- After your warm-up, try running at an easy training pace, throwing in bursts of speed for various distances throughout the run. Vary the speed and times of the speed sections, from as short as 15 seconds to as long as 2-3 minutes. Between these bursts, allow yourself enough recovery time to match roughly 2/3 of the effort time.
- As we get older, the need to do a proper warm-up and cool-down is paramount. Since our muscles become brittle and lose their elasticity as we grow older, the chances of injury increase dramatically. By taking 10 to 15 minutes to thoroughly warm-up your muscles before a workout, you could save yourself from months of time off due to injury. Stretching is important, but never stretch cold muscles. Before you begin your stretching routine jog lightly to warm-up your muscles.
- There are no hard and fast rules as to how to run as everyone has their own style. However, here are a few pointers to help improve your performance:
Head – Look straight ahead and focus on a point 10 to 15 metres in front. Try to run in a straight line.Body – Keep you body upright with your back straight. Try not to lean, even when running up hill.Arms – Let your arms swing naturally and in rhythm with your legs while loosely cupping your hands.Feet – Naturally, the ball of the foot lands first, followed by the heel and the toes push off a fraction after that.
- On an average day we need to drink about two liters of fluid a day to be properly hydrated. During training you will need more than this as we lose on average 500-1000ml of fluid per hour. If you exercise while dehydrated, your temperature can rise quickly and cause heatstroke, which is potentially fatal. The colour of your urine is probably the easiest indicator of fluid loss. If it’s pale and plentiful you’re well hydrated, whereas if it’s dark and sparse, you need more fluid. A loss of just 2% in your body weight may affect your ability to exercise and a 4% loss can cause exhaustion. When you are competing, for every 1% drop in body weight there’s about a 5% drop in performance.
- Every runner has experienced a stitch – that sudden sharp pain in the side of the upper abdomen at the base of the ribs. The pain is caused by a spasm of the diaphragm. A stitch will usually go away quickly after slowing down or stopping. However, you can often make it go away by bringing your breathing into careful control during running.
- Concentrate on belly breathing, pushing your belly out when you breathe in and relaxing it as you breathe out. Take deep breaths on the intake, and exhale suddenly, even noisily. To get the diaphragm to contract in rhythm with your steps, try to inhale and exhale as you land on your left foot. This can help prevent spasms by encouraging the diaphragm to bounce along in sync with your stride.