3 Simple Ways To Running Better

With temperatures dropping below 5degrees in Melbourne, I can guarantee hitting the snooze button has become a frequent occurrence across the city.

If you’ve fallen into this cycle, and you’re finding your motivation levels are low, here are 3 simple ideas to keep yourself out there and even improve your running at the same time!
 

Run to a beat.

Picking out your favourite music is an easy way to stay motivated and keep a rhythm with your running. You can use your music to help regulate your steps per minute. We call this cadence. Cadence can usually be measured by a running App or watch (such as Garmin or Fitbit), or simply by understanding the tempo beat of a song.

An easy way to start to understand how you run is by picking music that displays beats per minute. Spotify allows you to search for playlists which are created with a range of songs that have the same beat. Sticking to the beat of the song will help to regulate your steps per minute.

But why is this important.

If you’re considering improving your speed with running, this is a simple and effective way. By increasing your cadence you reduce the amount of time spent in contact with the ground, therefore reducing your ground reaction force. This allows you to move faster whilst reducing injury risk.

Utilising a metronome or playlist may assist in keeping your steps to a particular count.

Focus on smaller steps not on running faster – think baby steps like Fred Flinstone!

The research says that most intermediate to advance runners try to have an average cadence of 160-180 beats per minute.

Here’s some songs to help get your playlist started…

180beats:
If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher
Bright Side of the Road – Van Morrison

160beats:
Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
Whip it – Devo
 
 
JOIN ME: Want to listen to my Spotify playlist? Here’s what I’m running to.
 

Schedule.

Prepare your week. Being organised and motivated can be tricky, but sticking to a plan can help to keep consistent with your running.

Plan out when and where you’re going to run.

The human body responds very well to structure. Start your day with good decisions, which leads to more good decisions. Healthy habits can have a domino effect on your daily choices. If it’s not a run then start with your favourite breakfast or play your favourite music.

Planning your runs with a friend always keeps you more accountable. Running with someone or a group creates a positive mindset, helping you to push your body further.

Accountability is so important to keeping a balanced week and to prevent injuries associated with running. Having a scheduled plan on how to manage your running week will help you get to that next step.

There are some really great apps that you can use to monitor and track your runs to do so. For example Map My Run, Run Keeper and Strava ( I will review these at a later date). I tend to use my diary and schedule after each run my next one or a goal for the next one – it keeps me motivated.
 

Rejuvenate

Give your body some TLC. Smart runners are those that understand their body and how to manage their weekly load.

Running takes its toll on our body tissue. Sleep, hydration and food are super important in maintaining a healthy body for running. Every runner’s sleep regime will be different, but what we do know is that sleep has a large impact on recovery for the next run.

Try to map out your body’s natural amount of need for sleep to understand what your body requires for optimal recovery.

In conjunction with this fluid and fuel replenishment is just as important. We know from the research that most runners need a balanced diet to obtain optimal vitamins and nutrients for performance and recovery.

Try to make sure your body is fuelled not only before but also after a run. Prepare a post running yummy snack to replenish essential fuel source lost (my favourites are blueberries, Vanilla yoghurt or crackers and dip!).

In terms of hydration, it can vary depending on how hydrated you were before your run, how far and hard you ran and also the type of weather. The current advice suggests we drink to thirst. Remember if you have lost fluid it is likely you have also lost electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water. They are used in nerve and muscle function and help to rebuild damaged tissue. Therefore it is also important to replace them after a run– try mixing some hydrolyte into your water bottle for a non-surgery replenishment.

Being organised, getting enough rest and recovery and sticking to a beat are 3 simple ways to improve your overall weekly running goals. I’ve just started running to songs at 180beats per minutes for part of my distance runs – it’s super challenging but very rewarding to see my improvement in time at the end. Good luck!
 

This is the first part of a three-part series. Part two is titled ‘Could your running technique be slowing you down?‘.