My top 5 tips become a more efficient runner.
At the end of the day we were all born to run. I’m sure you’ve heard people say “You are going to ruin your knees from running” or “Humans aren’t designed to run long distance”
Well in actual fact, if you look back through evolution, humans evolved from the Ape-like ancestors where food did not come from the pantry, or from the supermarket or from take away. They had to hunt, gather and scavenge their food to survive. In order to live in this world, being able to run (and fast for that matter) was what would keep you being the fairest of them all.
So, to skip through the years of evolution to where we are today, we are basically living in a world where we are sedentary. Where we no longer have to hunt, gather or scavenge our food which would require us to run lots KM a time to get our food. Now it is quite literally all at our fingertips. Because of this, when are required to run, it can feel unnatural or hard. We feel out of breath, like our lunges are burning. Or our joints hurt or overtime which can ofter result in us developing an injury.
This is where I’m hoping my blog will help you to avoid feeling like you are “not a runner”
I am totally guilty of saying it myself. It wasn’t until I really started reading about running and taking part in run workshops with video analysis, where I’ve really started to understand how I can be more efficient. Once I understood how to run, rather than just running it begins to feel effortless.
I am going to share with you top 5 tips to become a more efficient runner. I will explain the tip, how to do it and why you should include it into your running session.
TIP # 1 – Activation & Stimulation
The What – Activation and stimulation prior to running helps prepare the body for the run. It gives the joints, muscles and tendons a chance to loosen up, while increasing the blood flow and heart rate. The purpose is to replicate the movements you want to preform during the run.
The Why – Activation prior to exercise, especially running is key to injury prevention. Spending 5-10mins activating the correct muscles groups will help you become more efficient. The correct muscle groups will be firing therefore you wont be overloading certain muscles groups which cant contribute to injury.
The How –
Glute Bridge 2×10
Hip Hinge 2 x10 each side
Calf Raise 2×10 each side
TIP # 2 – Cadence
The What – Cadence is the number of steps a runner takes per minute (SPM). Its the most common metric used to measure running form.
The Why – The shorter the stride length and the quicker your stride rate, the faster and better you will run. If you have a low cadence, you will likely have a long stride. This is commonly known as ‘over striding’ Runners who over stride tend to lock their knees and slam their heels to the ground on every step. This will slow you down as it creates a bouncy gait, while also putting extra pressure through the joints and muscles.
The How – By increasing your cadence you are moving your feet faster, you are changing the positioning of where your foot lands. It promotes your foot landing underneath you, in your centre of gravity. This naturally increases your turn over which means less energy moving up and bound from the bounding.
Ideally you want to be aiming for at last 180 steps per minute. Set a timer for 1 minute and without changing your running pace count every step with that minute. From there you can adjust your cadence.
TIP # 3 – Body Positioning
The What – Body positioning can often be overlooked, as many people believe we all have our own running style. This is correct but there are tips to help us become more efficient in the way we position our body.
The Why – Running with good body positioning will help eliminate injury and also improve your efficiency over time.
The How – Running tall; by keeping you spine long with your shoulders back/relaxed and leaning forward from the ankles rather than breaking from the hips.
Torso facing forwards and stable; this will help eliminate wasted energy from the hips/head/arms bouncing from side to side. Keeping everything parallel to each other.
Stay relaxed throughout the body; keep the muscles groups which are not directly involved in running relaxed such as the hands, shoulders, neck, jaw and facial muscles.
TIP # 4 – Strength Training
The What – Also know as cross training in a runners training plan, where weighted or body weight exercises are used to help strengthen the joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles.
The Why – Unfortunately, it is common for runners to avoid strength training in their program as there is a theory they’ve been taught they just need to run to get faster or improve their distance. That incorporating strength training will bulk them up and eventually slow them down. The main benefit for strength training for runners is for injury prevention. It helps improve structural weakness in the body and can actually eliminate the chance of overuse injury.
The How – Choosing a program with compound exercises which target multiple muscle groups at once such as squats, deadlifts, chin ups, overhead press and bench press are a good start.
TIP # 5 – Recovery & Maintenance
The What – Just like you would keep up regular maintenance on your car to help it run smoothly, it is importance to do the same with your body. Recovery from running can be a number of different modes so it is important not to just stick with one method. Recovery begins from the moment the run is finished until the next session. It can play a huge role in the performance of the next session.
The Why – Keeping up the recovery and maintenance will enhance our performance as our bodies are well rested and refuelled. It keeps our joints and muscles mobile to eliminate the chance of injury.
The How – Stretching, foam rolling, trigger point, compression, good nutrition, sleep, flexibility and mobility are many of the modes I use and would recommend to recover from running.
In conclusion there is a real beauty to running as it can be done anywhere all you need is a pair of runners. There are so many truely amazing places to run and the sights you see on foot can be pretty spectacular.
Being persistent with with running technique will be the key to improving efficiency. This takes time but making small changes can make a big difference in the big picture.
I hope this blog has given you some key points to take away and hopefully help with you becoming a more efficient runner just like it has helped me.
Remember we were all born to run.