I have been running for almost 15 years now.
What started as an effort to overcome some career challenges has evolved into a nice and healthy habit.
For the record, I run 5 Kms something like twice a week. My pace is not super high, neither is it slow. I do 5 Kms in about 25 minutes, my best time is just below 24 min.
I run on a long stretch of private road that belongs to the Indian Railways which still ends up getting a decent amount of general traffic – that is India for you.
While I follow some fairly basic techniques while running, last few months I wanted to dig up as many useful tips and suggestions to run better. By better I do not necessarily mean faster though I would really like to get my time to as close as possible to 20 minutes. By better I mean that I wished to make each run more meaningful, more healthy and less of a torture – so, there is the confession, running is still pretty difficult for me, even after having run 5 Kms many hundreds of times!
So, here are some interesting ideas, concepts and tips I found on how we can run better. These are not necessarily for 5 Km run, but for folks who wish to run decent and long distances, including marathon (another confession: I have never even tried running a full marathon)
- Don’t just keep trying 5 Km and 10 Km thingies. Sometimes, try different types of running, for instance, scrambles.
- Eat healthy breakfast if you would be running in the morning and a decent lunch too if you would be running in the evening (as I do). In fact, I am aware of days when I had poor food – running was a real torture, I was barely able to run even half the usual distance of 5 Kms!
- If you want to run really well, get a coach. Sure, this is not for every one, but if you are rich and are really ambitious about your running, a good coach can make all the difference (I don’t have one – I am neither rich, nor am super ambitious about running, just reasonably excited)
- Keep a log – OK, this is a standard recommendation, but keep it. It is good fun, and it helps you understand your progress – I keep it in a simple XLS spreadsheet. I tried using the zing fangled wearable technologies some years back, but am more comfortable to keep a simple table of speed, and broken up into timings at 5 different milestones along the way.
- Run early in the morning – I have rarely been able to do this, but am still trying. Almost 90% of all my runs have been in the evenings, mostly on weekends when I can afford to start running before 6 in the evening.
- Practice good posture – not just while running, but all the time. Especially the time you are watching TV or you are at your computer!
- Stay flexible – I mean physical flexibility, which you can get through simple stretches every day, and also through some yoga asanas.
- Have a pre-run routine. Something akin to a warm up with some healthy practices included. For instance, it could be something like this: Sixty minutes before your run, have a bottle of sports drink. Half an hour before the run, do a 3-minute jog and simple stretching exercises to loosen the legs.
- Practice short strides/sprints before any big road race.
- Do alternate jogs and sprint practices
- Do rope jumping
- Use light sneakers
- Do these 5 abs exercises for a faster run – See here the abs exercises.
- Learning how to breathe during running takes practice. Well, practise it! The overall idea is to inhale as much oxygen as possible through your nose and mouth, and also ensuring you fill your stomach, and not just your chest, with each inhalation
- Avoid junk food and sugary stuff, try whole grains, pasta etc for energy
- Run up the hill, or if you do not have a hill or an upsloping road next to you, run up the stairs. This builds muscle strength
- Some strength training sessions can go a long way in you running much better and faster
- Look ahead while running, and not to the side or downwards
- Drinking coffee (without much sugar) can give you an extra dose of speed, call it the caffeine effect. And it is legal!
- Strip down – OK, hang on. Less clothes on your body, easier to run.
- Do running planks 2-3 times a week. What are running planks? See here
- Try to minimize the tension in your upper body
- Floss your feet
- Slow down your breathing, relax a little
- Do third-world squats for improved stride
- Do running backwards and sidewards routines during work outs
- Keep your mind as empty as possible and don’t let it think too much about your body
- Do plyometric moves like box jumps
- Do downhill running with easy jogs to the top
- Land softer
- Repeat simple “mantras” while running
- Tabata training – run full speed for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest or very slow jogging, repeast this 6-8 times
- Find out and use the ideal lacing pattern for your shoes
- Don’t stretch justy before you run – do some brisk walking and a slow jog
- Once in a while, run without your watch and run for pure fun
- Get an expert shoe fitting
- Put on a happy and smiling face
- Find landmarks along the way and work them one by one – I do this all time, and it works like magic
Other good links
- 27 ways to run better every day – Link
- 25 ways to run faster now – Link
- 20 ways to run faster – Link
- 5 quick fixes to improve your running – Link
- 23 strategies for running your best 5 K – Link
- Some really unique running tips from experts on Shape – Link
- 18 ways to change up your running routine – Link
- 101 running tips – Link
How to run properly for beginners
Correct techniques and tips to run faster
Dorsiflexion foot & angle