We are always looking for ways to get faster while running, but instead of looking at the things to make you faster let’s focus on the things that are slowing you down and work to minimize their effects.
Sit too much
We spend a lot of time sitting: sitting in the car, sitting at work, sitting at school, and sitting in front of the TV the list goes on and on. Sitting may be comfortable and a useful low energy position but it can be killing your running ability. By sitting on your gluts you are deactivating the most powerful and important muscle for running. You are putting your hip flexors in a shortened position which will reduce your ability to extend your hips, another key part of running.
Get up and move!! This is one of the easiest ways to combat too much sitting. Get up and move around every 20 min or so add some deep squats, lunges anything to get you out of that seated position for a little. This is where a sit to stand desk can come in handy to allow you to spend time in alternate positions. Also, shoot for a minimum of 5000 steps a day, these can add up quickly just walk to places you would otherwise drive to, park a little farther away or go for a short walk during your lunch break.
Slump while sitting
As if sitting by itself isn’t bad enough we tend to sit in a slumped posture with our heads jutted forward to try and be closer to the computer screen or looking down at a desk all day. This will make everything from above worse plus have an effect on your upper body posture. Your head will move forward which will place more strain on your low back as you try to hold your “bowling ball” with outstretched arms instead of close and stacked over your pelvis. Your shoulders rounded which will reduce your ability to complete a natural arm swing motion while both running and walking.
Again get up and move around is the most important aspect to help correct this. No posture is truly bad, the only bad part is how long you stay in any given posture. Check the ergonomics of your desk, make sure you bring your computer screen towards your face not your face towards the screen. Stretch your pecks in the doorway or while lying on a foam roll to balance out the rounded posture.
Many people spend a lot of time discussing the importance of X or Y type of running shoe and why each one is special or “faster”. But no one really puts much focus on the shoes they wear most of the day. You can wreak havoc on your feet by wearing hard, stiff, lifted heel shoes all day that stiffen up and weakened joints and muscles of your foot making it hard for your foot to complete its job as your initial contact to the ground while running.
Try and get shoes with thin and flexible soles that allow your foot to move freely on the ground and adjust to variances in terrain and make the muscles of your footwork. Or even better try to fit in some barefoot time every day. You can add a little bit of barefoot running in grass or sand to the end your runs to help your feet remain strong and flexible allowing you to run better.
Just run to run
Running is a great way to exercise and improve your overall fitness but there are many things outside of running you can and should do to prepare yourself to run further, better and faster. Ideally you get into running with some level of fitness behind you or you build your way into slowly and with the proper progressions. Run the same speed, distance, and/or route over and over.
Get your running form looked at by a professional in order to optimize your stride and become more aware of how you’re running. It’s also to mix up the distances and paces at which you run in order to create varying stresses that your body must adapt to in order to make you a stronger and more resilient runner. There are also plenty of great strengthening and alternative aerobic training activities that may not be running but can greatly help your running.
Dr. Max Biessmann
Graduated from the University of St Augustine with a bachelor in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis. Max began swimming competitively at the age of five and swam through college. Max also ran cross country in high school, so he naturally gravitated toward triathlon. Max has completed 10 IRONMAN races, including the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona twice, and he has a decade of swim and triathlon coaching experience. He is excited to have a career that allows me to combine the biology and scientific research-based approach with his passion for coaching and sports.
Max is excited to be the newest member of the Rausch PT team, and looking forward to helping people achieve their goals through physical therapy and all the unique opportunities available here at Rausch PT.
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