5 Simple Ways To Run Faster And Smarter
It is often said that the more you run, or do anything for that matter, the easier it becomes. However, although consistency with running is incredibly important, it isn’t the only thing that will have you mastering the sport.
Most blogs you will find about improving running performance will talk to you about strength training, or list other exercises that you can do to aid your athleticism - this is not one of those kinds of blogs. Every suggestion we’ve listed below will help you run faster, and smarter, and none of them involve working out:
- Wear the right clothing - we had to put this top tip first as getting dressed is one of the first steps that you take when deciding to do any form of exercise, and yet so many fail at this first hurdle.
Dressing appropriately for your running routine is crucial to being able to perform at your best. Sports bras with no support, leggings that fall down, shoes that don’t provide any stability - they’ve all got to go. It’s about finding form-fitting, supportive clothing that works with you, not against you.
As we head into the autumnal months your run doesn’t have to be put on pause, or moved into the gym, simply throw on a lightweight, quick-drying jacket and keep moving. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
- Ensure that you warmup and cool down - when completing any other form of exercise we wouldn’t even dream of ditching the all-important warm up and cool downs, so why are they so often tossed aside by runners?
Neither a warm up, nor cool down, add much time to the beginning and end of your run and yet so often they’re shrugged off as unnecessary and time-wasting. Preparing your body for exercise, and cooling it down afterwards, are essential for preventing soreness and injury. Runner’s are prone to injuries, such as shin splints, achilles tendonitis, and runner’s knee (to name a few). Protect yourself by warming up and cooling down, every time.
- Find the right headphones - and the right motivational sounds to keep you moving! There’s not much that’s more demotivating to someone trying to push through a strenuous workout than headphones that aren’t up to scratch.
When you’re mid run, the beat is about the drop, and then your wired headphones slip out of your ears (again). Or, worse still, when your cheap wireless headphones don’t sit well in your ear - when they fall out then fall to the floor, not ideal for completing a new PB.
Perhaps your headphones fit perfectly, emit sound just right, but the sounds that they are emitting are helping you find your get up and go. In fact, studies have actually found that those who listen to music while running move 4-8% faster than individuals who run without music. Whether you’re motivated by 90s throwbacks or fast-paced techno, find the sounds that make you want to move and get running.
- Give your body the fuel that it needs - your body needs hydration all day, not just before and after your run, and you should be consuming healthy, energising meals both before and after your run. Giving your body the right fuel, at the right time is incredibly important - whether you are running or not.
Ensure that you find the right healthy recipes that work for you, and your body’s individual needs. If you’re running first thing in the morning, but don’t like to eat as soon as you wake up it’s still important to give yourself some fuel - whether it be a nutritious, sweetened smoothie or a simple, vitamin-rich banana. Knowing what your body needs and when is crucial to seeing results and performing at your best.
- Know when to rest - resting and recovering are quite literally essential to improving your fitness. In fact, this may be the most essential item on this list to help you run faster and smarter.
It’s unlikely you’ll smash any targets on your next run, or even enjoy yourself, if you haven’t rested properly (we’re talking sleep, and lots of it). Any muscle improvements, or fitness gains, are made in between workouts while your body is recovering. The more sleep you have, the more recovery time you allow your body. You should be aiming for at least 7 hours a night. Essentially, you’ll be a better runner if you spend more time in bed.
Hopefully these simple changes will make you feel more energised and powerful on your future runs. What tips do you have for running smarter, and faster? Share yours in the comments.