Running tips for the casual (yet secretly competitive) runner.
I like to consider myself to be a casual, yet consistent runner. I average about 8-10km of running every second day, and I hope to keep it up for many years to come. I really enjoy running, and would love to share some of my helpful (and sometimes silly) knowledge with you. What I have collected over the years are a few tips for maximizing running potential. More specifically, I’ve created a list of things to do while running in order to keep your body happy and comfortable during those long hauls. From popping into running clinics, conducting my own research, chatting with active friends, and simply doing what feels good, here is what I have come up with.
1 – Bring a light water bottle with you on your runs. Some people prefer to run without water, but I find that in order to run long distances (especially on trails) I have to stay hydrated. My favorite water bottle to date is the CamelBak Chill 21oz. Here is a little tip, make sure to switch hands while you run so that you are evenly distributing the weight. I have a few friends who carried heavy water bottles consistently in the same hand and misaligned their spin.
2 – Go barefoot. As I mentioned before in a previous post, make sure your transition to a barefoot runner is gradual. Also, do not run over 10km in your barefoot runners. I have had the most comfortable runs with my New Balance Minimus 20 trail runner, and my Nike Free’s.
3 – Keep your upper body relaxed. Even if this means looking ridiculous by letting your mouth hang open for bugs to fly in, then so be it. In keeping your upper body (waist-up) relaxed, you will prevent cramping and help regulate deep breathing.
4 – Take Acidophilus pills before you run. I do not recommend this for everyone, but I have always had an issue with digestion prior to my runs. When I would eat before my run (which is usually at least 45 mins before) I developed the worst stomach cramps. After experimenting with many things (ex: eating a banana before my run, not eating, eating less, drinking lots of water beforehand, etc.), I decided to go ask a professional runner. A woman at the Running Room told me to take 2 Acidophilus pills before my next run. Acidophilus is the most commonly used probiotic, and its most frequent use is in helping to keep the digestive system running smoothly. For me, Acidophilus helps me digest and break down the food I eat so that I can run without cramping up. Take 2 pills 20-30 minutes before running.
5 – If your knees feel it, buy a “patella” (knee) sleeve. When I run on cement I feel sore in my right knee afterward. Over the years of playing competitive sports I have developed a tracking issue with my knee, which means that when I run my knee cap shifts out-of-place as the leg bends or straightens. I swear by my neoprene sleeve, and I have never had an issue when I run with it!
6 – Stretch your lower back. After you run, while you are completing your stretches, make sure to pay special attention to your lower back. A lot of people forget the toll running takes on their back, because they usually feel sore the next day in their legs.
7 – Double knot your shoe laces. It is the worst thing EVER when your laces come undone during a run!
*These tips are optional, and may not work for everyone!