdoors and it’s benefits. And when the weather closes in, or you need some really exact course training get running on the treadmill.
Articles used for this piece: https://runnersconnect.net/treadmill-vs-running-outside/
OK, so warming up for your run is not a very sexy subject (chatting about the latest Asics or Garmin is much more fun). But being injured when you’re running is far less sexy. For the longest time, static stretching was seen as the best warm up prior to running (or any exercise). Recently however, a new style of warm up is gaining traction, and the old style may even be damaging to your body. This article will have a look at static vs dynamic stretching and just which one is better for you. Or maybe you should do both.
Static vs Dynamic Stretching- what’s the difference?
Let’s start off with a quick look at what each of these stretches are.
These are when you holding a pose for a fixed time (about 30-60 seconds) to stretch a joint or muscle.
This kind of stretch is when you take a joint or muscle through a repeated action moving the body part a little further each time.
Check out the videos below to see some example warm ups and warm downs. These can be incorporated into your running or exercise routine to increase performance and help prevent injury.
So it’s OK to use both Static and Dynamic Types of Stretching?
In short yes.
It’s not really a case of static vs dynamic stretching. It’s more a matter of when is best to use them.
Dynamic stretching is suited to prior to exercise. It prepares the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation. it is particularly beneficial because it focuses on a whole group of muscles at one time and prepare your body for any kind of sporting activity. They are simply a ‘must’ before your run.
Static type stretches conversely focus on one muscle at a time. They help relax the muscles and joints but are most effective when utilised after your run or workout. In fact, research suggests that static stretches prior to exercise may actually prevent muscles from firing correctly. Impeding your body’s performance and causing damage.
An effective and safe workout will include dynamic stretches as a warm up and static as a cool down.
Warming up prior to exercise
It’s tempting to go shooting out the door for quick run. Especially when you’re feeling like an experienced pro you think ‘I’ll be alright.”
But not warming up is an absolute recipe for disaster and injury.
This comprehensive video gives a great example of dynamic stretches you can do before your run.
Video: 21 Dynamic Stretching Exercises to help warm your up
The use of a post exercise cool down has a number of benefits. The number one reason is to stop dizziness. By slowly cooling down you allow the blood vessels in your body to return to their normal resting size. This stops light-headedness.
Post- exercise stretches have another benefit though. By stretching well warmed up muscles you allow your flexibility to improve over time.
Unfortunately, the myth that cooling down stretches can remove post exercise aches has been disproved. However, if you build up extra flexibility in your body, those aches will get less.
This quick vid. shows some great lower body stretches you can use after your run.
Video: Some static stretch exercises to help cool down
Tap in ‘running for beginners’ in the google search bar and you’ll be hit with instant info overload. There’s a whole range of articles all saying different things. It’s all enough to make you switch off your computer and give up on the whole running idea completely. Continue reading Running for Beginners: Simply get started
One attraction of running is you can just throw on some gear and hit the road. There’s no need for much specialised wear, just a pair of comfortable shoes and off you go. You don’t even need other people!;-) But as you get the running bug you will want to start tracking how fast you are progressing. And this is exactly what the best running apps will do for you.
Finding the Best Running Apps For You
Go to the app store or google play and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands of apps geared towards runners and keeping fit in general.
I have my own favourites, which I’ll introduce later, but the trick is to find which is best running apps suited to you and your needs.
What do you need?
Make a list of what you need. If you are running in an area not well known to yourself, you’ ll be wanting some kind of route finder (think the runners’ version of google map).
Do you want to track your calories? Your heart rate? Make sure you get an app that just covers your needs. Otherwise you’ll be trying to navigate your way through a load of functions you won’t ever use to get to the ones you do.
Choose a Good App
This is an obvious one, but finding the best running apps can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Your go-to places are of course Apple and google play. Personally, I find google play much more user friendly.
Once you put in the keyword “running” it will bring up the top running apps. Just click on each app and check it out. They have swipe throughs of all the apps key screens.
Scroll further down and you get a full low breakdown of each app’s features. You can also check out the reviews and feedback from current users of the apps.
Of course this info must be taken with a big pinch of salt. The feature description is written by the app makers and the reviews often consist of people just venting their spleens. So it isn’t always unbiased.
But a bit of research can save you downloading an app that doesn’t meet your needs
These are the three best running apps from personal experience.
The first one is from the big guns at Nike. And it’s not surprising they’ve come up with one of the best running apps.
The main app feature logs your time/distance and speed. It has a great automatic pause when you stop your workout.
Once you wrap up your run, it logs all your data and your overall training performance. So you can log your progress.
• Tracks And Stores All Your Runs And Records
• Personalized Coaching Plans Now Adapt To Your Schedule And Progress
• More Fun And Customizable Post-run Sharing With Friends And New Stickers
• Compare And Compete With Friends On Leaderboards By Hash-tagging Runs
• Motivation & Guidance From Nike Athletes Mo Farah, Allyson Felix, Ashton Eaton, Kevin Hart And Many More.
• There has been feedback of the data recording not always being 100% accurate
• For some reason, some of the best app features were removed with the latest revamp.
This badboy comes up at the top of the google play search.
It has a nice navi map to show you where you are on your route. One annoyance is the ads at the bottom.
Once you finish, you get all these nice share options.
As you can see it has a very impressive line up of features (these are not all available on the free version of the app).
* Real Voice Coach: Audio feedback throughout your session * GPS Tracker: Track yourself on the map in real-time via GPS * Fitness Tracker: View your workouts, advanced stats & graphs * Mapping: Detailed live mapping & historic mapping of training sessions (Google Maps) * Yearly Running Goal: Set a running goal for the entire year & we will keep you motivated & on track to reach it * Shoe Tracking: Keep track of the mileage on your running shoes so you know when it’s time to retire your shoes & get a new pair * Runtastic Earth View: Watch your workout in 3D (free Google Earth App required) * Running Tracker with LIVE Cheering: Get LIVE Tracking & Cheering from your friends during your session * Running Leaderboard: See who’s run the furthest this/last week or month. We will be your run tracker & jogging tracker & help motivate you to be number 1 * Routes: Create or find a running route & save it to your Android phone * Customisable dashboard configuration: Display preferred training statistics (duration, distance, pace, speed, heart rate, calories burned, elevation gain, time, post-workout hydration recommendation) during your workouts * Monthly & overall metrics for elevation gain, pace, speed, heart rate, distance, number of workouts, duration & calories burned * Auto Pause: Session paused automatically when you stop moving * Training Plans to make progress & reach fitness goals * Interval run training, coaching & dynamic split (mi/km) tables * Training Goals: Select a calorie, distance or pace goal to optimise training * Challenge a Run: Compete against yourself by challenging past activities * Geotagging: Take pictures during your workout & see them on the map on Runtastic.com * Runtastic Wearable Connect: Display activity stats on Runtastic Orbit & Moment, our 24/7 wearables * Enjoy music with Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud & more, directly within the Runtastic app (available on Android 4.4 & above) * Coloured Traces: Colours indicate training changes, incl. pace, elevation, slope along your running route when you use your phone as a GPS tracker * Your Fitness App: Manual entry of workouts from treadmill runs to yoga sessions * Integrate Runtastic activities to your MyFitnessPal account & to Google Fit * Android Wear Integration: Control Runtastic with Android Wear * Share activities on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp & via email
All of these apps have a lot going for them. Wahoo has a more complete picture for those of you looking to do some cross training all rolled into one.
Runtastic has the most impressive array of features for running. The Nike one is just play easy to use and feels nice.
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