Your muscles and heart need to be strong and your energy systems need to be taught how to work properly, and that takes time and care.
Amongst other things, your exercise professional should prescribe lots of slow running, at a really easy heart rate.
This is because slow (running) work gives you a long-term gain as it builds up the foundations, and almost everyone could benefit from running more slowly.
This aids more capillary – i.e. more oxygen creation – growth and more mitochondria, which are like building mini power stations. When you run fast, you are destroying muscle capillaries.
Your exercise professional should design a training programme that does not even mention miles – instead it should be all heart rate (HR) zones and hours on feet.
Too many people run at medium speeds, obsessing on miles per week and minute per mile speeds, which can force the body to do more than it is capable of – leading to an increased risk of overtraining and injury.
Improving running economy means your body will get better at utilising energy – both glycogen and fat. It can also mean you are overproducing lactate acid, further exacerbating your inefficiency.
For muscles to work efficiently they need to go through their full range.
The body is full of connective elastic tissue and if we stretch the muscles properly we get a natural energy return.
However, various things can block this, for example:
- Joint restrictions;
- Unstable/poor posture; and
- Poor technique.
This leads to the muscles working in a short range, i.e. always contracting and not being able to lengthen.
Muscles do not like to keep contracting and eventually they go ‘blow this’ and just lock up and get damaged.
Known as free speed, if you stand taller and stretch out properly, the energy is used for forward momentum.
5 Quick Running Technique Tips
- Stand tall, look forward, relax shoulders, get arms pumping backwards – imagine they end at the elbows.
- Kick backwards to allow full stretch of legs and engage glutes and hamstrings.
- Do not stress about what part of the foot is hitting the floor – although the forefoot is ideal.
- Do make sure you are not overstriding – that is when
- the foot hits the floor ahead of the knee which is ahead of the hip.