Top tips for a comfortable run
From dealing with a stitch to staying motivated, check out our no-nonsense tips to help you feel fab on your runs...
We can all run
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 - whether you're pounding the pavements or exploring new countryside routes.
It’s easy to let your body sag when you’re starting to flag. So 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 up your chest so you can breath more easily, helping to send lots of run-fuelling oxygen to your muscles. If in doubt, just imagine you’re jogging in front of the Queen. 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. Her Majesty would be proud
Don’t get stitched up
Far from being a sign of unfitness, the dreaded side-stitch is actually 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 then 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.
Strike a pose
Yoga and running are a match made in heaven. That’s because yoga lengthens muscles, realigns joints and stabilises your body by strengthening your core - all of which will help you to run with confidence and style. And you don’t have to be a yoga pro. Just picking-up a few running-specific postures, like quad and hamstring stretches, will reap rewards. Want to go a little further? Why not! We promise learning more poses will make your post-workout stretch session a lot more fun.
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, but 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 really helpful. Concentrate on expanding your belly as you breath 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 sat behind 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 of 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.
As much as running has the power to make your day amazing, sometimes life means you miss your session. That’s OK! Fitness is built up gradually, and you only start to lose it after two weeks of not running. So as long as you make your next running session then don’t stress, you’re still on track.
Put a running date in the calendar
If you do find yourself slipping and skipping jogs too often, why not sign up for an organised run? We know it sounds daunting, but there’s loads of options for every ability and it’s really good for keeping on you on track.
Find your nearest RunTogether Group run here.