5 Ways to Run Better

running in the sun
--Photo by philippe.charles9

Many people always have a problem with running. It's difficult to do consistently, and when we do run we tend to give up too early. We get distracted by our own thoughts and start walking instead.

On the rare occasions that we do have a good run, though, we would feel great about it. If we know its benefits, why can't we keep it up?

Here's a couple things can vastly improved a run. These tips aren't for those marathon runners or early-bird joggers. These are for anyone who like most people have had trouble being consistent about running.

1. Run to new places

Don't worry about getting lost. Try a new running course, run to a different part of town, see areas of your city that you haven't seen before.

Seeing the same scenery can get boring- which makes treadmills a terrible idea for those who get bored easily. Exploring, however, can be very exciting. So if you've got even a sliver of an explorer's mindset, try running to new places. Think of your run like going on a drive. When you're seeing new streets, new people, new neighbourhoods and shops, the pain of running becomes secondary. Don't run to the same place twice. It's fun to see new things, so you'll want to keep running and discover more.

2. Sets lots of mini-goals on your run

When you're first getting into a running routine (which can feel like every run we go on when we do those month-long 'breaks' so often) you're not going to be in the best of shape. It's easy to get excited about getting back in shape, and setting yourself big goals for your run- "I'm going to run 5 miles today," "I'm running to city hall and back," or "I'm going to run at least 10 laps around the pitch." If you make it, great, but most of the time you won't and there's no good in feeling disappointed. Set small goals while you run. For example, if you see a lamp post nearby when you're running, make that your goal. And I mean very nearby. These goals need to be small. Once you reach it, look for another landmark as your next point. Each time you get to one, you'll feel good about it, and magically some pain will go away as well. Once you get used to this, you'll find that you're mini-goals get further and further apart, and before you know it, you'll have run much farther than you'd originally expected.

3. Breathe from your belly

You should breathe from your belly no matter what you're doing, but especially so when you're running. You'll get more air into your system, and its less tiring than chest breathing. Breathing from your belly means to use your diaphragm as the main breathing muscle, not your lungs (or intercostal muscles). Every time you breathe in, your lower abdomen should be expanding, not your chest. When you breathe out, your abdomen area should flatten.

4. Nose or mouth?

What's better, to breathe through your nose or mouth, or both- this is an argument as old as the act of running itself. It seems that the majority of people choose to breathe in and out with the mouth, or breathe in with the nose and out with the mouth. Others will breathe using both the nose and mouth at the same time.

The key here is to choose a method that you're most comfortable with.

If the above methods don't seem to work for you, try breathing in through the nose, and out through the nose. This doesn't appear to be common, but doing this vastly improves some people's running. It forces you to only use belly breathing (it's much easier to chest breathe when your mouth gets involved), and it provides a consistent rhythm to your breathing (you can't pant with your nose). It takes a few runs to get used to (you're going to be wiping a runny nose a lot at first), but its a breathing method that can work excellently for some.

5. Breathe rhythmically

Regardless of how you choose to use your nose or mouth, you need to do it consistently, and to a rhythm. Panting is no good, and nor are long drawn out breaths. Breathe in for a set number of steps, and breathe out for a set number. For example, breathe in for two steps, breathe out for three. Or breathe in for three, and out for three. Do make sure though, to breathe out for at least as long, or longer than your breath in. Find whatever is most comfortable for you and be consistent with it. Consistency with your breathing style will translate to consistency with your overall running routine.
Runner's World Complete Book of Running: Everything You Need to Run for Weight Loss, Fitness, and Competition ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen Evolution Running: Run Faster with Fewer Injuries

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