As a runner you might be wondering how you can improve your running performance without increasing your mileage? In this article, we are sharing 5 simple tips that will improve your running performance and keep you healthy, strong, and injury-free.
The intention is to warm up the body, move the blood around the legs, and get ready for your run. A short warm-up can increase your flexibility and mobility and decrease chances of injury.
Here is a 5-minutes warm-up routine that you can do prior to your run:
2. Running Technique
Running might look easy, but in fact, it is a little more complicated than just putting one foot in front of another. In order to run well and prevent injuries, it is important to adapt to the right running technique: Here are a few things that you can think about during your next run:
Land softly on the midfoot (avoid heel striking)
Land under your body (avoid overstriding)
Take short strides and aim for a cadence of 176 - 180 steps per minute (If you want to run faster, take more steps but keep the strides short)
As well as thinking about cadence you want to think about leg turnover (focusing on driving the knee up and forward, followed by bringing the foot under your body and not in front of your body)
3. Core Strength
One of the most important things to improve running form and efficiency is to develop a strong core. The runner's core involves hips, glutes, lower back, as well as the smaller muscles around your abs. Imagine your core being the trunk of a tree - the stronger, the more stable, and the less prone you are to imbalances that can result in an injury.
Here is a 12 minutes Core Workout Routine for Runners:
Hip mobility exercises are great in general and very beneficial for runners. They will help you stay agile, prevent injury, and enable you to make use of your full range of motion while running.
Follow this 16 minutes Mobility Workout for Runners:
Recovery is essential to improve your running performance. Two of the most important and most simple ways to support your body's recovery are sleep and nutrition.
About 8 hours of good quality sleep a night keeps your immune system strong and your energy levels up. Sleep also improves focus, repairs damaged muscle tissue and strengthens your bones. With that said sleep is key for improving athletic performance and for staying away from injuries.
Taking in the right fuel before, during, and after your run will have a big impact on your performance. It is recommended to eat mainly carbs prior to your run as too much fat and protein are harder to digest and can cause tiredness. If you are going for a longer run, you also want to refuel mid-run with water and electrolytes. Furthermore, it is important to refuel your body with the right micro- and macronutrients within 15-30 minutes after completing a run as this will help repair damaged cells and muscle tissue and make your body feel less sore, so you can get more out of your next run.