Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Running is known to benefit weight loss, building stamina, maintaining sobriety and much more. However, running too much or doing it the wrong way can not only be ineffective but may even cause injuries. Other common causes of running injury include extreme stress on the body, inadequate training, muscle weakness and inappropriate footwear. This blog will cover the right techniques to run and other tips to avoid injuries and build your stamina.
The following are some of the most important things to keep in mind to ensure that you are getting the most out of your run.
Warming up is often the most overlooked step before any workout. However, it is essential that you ensure your breathing is proper (especially if you have breathing problems such as asthma) and loosen up your muscles. Jumping jacks, hip rotations and lunges are all good ways to start your workout routine.
Did you know there was a right way to breathe? Following the right breathing technique helps you run longer and reduce fatigue. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to reduce tension and strengthen your muscles.
If you’re running at a relatively slower pace, you may breathe through your nose. However, if you’re aiming for sprints, it may be easier for you to inhale and exhale through your mouth since it allows more oxygen to enter your body.
One of the most important things to keep in mind while running is to maintain proper form. Make sure you look right in front of you while running, aligning your neck with your spine.
Your shoulders must be open, maintaining good posture. Both shoulders should be moving in opposite directions. Make a right angle with your arms and keep your elbows close to your body which gives you the momentum you need.
Although it seems minor, your hands should be relaxed so that you have all the energy you need while keeping your core tight. The torso would still move as you move your legs, but a tight core ensures good posture.
You should lean forward in a way that your torso is slightly in front of your hips. Lastly, make sure your knee is right above your foot throughout each stride. This posture will enable you to easily land on your midfoot, the part of your foot that offers the most cushioning.
Wear Appropriate Running Gear
As with any sport, wearing appropriate gear is extremely important. This doesn’t mean that you have to run to the nearest running store and buy the most expensive items. Let’s start small. Make sure you have the right shoes.
This is the most important aspect when it comes to running gear. Choose what fits your body type and running style best. You could have cushioned shoes which might be heavier or lightweight shoes. Take into consideration the type of surface you will be running on. For example, shoes that are meant for treadmills or tracks would have a thinner tread than shoes for trails. It is also important to have shoes that provide the appropriate amount of support based on how much your ankles pronate (turn in) or supinate (turn out) when you land. Landing correctly affects not only your feet, but your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back as well.
Avoid wearing clothes that are 100% cotton and definitely don’t wear heavy layers, even during winter. This may cause your body to overheat and sweat excessively. Socks might be the clothing item that you’re usually least concerned about, but while running, make sure you don’t wear thick socks that might cause your feet to swell up.
How to Build and Maintain Stamina
Maintaining your stamina can be difficult, especially if you’re a new runner. Keep reading to find out how to make your regular runs less dreadful and rather fun!
You can’t build stamina overnight. Consistency is key to both building and maintaining the energy you need to exercise and do other activities. Ideally, you should be running six days a week while you give yourself one day to recover.
That being said, this should be a gradual process. Acknowledge the signs your body is giving you. Sometimes you may just need to rehydrate or take a break, but other times it may be time for you to stop.
As much as you want to run that extra mile, it’s important for you to stop when your body tells you to in order to avoid any injuries.
It goes without saying that a healthy and balanced diet can do wonders when it comes to building your stamina. Eggs, brown rice, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, spinach and peanut butter are just a few examples of the type of food that you must add to your diet.
Strength training is not only important for mobility and lower risk of injury but also helps with flexibility. It strengthens your muscles which support your body while running. Therefore, in order to be able to run for a longer time, adding exercises such as push-ups, burpees, squats and planks to your routine may be a good idea.
If you’re not someone who usually does these exercises, don’t let it intimidate you. Start with a 5-minute workout and then work your way up. If this is already what your workout routine looks like, take it to the next level. Add in some weights or use resistance bands.
Join a Running Group
Whenever you’re doing something difficult, doing it with your friends or another group makes it a little easier. Fun fact: According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association in 2017, there are more than 47 million joggers and runners in the United States. There are also various running groups dedicated to a certain cause or group of people. Running with a group not only helps you run for a longer period but also helps you enjoy it!
Prepare yourself physically as well as emotionally
You can follow all these tips and still not be ready to run if you are not mentally prepared. For example, even thinking about going for a 10-mile run can be demotivating. Instead, think of it as 2 5-miles sessions or 5 2-miles sessions. This makes the goal seem much simpler and more attainable.
Join Us for a Run
Strides in Recovery is a nonprofit based in Los Angeles that brings goal-oriented group walking/running programs to addiction recovery communities (residential, PHP/IOP, outpatient, and community-based groups). We make fitness fun and uplifting, and our recovery-focused messaging helps participants translate experiences from training into life lessons that support long term recovery. To learn more about bringing a program to your addiction recovery community or about joining an existing group , email us at info@StridesInRecovery.org.