Running better

My friend, Evan

My brother and I grew up running with our parents. I think we hated it at first and learned to love it. I started running a lot after (graduating from and playing a sport in) college. I didn't realize that it's a very easy thing to get an endorphin high from and, as a result, overdo. A daily 6 miles turned into 8, which turned into "I'll run a marathon" and, two months later, "I'll run another", and I burned myself out. So I took about a year-long break, did a lot of yoga, and then got back on the horse. In the process, I learned a few things about how to be a better runner, and that there are some things that can make any person a good runner, even if you don't have a natural runner's build:

1. Run less - three or four times a week is plenty. A run doesn't have to don't have to be long - 3 to 5 miles is fine, unless you're training for something, and even then, don't overdo it! Stop to stretch during a run if you need. Make sure it's enjoyable to move and breathe.

2. Find your form. A lot of people are sensitive toward hurting their knees and experience a lot of discomfort while running, but it's actually a very natural motion for the human body. Often times, weak posture and hip flexibility results in poor form and a lot of strain on the body while in motion. My favorite comeback anecdote is about my dear friend Chloe, who learned how to run properly despite being a victim of chondromalacia from skiing, and did a half marathon. This tutorial really helped me get my technique together when I was burnt out, and this one helped me run hills (since I dig trails). Engaging the right muscles (such as your glutes and hamstrings), finding a comfortable, low-impact stride, and stabilizing your shoulders and arms makes running a full-body workout. When you get the motion right (as cheesy as this sounds), you should feel light and happy, kind of like you're flying! 

3. Ditch the music. Anyone ever put on One Direction, busted out a 7-minute first mile, and then more or less thrown in the towel on a run? Same. Tunes can cause unnecessary adrenalin spikes, and distract you from listening to your body and running with the proper technique. Running can be therapeutic if you listen to your own steps and breath, or do it with a friend. 

Ok, so now you're ready to run like a gazelle. Get to it.

Mina AikenComment