As in all sports activities, there is a way to practice running, and there is a “best way.”
Landing: avoid running on the heel, prefer central-anterior foot support.
Step: shortens stride, increases frequency for better posture and speed.
Have fun: focus on running as a time of joy and satisfaction.
Have you just started running? Bravissimo! You made the right choice. As in all sports activities, there is a way to practice running, and there is a “best way.” True, you’ve been running since you were a child, but that doesn’t mean that over the years you haven’t unlearned how to run in a kind of “backward illiteracy” of running.
In fact, there are some fairly common mistakes when starting out and some tips that work for everyone that will help you run better, make less effort and-most important-have more fun. I’m going to avoid advice about using specific running shoes because it seems pretty obvious to me, and I’d mostly like to talk to you about what are the elements of running to pay more attention to as you run. But since this is a decalogue and the rules are, indeed, ten, let’s drop the introductory chatter and get right into the discussion.
1. Avoid landing with your heel
True, running shoes are more cushioned right there but that doesn’t mean you have to put all your weight down right there. After all, even cars have airbags but you don’t use them for braking, right? (And if you do, we necessarily need to have a chat because something is wrong with you ;)
The ideal landing sees (as the first element of the foot touching the ground) support in the mid-forefoot and then transition to the heel, which will then begin the roll to propel you forward. This way you use your foot to absorb the force of impact with the ground instead of dumping it all on your heel.
2. Does longer stride mean going faster?
No, absolutely not. In fact, you should tend to shorten the stride and increase the frequency. This will allow you to land with your foot just below your center of gravity.
But how do you increase the frequency? There is a little trick: when you run you always have to move the arm opposite the leg that is in front – as a matter of balance, it comes instinctively to you. If you pace your arms faster, your legs will follow and consequently shorten your stride as well.
The too-long stride is also wrong for another reason: by landing with your foot in front of your center of gravity you will get a kind of “brake effect,” the same as if you pointed a stick in front of you while walking.
3. Running is not just about the legs
Your whole body contributes to making you run because your abdominal, back and shoulder muscles keep you upright with your torso, allowing you to have your diaphragm lengthened and thus breathe better.
Train your upper body as well-you will benefit greatly. And it also takes only 7 minutes a day to do so.
4. Dress properly
We have already talked about this but clothing needs to be taken care of a lot because if you are overdressed, you run the risk of being too hot and not being able to run. On the other hand, if you are underdressed, you get a similar result (besides the fact that they may find you hibernating in 50,000 years ;).
There are people who are colder and others who are less so, the perception of heat is subjective, however consider that when you run it is as if it is 10°C higher than it really is. Dress accordingly.
Also, and this is really an “auntie” tip, try to use specific technical clothing (you can also find it for a few bucks) because it is designed not to retain sweat and allows the skin to be dry at all times
5. Don’t always go slowly
You may not be very fit, but that doesn’t imply that you can’t accelerate for 10 seconds every once in a while. Stretches, even for beginners, are very important because they allow our body to understand that it can go faster and to get used to accelerating. In this way-from the very beginning-we will work to raise our aerobic zone, which is when muscles work without producing lactic acid (and burning fat).
6. Don’t overdo it
Whether you are very fit because you come from another sport or you are married to the couch (from which you want a divorce), what matters is not to get too caught up in the initial enthusiasm. Excessive training load harms even the best trained athletes, try-at least in the initial phase-not to exceed 4 workouts per week (so the remaining days you can do other sports as well).
Food is a component that should be taken care of no matter what, why shouldn’t it be if you run? You can eat normally, avoiding excess, trying to figure out which foods balance best with your lifestyle(you can find lots of information here).
The rule with food is “always eat before you run but don’t run right after you eat.” Clear no? ;)
It actually means that running on an empty stomach is not good for you; there are many things you can eat before running, just wait a while before slipping on your shoes. I guarantee you that running with food that is beginning to digest is not a beautiful experience.
When you sweat you have to replenish the fluids in your body, and by running you sweat a lot. So, if you run for a long time or when you finish (if your outings don’t last long), you must–always–drink.
Also during the day, it is very wise to drink at least 1.5 liters of water outside meals: it promotes cellular hydration as well as the perfect functioning of our body.
9. Stretching and warming up
They may seem like boring activities but, I guarantee, stretching and warming up are preparatory to any run. First, because they “warm up the engine” of our body, and then because they keep us away from the injuries that sometimes happen when we get off to a cold start.
10. Have fun
It seems strange to be reminded of this, but sometimes it happens to get caught up in anxieties while running. Focusing too much on the act instead of the outcome.
Running brings children back and can be a wonderful time you spend with one of the people you love most: yourself.