Falling in love with running was how my fitness journey began. From being abysmal at it and dreading every run, it became the best hour of my day. Being out in nature (I was running in the glorious trails available in the SF Bay Area), slowly warming up in the cold as you are running and breathing in that crisp, cold air was invigorating. And alien.
I don't run much now but whenever I do, I use these 3 fundamentals. Each of these can be a long, technical post in itself. But I am going to let you just skim this and if there's any actual interest, I'll explore these in depth at a later point in time.
Breathe through your nose.
This makes it a self-limiting activity and ensures that your aerobic system is working as the primary fuel system.
This is simple to test out - sprint 400m. You will want to open your mouth and breathe. Your body is craving more oxygen and so is bypassing the nose. But the nose has a lot of magic in it.
When you breathe through your nose, you will run at a pace that works for you. It is that simple.
#2: Glute activation
Our glutes went to sleep many years ago and it is imperative that we wake them up. The glutes are the powerhouse of the body and will help you run faster and better. Also, the pesky knee pain you face when you climb stairs or run - that's coz of weak and tight glutes.
Buy a resistance band and do any/all forms of glute activation drills that you can do. Here are a few. 3 sets of the following will change your next running session.
- glute bridges. Loop the band over your knees (just above them). Lie down. Push your heels into the floor and drive your hips up and squeeze your glutes. Squeeze for 3 seconds. Do 10 reps.
- lateral band walk. Loop the band over your knees. Walk 10 paces to the left. Walk 10 paces to the right. Repeat again.
- squats with a band around the knee. Squat down and push your knees out against the band. You will feel your glutes (the medius) as you push the knee out and you will feel a different part of the glutes when you bounce out of the bottom. 10 squats.
Glute activation is the single biggest change you can do to change your running.
#3: Make less noise
Pay attention to the sound your footsteps make. Figure out how to be softer.
When you are making lesser noise, your technique has improved by a huge factor. You can break this down, do gait analysis, find the right running shoes, pore over 100s of videos. Or you can just figure out how to make this change happen.
For a casual runner, any of these can create a large impact on your running. Do all 3 and watch your running improve faster than ever before.
If you try out any of these, do let me know how it went.