Run Like You Mean It

It was so nice to go for a run last evening in the beautiful sunshine; funny how within 24 hours we went from snowy misery to clear blue skies and warmth!

First of all, I tried out a new iPhone app: Adidas miCoach.  It’s a running app that tracks your run via GPS and instructs you when to pick up/reduce speed.  There are a variety of settings and I haven’t had a chance to play with the levels and functions a whole lot, but I think it’s an interesting and effective way to interval train while running outdoors.  Sometimes Reggie Bush even comes on and tells you how amazing you’re doing, and also how much time you have left.  “Keep going!  You’re doing great!” Hilarious.  This app isn’t my favourite (I’ve posted my two personal preferences at the bottom), but it’s free and fun to incorporate now and again.
While I was going through these intervals, and having to slow my pace down or speed it up when I wasn’t quite ready, it made me think how people (myself included) probably don’t pace themselves properly while running, therefore bringing forth fatigue much sooner.  Really, running is kind of like a golf swing- you need to put many things together in order to have the most optimal performance and outcome.
Running is not an innate ability, and is really very much a learned activity.  
Here are some RUNNING TIPS that I find work well for me.

Breathing
Find a pattern.  Many people will fatigue quickly due to lack of oxygen intake.  I prefer a 3:3 (inhale:exhale ratio), in through my nose and out through my mouth.  2:2 works for a fast pace and 4:4 might even work for some people at a slow pace.  Play around with breathing patterns and find what works best for you.
Foot Landing
People who run Toe-Heal will find this becomes difficult and slightly inefficient for long distance runs.  It also can be straining on the calf muscles.  This is a better option for short distances at a quicker speed, or up hills.
On the contrary, a Heal-Toe stride out in front of your body can result in injury due to harsher impact on your ankle, knee, and hip joints.
The most ideal landing is somewhere underneath your centre of gravity, landing either on the ball of your foot to almost flat footed.  We’ll call this mid-foot.
Posture
You want to maintain a straight back with a very slight lean forward, creating balance from your hips.  It might also be beneficial to imagine that you’re balancing something on your head, so that you don’t bounce/hop.
Arms
Keep them at about 90º close to the body, avoid swinging, and ensure wrists are loose!  I used to clench my fists, which ultimately just led to expending more energy than necessary.
Lift Your Knees
I always think of my university soccer coach who pointed out that those of us who “lifted” our knees higher were able to conserve energy and increase running duration.  Now, I don’t mean “High Knees”, but many people somewhat drag their legs while running, with little bend to the knee.  You’ll tire more quickly this way.
Stretching
Start off with an easy warm  up pace- no need to stretch cold muscles before using them.  The best time to stretch is post-run.
A Quick Video That Shows A Few Of These Tips
(Take Note of the Foot Landing)
Aaaannd this a compilation of how NOT run!
(Sorry, Kim.)
Other running app recommendations (that I actually prefer to the miCoach).

Run Keeper
(Free)
Nike + GPS
($1.99 at iTunes.com)
Apps are awesome motivators, all the while keeping you in check and honest with yourself.  Although I don’t think they replace the benefits of human coaching and running partners, they definitely add to the quality of individual running when you need that extra boost.

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