There’s a run in all of us and there’s no secret formula, no instruction manual required and no wrong way to do it, but to help you feel more comfortable and confident, we've compiled some tops tips.
Run tall It’s easy to let your body sag when you’re starting to flag. If you do start to slouch and slump, remember that proper poise is as important on the running track as it is at the ballet barre. Not only does good posture boost your confidence, but it also opens your chest so you can breathe more easily, helping to send lots of run-fuelling oxygen to your muscles. Stand tall and stride out with your back upright, your shoulders drawn down and back, and your eyes focused on the road ahead – not down at the pavement.
Don’t get stitched up Far from being a sign of being unfit, the dreaded side-stitch is caused by undigested food in your tummy bouncing around and jarring against your core muscles. Eating lightly before exercise or giving your body plenty of time to digest should prevent painful stitches. Doing a decent warm-up will also help – just two or three minutes of brisk walking before gradually increasing the pace will help you create a controlled breathing pattern. However, if you do get a stitch don’t try to power through it. Instead, slow your pace and adjust your breathing so that you’re exhaling as the foot on the opposite side of the stitch hits the ground.
Breathe easy Are your legs just fine, but you can’t seem to control your breathing? You’re not alone. Not only is puffing and panting distracting, it’s also one of the most common reasons new runners take more breaks and find themselves running less. Inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply helps get more oxygen into your bloodstream, so staying relaxed is extremely helpful. Concentrate on expanding your belly as you breathe in, and try taking three strides for every inhale, and two for every exhale.
Think on your feet You’re brilliant at running. In fact, we all are. That’s because our bodies have been designed to move at a trot. It’s just that spending a lot of time sitting at desks and on sofas has re-tuned our brains. While sprinters need to lift their knees high, joggers don't need such an exaggerated running style. It’s simply too hard to sustain for any length of time. Try to take short, smooth and springy strides. Do this and you’ll have a lighter, more lively style!
Embrace the dawn Ever had one of those days where you wake up full of energy and hop straight out of bed? It’s not going to happen every day, but if you do have energy to burn then don’t hesitate. Lace up your running shoes and head out the door because studies show that running in the morning helps gives you a huge energy for the rest of the day. Plus, if unexpected ‘stuff’ happens later, you’ve already got your run in and your exercise goals have stayed firmly on target.
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