Running bare: How to halt unhealthy hang-ups
W ith summer fast approaching, it's important to get your training program in check in order to breeze through the hotter months. You may think just pounding the pavement is the correct way to increase your fitness levels, but you're neglecting many other important areas.
Think about this: If you get into your car every day and simply drive it, one day it's going to breakdown. The same principle applies to your body. Without care and attention, you may find yourself injured, inefficient or just frustrated at your own body for not performing.
Strength work is one element of training that can really complement running. Your muscles are made up of many different muscle fibers. The theory behind strength training is to enable your body to use more of those muscle fibers, when they're required. The best exercises to build strength are compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and lunges. Incorporate them into your workout 2-3 times per week and aim for a heavy weight that you can maintain good technique with and one that won't give you too much soreness the next day.
Doing too much running outside can have a detrimental effect on your joints. The high impact effect can cause high strain and again, negatively affect your training. To keep your fitness levels up you can use the elliptical trainer. Recent studies have shown that it can be a fantastic alternative to running because it's a low impact movement but it maintains your fitness level. The elliptical trainer can target muscles where the majority of runners are weak and it can help to increase stride length.
The final element that all runners need to address is there mobility, which if not looked after, is a ticking bomb for injury. The more you run the tighter your calves and hamstrings will feel. At this point, the foam roller will become your best friend. Before, after and on your rest days, I would fully advise spending 10-20 minutes rolling to ensure your muscles feel more elastic and flexible.
We have a number of personal trainers at Talise Fitness, who can show you the areas to focus on to ensure you're feeling ready to run, every day of the week. Don't forget your activewear either, visit Net-a-Sporter for the ultimate in running wear.