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How To Make The Most Out Of Running.

Updated on February 10, 2013

Benefits Of Regular Running

Looking to get into running? Run regularly already? Either way, this blog will contain numerous ideas and proven methodolgy which will enable you to get more out of your runs.

Running is a great endurance sport and can be effective at reducing fat percentages. It is not the best at losing weight, but certainly helps and creates a great deal of endurance within the leg muscles involved. Not only this, running has been proven to increase chemicals within the brain which greatly affect an individual's mood, such chemical include; dopamine, serotonin and adrenline. Running regularly will increase the level of oxygen in blood, consequently making you more mentally alert. Obviously these are physical and biological effects. However, running also affects individuals on a physchological level as well. Runner will often feel a sense of self-confidence and achievement. Some runners find it relaxing, due to the physical requirement needed to run and the steady pace of such an activity, you can allow your mind to clear and wander off into thoughts.

How To Improve Your Stride

If you want to increase your running to the next level, here are some tips and hints which can help to do exactly that.

When running, most people will land on the heel of their foot then step down and push up off the ball of their foot. However, when landing on the heel of the foot, a runners' leg is often straight, this sends the shock of the landing straight up into the knee joint. Over time this can weaken the knee joint and even give problems in later life. This problem is greatly increased, if you happen to run on concrete or hard surfaces. The solution to this, is to reverse the process. (No, I do not mean run backwards!) Instead when you land from each stride, try to place the ball of your foot on the ground first, then push straight up and off the same ball. This will allow your knee to bend as you land therefore absorbing the shock off the landing throughout the whole leg, as oppose to letting it hit the knee joint and cartilage straight on. This will improve calve definition greatly and even condition your quadriceps at the same time. If you have been running for some time andhave been constantly landing on the heel, then I would seriously suggest making the change now. This will make your run much harder and you will feel fatigued quicker as your muscles are simply not used to this foreign movement. Initially you may find that it is uncomfortable and you have to think about every step, but in the long run (excuse the pun) it is definitively worth it. To being the transition from heel to ball, I would recommend trying to lands on the flat of your foot first while running, then once this feels natural, lean forward a little more and move to the ball of the foot.

It is common for runners who are new to the sport to land with a heavy foot. Seeming to be very plod-like when they run. Always try to be as light and 'floaty' as you can be when running, try to almost glide along the ground. This will once again, relieve pressure in the joints and make the muscles endure the activity to a greater extent, giving you endurance at the end of the day.

Really swing those arms! Someone once said to me, "Your legs will only move as fast as your countering arms are moving..." Which initially, I thought was the biggest load of rubbish i had heard, surely my legs and arms are separate and i can perform the same without my arms? Wrong. Every step you make, the opposite arm swings forwards, keeping the body balanced and not loosing the momentum or speed going forward. As an aim, try to get your arms to about a 60-70 degree angle away from your torso. This will give you balance forward momentum, taking you into the next step. Not only this, but when you try to speed up the swinging of your arms when running, you will notice an involuntary action which results in your legs also speeding up. Creating a faster pace.

Do you go out jogging/running, but are not fit enough to actually jog/run at a effient pace? Experts say that, if you are jogging at a pace slower then 6mph then it is more efficient and better for your joints just to, in fact, walk..... Go if you want to go running but lack the current fitness to do so, do not rush into it. Build up some simple endurance by walking first. Then when you become fitter you will be able to run, increasing the calories burnt and the muscle endurance.

Look forward. When you start off a run, it is easy to remain looking forward, but eventually when fatigue starts to effect you, you may find yourself looking downward more, not necessarily at your feet, (This does happen however) but at a closer part of the ground ahead then before. BUPA Health Care Experts say that you need to, "focus on a point 20-30 metres away from wherever you are at one point in time." This is apparently the proven optimum distance for staying motivated to complete that distance ahead. Running with a focus view of the area ahead is not only key for, avoiding potential obstacles and staying mentally motivated, but will also help you keep your posture correct while running, preventing you from curling your back, or developing neck ache.

On to the hips now. You will often see runners whose legs either go out to the sides a little with each stride or potentially inward. Obviously this has negative impacts on your running efficiency. The feet need to land in line with your hips, just as if you were still upright with your feet shoulder width apart. So do not feel the need to go out to the sides. This sounds obvious, but it a common mistake that I have correct people on, time and time again.

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Is Fat Loss Your Reason For Running?

If you are running before you are striving to loose a few pounds or more, then there are several things you can do to burn more calories then just simply going out and running.

The most important thing is loosing weight is finding that, 'sweat-zone,' and staying in it. By this, I mean, that moment when you feel you want to stop, when you feel that burn, this is when you will be most profficent to burn calories. Consequently, to help the fat loss run until you are sweating. If you are not sweating, you have not challenged yourself, and the poor results will only be your own fault.

Time yourself! I can not stress this enough! It is common for people to develop running tracks or routes which they take when going for a run. However most people will do the route and then think that they have suddenly got worse, or are suddenly much fitter. When really there are too many variables to be able to decide this without the time of time! Get a journal or a notebook and calculate the distance your personal route is. Then get a stop watch. Time yourself and record it. Each and every run you should be looking at beating the previous time recorded. Obviously the fitter you are the harder it is to beat the time. You may find eventually you are sprinting the majority of the route. If this is the case, you will be burning many more calories and will aid the fat loss in a positive way. However, it is advised to increase the distance of your route or change it. If you find yourself bored, or what a new challenge, then increase the distance of the route. Again recording and consistently trying to beat the time you are running. There are some excellent applications out there for smart phones at the moment, which are ideal for this. I use www.mapmyrun.com which provides accurate distance measurements, timings, estimated calorie loss among many other features.

Remember to loose fat, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet, relying on running alone will not loose nowhere near as much fat as combining it with a healthy stable diet. On top of this, running is not the best form for burning calories. Consider combining it with some short high intensity exercises straight after the run to really see the pounds fall.

Tips To Improve Endurance

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    • CarNoobz profile image

      CarNoobz 4 years ago from USA

      I used to love running, but my knees and feet can't take the pounding anymore. But walking is cool too =)

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