I’ve been giving out a lot of tips about how to get better at running lately, so I thought I’d write a post collating all of my best tips and tricks. I feel qualified to do so since I used to nearly die and get a stitch from running to the end of the road, and now I’m well on my way to running 10k.
1. Breathe. This sounds obvious, but once you get your breath under control, it gets SO much easier. Try breathing in for 3 steps, out for 2.
2. Warm up and cool down! Don’t just step out of your front door and start running, then come to a sharp halt when you reach the door again. Walk at a brisk pace for at least 5 minutes at the start, and then 5 minutes again at the end to cool down. Stretching is also super important, especially after your run. I did an IGTV of the ideal cool down for runners, you can check it out here.
3. Posture. If you’re hunching your shoulders or dropping your chin to look at the floor, then you’re restricting your airways and therefore more likely to get a stitch. Think about rolling your shoulders back and down and keeping them relaxed in order to open up your chest, and keeping a nice long neck – it’s fine to look at the floor but make sure you’re doing it with your eyes and not your whole head. Also engage your core.
4. Use your arms. I personally didn’t ever used to think about what my arms were doing, but since I did I noticed a lot of benefit. You want to keep your arms at around a 90 degree angle, but don’t hold tension in them and keep your hands soft. Gently swing your arms back and forth in time with your feet and you should notice an increase in your pace.
5. Lean slightly forward. Not too much, just slightly forward to ease you into a momentum. It’s so much harder if you’re leaning back and also affects the way your legs take the impact.
6. Find a supportive sports bra. This is so important and honestly will make your running so much easier when you find a bra that is comfortable and supports you well enough. You can find my favourite here.
*Disclaimer: Berlei sent me a selection of their sports bras to try out in exchange for posting photos and my opinions of them*
7. Pay attention to your feet. Generally, if you’re on a distance run, you want to go through your foot putting the heel down first, through the middle of your foot to your toes. For faster paced running, sprinting or uphill, you can go straight from the middle of your foot.
8. Strengthen your hip flexors, calves and achilles. These are the main areas that are affecting by running and can result in some strain. If you work on conditioning exercises or Pilates around the area that bothers you most, you can build strength in that area which will then contribute to easier running.
9. Pace yourself. Lots of people give up too soon because they start off too fast and then find that they can’t sustain the pace and think they simply can’t run at all. Start off slow, you might feel like you’re barely going faster than a walk, but it’s better to start that way and you can build up speed over time.
10. Download a running app. I have the 10k app, but C25K is popular. I also recommend Strava for tracking your stats and distance etc. I actually don’t really use the set runs now on 10k because I prefer to just get out and run for as long or little as I want to, but I do use Strava and Fitbit to track my stats.
11. Make a great playlist! The right music is everything to me when I run, it’s a make or break situation. Here is my playlist if you’d like to borrow it!
Hate running but want to get fit while you’re in lockdown? Have a look at these other ways to get fit in isolation.