My 12 Top Tips to Improve your Running

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When you start running, you will become fitter. But there are a few things that you should know about, that will help you stay injury free, safe and, more importantly, have fun! These are our Top 12 Tips to help you become a better runner. In two weeks, I am going to give you my Top 5 Running Training sessions (whatever your fitness level to give you the edge). In the meantime, let me know what you think of these….

 1. Make time to develop a Strong, Flexible Body – to improve your performance, avoid injury, and increase muscle tone.

Daily stretching and core/postural exercises for ten minutes, combined with general postural awareness, will result in big rewards in your training. Combine this with using a Foam Roller for the tight spots in your legs (especially your Iliotibial band and glutealsand a Swiss Ball for strengthening your core area. At least once a week do a longer stretching and core session to gain real benefits, or try a weekly Sports Pilates, Ashtanga Yoga or Body Balance class.

2. Eat for Energy and Good Snack Attack

Plan your meals a week in advance to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to give you lots of energy, boost your immunity and recovery quickly from training sessions. Top Tip: Make sure you always have snacks with you, to keep your blood sugars and energy levels high (avoiding those sugar cravings especially before your period). Good things to snack on are fresh fruit, nuts, seeds or a raw natural bar.

3. Hydrate your Body

Make sure you are getting at 1.5litres of water each day or, to work out the specific amount for you, try this: Divide your bodyweight (kg) by 0.033 = the amount in litres per day you need to drink. Top Tip: Buy a 2 litre bottle of water and make sure you have finished it by the end of the day! Remember when you are training to increase your hydration, add an Electrolyte to replace the salts you have sweated out!

4. Challenge yourself and Enter a Race now 

If you enter a race that makes you feel a little nervous, excited and challenged it will commit you to training and give you great results. There is so much out there, something for everyone – sign up today (with your friends) and gain the benefits of committing early!

Find an event near you now

5. Invest in your Body 

A regular sport massage with a good therapist is invaluable to keep your muscles in good condition and help prevent any niggles turning into long term injuries.

Strictly Come Dancing Winner and NLP Coach, Camilla Dallerup agrees, “The best advice ever given to me for longevity in your sport is: Have a sports massage regularly to stay supple and prevent injuries from happening rather then waiting until they may happen and risking your career.”

To find a registered, good therapist in your area visit The Sports Massage Association

6. Look after the little niggles

After a hard training sessions or race (especially cross country mud and cold!) you may find you a little ache or swelling. Take time to look after the little niggles to prevent long term injuries. Remember the basic Rest, Ice (and Heat), Compress and Elevate if required.

7. Endurance Athletes Need Protein Too!

If you diet is super good and filled with organic lean meats, beans, pulses and lots of protein you may be an exception, but most girls don’t eat enough protein and often fear it will make their muscles bigger – this is a myth (unless you train specifically for this goal). Good quality protein bars and shakes will speed up your recovery time, increase lean muscle, tone and boost your energy – so repair and replenish your muscles like a professional.

8. Get in the Zone and Make Difference…

Boost your training sessions, and make sure you are working as hard as you think by investing in a heart rate monitor. By working out your training zones you will gain more from your session and improve your fitness, speed and recovery more efficiently. (Training zone: 226 (females – male is 220) minus your age divided by 60-95% – to find out more ask a qualified trainer to help you

9. Think Smart – Develop Positive Mental Attitude.

Write down what you would like to achieve with your fitness – make it specific, so that you are accountable and will know when you achieve it. Write down what you will look like, what you will feel like and what you may say to yourself, and others may say.Develop a really clear picture with feelings and sounds. The more you believe in yourself, and visualise your outcome, the quicker it will happen – from getting into your ‘Little Black Dress’ to finishing the Marathon in your quickest time. Top Tip: Let go of the word ‘Try’ and Just Begin to DO IT!

10. These shoes were made for Training!

Look after you feet and take the time to find a sports shop that does video and gait analysis – one of the most common causes of injury is poorly fitting or old trainers. Most shops will offer this service for free, and fit you with the right shoe. Make sure you buy the right shoe for what you are doing – off road, cross country, fell, road, racing, triathlon – speak to the shop advisor as they are all designed for the surface you are training on. If you still have problems then book a session with a podiatrist or physiotherapist to re align any biomechanical issues. Top Tip: Specialists recommend trainers should be changed every 600miles, or 12months .

11. Train Smart and Mix it Up

For the best results in your training, every 6-8 weeks change your routine, do different classes, weights and cardio sessions to challenge your body and avoid a plateau in your results. Every 5th or 7th week have an easy week to allow your body to recover fully, and to keep your motivation up. Finally, only increase your intensity, or mileage by 10% per week, maximum to build a good training base, and avoid injury.

12. Take Time out

Relax, recharge and do non sporty things! Spending time with friends and family keeps the enjoyment, balance and motivation alive. To set some goals in all areas of your life and make things happen, buy this book, ‘The Big Book About Me’ by Nina Grunfeld ( price £12.99)

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