We know runners are happier, more grateful, regulate stress better, sleep better and interestingly actually have healthier knee joints and discs in their back (despite the myths).
So here are our top 5 tips to keep you running stronger, longer and injury free.
Wait, that’s not a running tip? Let us explain. You’ve committed to your physical health, now is the time to ‘one up’ your mental game.
Recent studies show us that meditation improves healing time by 20%. This means not only do you get the mental benefits, but your body will recover faster for your next run. Kiecolt-Glaser JK et al. Slowing of wound healing by psychological stress. The Lancet. Nov 1995. 346(8984):1194-1196.
Meditation reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Did you know that within 7-minutes of producing cortisol your IQ drops significantly, leading to poorer decision making. 10-minutes of meditation keeps your sharper for longer.
So, go on, add that extra 10-minutes of ‘me time’ to improve your running journey. We recommend using the calm app (free).
2. ‘Play’ with your cadence
Cadence is simply how many steps you take per minute or your step rate. Most runners sit between 150-170 steps per minute. Changing your cadence can significantly reduce the load of running on certain parts of your body.
A small increase in cadence can reduce the load on your knees and hips by 20% and 12% respectively.
To increase your cadence just take shorter faster steps. You can listen to spotify playlists at 160BPM or 170BPM to see what it feels like.
Play with this over short distances just to see how it feels. When you really increase your cadence you will find you feel like you’re on your toes and using your calf muscles more.
When you slow your cadence you will feel heavier and like your on the back of your feet more.
There’s no right or wrong. Generally higher cadence helps hips and knees and lower cadence helps foot and ankles. If you’ve got some niggles, play with your cadence.
3. Basic Strength Work – Don’t Over Do It
Simple strength exercises can reduce your risk of injury between 30-60%. More importantly, they make running easier (and faster).
A common mistake is runners doing 5 or more exercises when really, at the beginning, focussing on 2-3 good exercises with quality and control is the key.
3 key areas you want to target are;
Glute Medius – crab walks to help the muscles on the side of your hip. Glute Max – a hip bridge to help your big strong propulsion muscle. Quads and Control – A slow single leg squat to emulate running. Bonus points, not in the video below, calf raises are also super valuable.
4. Rolling to recover quicker
Foam rolling can help reduce your muscles soreness and stiffness in the next 24-48 hours after running. This will allow you to run in 2-3 days time on a lighter, looser and happier feeling body.
Here’s some simple rolling examples for you:
5. Sleep & Eat Well, Most Importantly, Enjoy your Running
Nothing recovers your body better than great sleep and nutrition.
Studies show us that injury risk increases by 1.7 times when your sleep drops below 7.5 hours. We understand this isn’t always realistic but a great goal to aim for.
Lastly, smile on your runs… gratitude releases the good stuff in your brain and body and make you run faster I reckon. :)
Here to help
We love helping runners. If you have any questions, want a running assessment, a basic strength program or you’re fighting off niggles. Get in touch with us and we’ll put you on the right path.
As always feel free to message us on the chat box, email or book in online at 1 of our 5 locations in Sydney;