Summer is the perfect time to up your running game, with enough light, warm evenings to make even the most reluctant runner yearn for the outdoors. The beautiful weather and extended daylight hours provide the perfect opportunity for runners of all levels to get out there and increase their endurance and speed before winter sets in and the real challenge begins!
This weekend we’ve got a specialist running competition lined up, giving you the chance to win a pair of Oakley Half-Jacket 2.0 XL sunglasses in white with black iridium lenses, so head on over to our Facebook page and get involved in our caption competition! You can also check out our running playlist for music inspiration, and to find some new motivational tunes to get you moving. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a running pro, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for runners. Check it out and see how you can improve your form.
Wait After You Eat
Most people know that you shouldn’t eat before you run, but a surprising amount don’t wait the recommended two hours after a meal before setting off. The reason this is so important is that if you don’t wait long enough your food won’t be properly digested, which raises the risk of abdominal cramps, bloating and sickness. You can probably get away with running 90 minutes after a light, high-carb meal, but if your meal is high in protein and fat you’ll need to wait at least 3 hours. This is one rule worth sticking too, trust us!
Only Increase By 10%
The 10% rule is very popular among established runners, and means that you increase your weekly training mileage by no more than 10%. So if you run 5 miles a week, you can increase it only by 0.5 miles the next week. This is the best way to avoid injury and stick with your training program. Joe Henderson, the first editor of Runner’s World, first came up with this rule in the 1980s. The only exception to this is if you’re starting at single-digit weekly mileage after a break, when you can add more than 10 percent per week until you’re close to your normal training load.
Heads Beats Tails
This simple rule can stop you from judging yourself too harshly if you slow down on windy days. Remember that a headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up, so expect to run slower when it’s windy. Some experienced runners disregard the clock on really windy days because headwinds can cost them 15 to 25 seconds a mile. Monitor your effort while your running to get an overall idea of how well you’re doing, rather than just counting on the clock. This will give you a healthier perception of you progress whether it’s windy or not.
Generally speaking, you should be able to talk in complete sentences while running, without getting too out of breath. If you’re unable to do this, the chance are that you’re running too fast for your own fitness level. A recent study found that runners whose heart and breathing rates were within their target aerobic zones could speak comfortably, so if you’re having trouble getting the words out slow down a bit and let your body build up to a faster pace. The exceptions for this are, of course, hard runs, speedwork and races, when you’re pushing yourself to your maximum pace.
Catch Up On Sleep
A lot of people don’t realise that you should sleep one extra minute per night for each mile per week that you train. This allows your body to fully recuperate and avoid fatigue. So if you run 30 miles a week, sleep an extra half hour each night. This might sound like a lot, but sleep deprivation has very a negative impact on training, so it’s definitely worth it. Although this might not be entirely necessary for people with very high energy levels, it’s better to be safe on this one, so make sure you get enough kip.
Don’t Just Run
Studies have shown that runners who only run are more prone to injury than those who also undertake different activities. Cross-training and weight training will make you a stronger and healthier runner, while lower impact sports like cycling and swimming will help to build supporting muscles. This gives your primary running muscles a rest and will improve your overall performance. Other muscle focused activities such as yoga and pilates will also help you to improve your strength, so branch out a bit and see how you can improve!