How to get better at running (without running)
I'm not built like a runner. I have a strong base, but I'm on the beefy side. My torso is large and bulky. I'm a little overweight. I'm basically the opposite of a gazelle.
But I have non-physical qualities that make me well suited for running, I'm stubborn. When I start something I have to finish it. I value efficiency. I like measured progress. The mental aspects of my running abilities help me get off of the couch and onto the road.
Running is about a lot more than just running. By the time you lace up your shoes, you're 90% of the way there.
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Get Better Without Logging A Mile
To get better you have to get out and
log miles. But there's much more to
becoming a better runner than simply
logging miles. Here are a few of the small
things you can do to become a better runner.
No additional mileage is required.
Workout of the Week: The Foam Roll
What is it?Ok, so it's not exactly a workout, but it's important! Even if your running biomechanics and form are perfect, you're inevitably going to find some areas that get tight or unhappy. If you don't already own a foam roller, get one. Using a foam roller on a regular basis is a great way to improve range of motion and expedite recovery. In short, use a foam roller for just a few minutes after every run and you'll be a better runner without logging a mile.
How to execute it:
- Spend 20-30 seconds doing some quality self-massage of all the major muscle groups (calves, illiotibial bands, quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors, gluteus maximus, etc). If you find a particular area to be sensitive, it could use some foam rolling.
- Lower the sore spot onto the foam roller so that the roller is between the ground and the muscle. Lower it until you reach a point of discomfort, but not pain, and hold it there.
- Wait 20-30 seconds.
- The pressure alone is helpful, but rolling slowly back and forth is even better.
- Don't forget to breathe!
Why you should do it? Foam rolling helps runners increase range of motion and decrease recovery time after a hard workout. Though it can be uncomfortable, it is an important part of running maintenance.
Need help? Hit reply and we'll give you some personalized guidance.
Pro Tip: Treat Yourself
The overwhelming majority of the discomfort and pain our runners report is tied to soft tissue. Soft tissue includes muscle, tendon, ligament, and fascia. Soft tissue tightens and contracts when you run. Running also creates microtears in muscle fiber.
Left untreated, unhappy soft tissue can lead to poor performance, aggravations, and injuries. A quality sports massage is all about making soft tissue happy. If your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia are happy, you'll likely be running happy.
Additionally, a quality sports massage can help improve your range of motion. Improved range of motion means improved running economy and efficiency. So, treat yourself and get a quality sports massage.
Don't think of sports massage as a
luxury or indulgence. Think of it as
a 'tune up'. We pulled in the experts
over at PSOAS Massage/Bodywork to
break it down for us.
SportMe Highlight: Run Types
When you get your training plan on
SportMe, you'll see all sorts of run types
designed to improve different aspects of
your running. These include Long Runs,
Fartlek, Track, Tempo, and Target Pace,
to name a few. Change things up a bit and try
switching up your run types for a challenge.
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