In this series “Bite Sized”, I give you small, practical and easy to implement tips to add on to your fitness routine. In this article, we go through 10 running tips to improve our runs!
Here are 10 Running Tips from UESCA and CSCS certified coach, Leon Tan, to help you improve your running and get you going!
YOUR OVERALL TRAINING ROUTINE
Tip #1: The 80/20 Rule
Many Elite Runners follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of their runs is at a low intensity and the other 20% at a high(er) intensity. This helps prevents over training and stagnation. Research has also shown that this rule is equally relevant whether we are training 4 times or 14 times a week. Running at lower intensity most of the time can actually improve your running more than going hard all the time!
BEFORE YOU START RUNNING
Tip #2 : Stretch it Out
Do some dynamic stretching prior to your run to improve the elasticity of your muscles and possibly reduce incidences of injuries. Target the shoulders, hips, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles as these are the main muscles you will utilise during your run.
Tip #3 : Warm Up
After stretching, don’t go bursting out of the gate! Start with at least 3 – 5 minutes of easy movements such as walking or jogging to your starting destination before gradually picking up the pace.
Tip #4 : Wear Protection
Singapore is one of the worst places in the world to run with regards to the weather (According to one Professor from NTU. Hello Mr Burns!). Protect yourself from heat injury and possible skin cancer by wearing adequate coverings such as a cap, sunglasses and put on some sunblock for good measure if you’re planning to run during the day!
NUTRITION & HYDRATION
Tip #5: Avoid Stomach Issues
If you have a run planned, watch what you eat before the run. Avoid foods that are spicy, oily, fibrous and fatty as these foods can lead to gastrointestinal problems more easily. They might also take longer to digest. Consider eating foods richer in simple carbohydrates for easier digestion and energy instead.
Tip #6: Hydrate Yourself
If you’re running for longer distances or a longer period of time, remember to keep yourself hydrated throughout your run. Consider bringing along a small water bottle or run a route with water points along the way.
I usually bring along a small water bottle which I bought from Decathlon for runs 10km and up!
Tip #7: Everyone is Different
The types and amount of food and liquids that one can take before and during a run will vary from person to person. This is especially important if you are planning to race someday. It will be smart to test out and log down different types of food and drinks to have pre-run or during your run during your practice sessions. Find something that you are comfortable with, doesn’t affect your performance negatively and stick to it!
Tip #8: Keep A Running Log
Most of us train to become fitter. Keeping a running log helps us to track progress with concrete data which allows us to check on how we are doing and whether we need to make any changes to our program. Nowadays, there are many free run trackers such as Nike Run Club or Runkeeper. Personally, I use Strava!
Tip #9: Use the Power of Community
It’s can be much more motivating to run with others or have a group to be accountable to. Consider joining your local run group or create your own with your friends/colleagues! Share your goals and hold each other accountable and get running together. You can also join Virtual Running Groups such as the Strongertmr Run Club! Feel free to join us!
Tip #10: Use the Treadmill
Switch it up sometimes and use the treadmill! While the treadmill might be boring, a 2014 study by Kaplan et al. found that when running outside, the foot strikes the ground with 201 percent of one’s body weight whereas running on a treadmill results in 175 percent of one’s body weight. So by running on the treadmill, we can provide our joints which some much needed rest and recovery even while still getting our miles in.
Try out some of these running tips and you can improve your running over time. If you want some other tips on running, check out my other article, 4 Lessons I’ve Learnt From Running in 30 Days!