We run for many reasons. To stay in shape, to reduce stress, or even in the never-ending pursuit of the beautiful bliss of a runner’s high.
Regardless of your experience level or reasons for running, you’re probably wondering how you can break through those plateaus and take your running to the next level. After all, you wouldn’t be reading this article on how to make running easier if you weren’t!
Your lifestyle, your diet, and even the way you run or jog could be killing your results on both the racesheet and the mirror. Read on for tips to make running easier that are perfect for everyone from beginner to advanced. Some could even help on your very next outing!
Surefire ways to make it easier to run
- Hit the Gym
- Stay Consistent
- Head Uphill
- Hit the Pool
- Check Your Stance
- Get That Rest
- Go Lay Out
- Keep Hydrated
Hit the Gym: Wait, to make it easier to run I need to head to the gym? Hmm, okay. To the weight room and not the treadmills? What?!? It’s true! A study by Norwegian researchers found that weight training 3 times per week significantly increased running efficiency by 5% and time to exhaustion by 21%.
Sprint: Seems odd, but by throwing some sprints into your training you can become a better runner by increasing your stride power and efficiency. Try adding 5 all-out sprints of 8 to 10 seconds once per week to your runs.
Stay Consistent: Not sticking to a consistent running schedule is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Fitness builds gradually, but can be lost just as quickly as it was earned. Periodic breaks to heal up are needed, but don’t work against yourself by taking more time off than necessary.
Head Uphill: Increase your overall running ability (and especially on flat land) by adding hills to your running routine. Keep your stride short and your arms pumping when going uphill. On the way down, lengthen your stride and relax your arms to keep yourself balanced.
Hit the Pool: Swimming not only helps your endurance, but also increases your upper body strength, an often overlooked area among runners. Add some laps to your schedule to keep your runs progressing without risking injury.
Check Your Stance: Striding too high and too far with each step will sap your energy fast. Be sure to maintain a short, quick, comfortable stride where your foot strikes the ground under your knee, not in front of it (this leads to injury).
Get That Rest: Being dedicated is great, but not getting the proper amount and quality of rest in between your runs will slow your progress and greatly increase your risk of injury. Take rest days when your plan calls for them, even if you don’t necessarily feel like you need one.
Go Lay Out: The next time you head to the beach to work on your tan, take the opportunity to work on your running. A study by Belgian researchers found that your heel strike coming on a soft, moving surface increases difficulty 1.6 times, leading to huge gains in both speed and muscle tone. Just expect your calves to be sore if you’re new to the sand, as they come into play much more during beach runs.
Keep Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids is a must whether you’re heading out for a quick jog or looking to break a half-marathon personal best. Regular water is fine for short runs. For long runs of an hour or more, start hydrating two hours before with sports drinks to help direct glucose to your aching muscles and keep you in the race.
Don’t forget to pin this in case you need a refresher!