When I tell people that I have done triathlons one of the questions people ask is – which discipline is your strength? I always struggle with that one – because I really want to say none of them! My strength has always been the fact that I just keep going. I am slow – and that’s ok – I just know how to keep moving forward.
IF I were forced to pick – I suppose running would be the easiest for me. Maybe because I have done it the longest? I did my first 5K on Mother’s Day in 1995. I have done all sorts of distances since – and there was even a span when I did a 5K a month with family and friends. However – not everyone is a runner. (I still struggle calling myself a runner – but I run – so I must be a runner, right?!?) Here are a few things that I have learned over the years.
Follow the 10 percent rule. Professionals say that you shouldn’t increase your weekly distance by over 10 percent. It is a good rule – and one that you should follow. While it is easier to ramp up your swimming and biking faster – as they are low impact sports – be careful with running. You don’t want to go all gung ho and then get hurt! Start slow – EVEN if you feel like you want to push yourself.
Go for consistency. One of the most frequent mistake new runners make when training, is going out too hard, and then blowing up after the first couple of minutes. You do want to make it through the whole workout! You want to practice consistent pacing – don’t go all wild. Now – if you want to add some speed work to a workout that is fine – but aim for a consistent pace on most of your runs.
Focus on your form. Good form can help you run faster and it can help you to avoid injury. Focusing on form teaches your body to hone in on bio-mechanical improvements, and to run more efficiently. If you’re a newbie, don’t obsess with it too much. Just focus yourself on running relaxed, smoothly and naturally, without any unusual jarring foot strikes. Everyone has a different running style. Try to get a sense for yours, while focusing on possible improvements that may reduce unnecessary stress on knees, hips, and even the upper body muscles.
Here are some quick tips running coaches have given me:
- Run smooth and light – like you are running on eggshells. This helps to minimize excessive bouncing motion. You want your energy to move you forward – not up and down.
- Relax your upper body, especially the shoulders.
- Keep your arms and hands loose, letting them swing forward and back with the momentum, propelling you forward naturally.
- Don’t let your arms swing across your body. Again – think forward momentum – don’t block that energy with your arms.
- Finally – SMILE. I wrote about this in an early blog post – but seriously smiling will make your running easier. Plus – others will smile back at you, which gives you another boost of energy. I promise. It really does work!
What are some of your running tips? I would love to hear them. AND – I really hope your training is going well! If not – don’t hesitate to reach out! I am here to support you and your smile as you cross the finish line!
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!