I read about how to run quite a lot. Almost as much as I read about how to climb and how to train for climbing.
Sometimes I make adjustments to how I run based on what I’ve read, sometimes I totally ignore it.
But the main reason I’m saying it’s a good thing, is that reading about different ways to change your running form, really helps to breakdown how you actually run. Stick with me on this…
If you read about where on your feet you should land, the next time you run, it helps to focus on that area. When you do that, you pay attention to what you’re actually doing with your body. I sort of think you should know where you started to understand how and why you got to wherever it is you are at or are going.
There are some cautions to take notice of:
1. Don’t change too many things at once
If you can help it, limit yourself to one change at a time. If you change too many things, you don’t know what’s responsible for any improvements or hindrances in your progress.
This can be really difficult! If you’re anything like me, you can get a little excited about making progress and unlocking new potential.
But – if you change more than one thing at a time, it can make my next point practically impossible.
2. Really pay attention to what your body is doing
Back to my point about knowing what your before and after looks like. If you don’t know how you run normally, you don’t know what to pay attention to in your new form.
If you change too many things at once, then you don’t know what to pay attention to. It’s too distracting and if you’re anything like me, you’ll get sloppy. Sloppiness can make things hurt that wouldn’t normally. Worst case, you could injure yourself. Best case, you may need a little longer to recover than you should.
3. Let your change settle before trying another one
If you run three times a week, that doesn’t mean you should try three new things that week. You need to let your changes settle in before adjusting anything else.
I find that it’s usually the second day after the new thing you’ve done where you properly feel it. Especially if I haven’t treated my body kindly after doing it. I’m one of those terrible people who sometimes forgets to cool down after I’ve run.
I know – bad. But if I run, and then do dead hang/pull up training when I get back, sometimes I just sort of forget I did the running. I realise I may sound a little stupid!
To give your changes time to settle, you need to give your body a break. Stretch out properly. Use your foam roller – buy one if you don’t have one. They are awesome and really not expensive.
4. Be kind to your body
If your training plan has you doing another run on day three, but you feel tight and awkward from changes you made on your last run – give yourself a break.
I’m not saying you should sit on the sofa and eat cake until you’re sick. I’m saying do something else instead. Maybe focus on your upper body or do some other strength training work. Yoga can be really great for getting your body moving and having a harder workout that you expected. It’s also great for opening up your hips and putting everything back where it should be! I find my next workout after yoga is always AMAZING.
Maybe I have a short attention span and just have to try new things to stay interested. Or maybe my form requires so much improvement that I’ll be forever changing things until I actually find myself running ‘properly’. But I do know that zoning in on what I’m doing and how really helps that running time pass.
It quiets that voice in my head who mutters “I hate running. I hate running. I HATE running”. And that focus keeps on giving me improvements in my pace, my recovery time and how I feel every day. So maybe it’s not all total rubbish…