Running has been a part and parcel of every man’s life; ever since the days of us disputing with the saber-toothed cats. Then how come many of us end up getting it all wrong? The answer is simple – couches, cars, desk jobs and complacency. These end up converting our muscles from used to unused. It is perhaps time to kick out the CW (Conventional Wisdom) and hit the road with a vigor that was missing earlier.
1. Use an Efficient Stride –
The Old CW:
Make the most of your stride, since you were born with it.
How to work on stride
Work on your stride and you can make it better.
Elite runners have chances of running a little more efficiently than most of us. They would use less energy and at more speed. If they combine efficiency with comfort, they would reduce the risk of injury.
Earlier running coaches believed that an average runner couldn’t improve his/her stride to combat that of an elite runner. But according to latest science, a person can, with some patience and discipline, end up bettering his/her stride.
The changes you need to make could come in these 3 forms –
- Shortening your stride
Lean your body forward when you run. This will help your feet in landing closer to your body; and will help break the thudding effect that you otherwise feel when you run.
- Defying Gravity
Try reducing the amount of time that you spend with each foot on the ground. Focus on pulling your leg backwards as you run; and do this as soon as you land your feet on the ground.
- Cut down on the bounce
Every time you’re running, try imagining a low ceiling above your head – around 2 inches above your head would do the trick. This will help you keep the gait smooth; and efficiency will come naturally. Remember – You want to go forward and not travel up and down.
2. Indulge in Speed Training –
The Old CW:
Speed training is for the sprinters. It won’t do me any good.
Speed training helps everyone. It could help you too!
In today’s world, almost 20% of their training would involve runners using paces that are faster than their race pace. The reasoning behind this is that it helps in the conditioning of the fast-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers aren’t usually recruited when you indulge in slow running. This will help you increase the stride power and enhance your overall efficiency.
You will end up burning more calories this way. The reasoning is simple – you use more energy when you run harder. If you combine fast running and strength training, you’d see some serious results. Both of these help in working out the fast-twitch muscle fibers.