With the promise of spring right around the corner, it’s time for early season running. But before you lace up and head out the door, take time to focus on four key elements this season: fitness, form, flexibility and functional training.
Build your fitness slowly. Don’t expect to start where you left off in your running last fall. Running is a high-impact sport, and each stride will test your body. Beginning with run/walk intervals in the first few weeks is a good idea for the novice as well as the avid runner.
The efficiency of your running technique is directly proportional to the quality of your posture, the way you move, and the way you can do a squat on two legs – and more precisely, how you do a single leg squat. Be aware of your posture and practice running tall and with good form.
Our muscles, tendons and ligaments are inherently elastic, allowing them to stretch as we move. However, if we don’t work to sustain flexibility as we age, we will lose that elasticity. If you have restrictions such tight hips or ankles, you need to work this out before you run. Do a proper warm up. To run better you have to move better. This means having a good balance between mobility, stability and strength. This is where flexibility and functional training comes into play. Running better doesn’t mean just doing more distance.
Making strength training a priority ensures that you strengthen your running- specific muscles. It is one of the best non-running ways for runners to boost performance. Lift weights, perform functional strength movements and train the core to improve running economy. Running requires you to absorb impact and balance on one leg, so your functional training should include exercises that address this key element of running.
Source: Jay Dicharry, Running Rewired