Tight hips, stitches, back pain and fluctuating energy levels can be a problem for casual and intermediate runners. Running is a full-body workout, or at least it should be, so if you’re doing it right, sure, it’s going to tax you in lots of different ways.
We love running, and to celebrate the arrival of summer, we’re sharing some of our top tips for improving and making the most of your running and recovery time.
Warm up and stretch
All too often we don’t give our bodies enough time to warm up before a run. I’ll be ok once I’m moving. Tell that to your hamstrings and lower back, who’ve gone from sitting down, to kilometers of vigorous stretching and pounding. Not to mention your chronically tight modern-day hip flexors.
Take plenty of time to warm up and stretch before going on your run. Afterwards, ideally a few hours later once your muscles have settled down, really stretch them out. We love this routine from YogaTX.
Tip: Stretching immediately after your run is ok, but your muscles are already lengthened then. Stretch later, when they tighten up.
Use your core
Notice what your core is doing when you run; many of us arch our backs in a subconscious attempt to open our chests and get more air in. It doesn’t work, and all that you’re doing is putting lots of stress on your lower back. It won’t be long before your back gives in and you end up walking.
Instead, think about keeping your abs engaged as you run. Running is a full-body exercise, and your core is a fundamental part of running well and safely.
Nobody’s entirely sure what causes a stitch — jostled organs and decreased bloodflow to the diaphragm have been suggested — but they hurt, and we’d like to prevent them.
Our advice, is to not eat anything sizeable in the hour or so before running, and to make sure your back and midline are fully stretched and warm. Try MyProtein Almond Butter with a slice of banana bread to energise before your run.
Stay out of your heels
Inexperienced runners often run with their heels hitting the ground first. That’s inefficient and not so great for your knees and back.
The below video gives a great overview of some of the more detailed aspects of running technique, and covers leaning forwards, landing on the front of your feet, and using your upper body to create momentum.
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