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Why are Squats beneficial For Runners?

You all must be aware of the fact that strong and healthy legs are the basic requirement for running miles regularly. Scientific evidence shows that strength training improves the running pace and along with many other positive effects. One of the best ways of ensuring legs & glutes strength is squatting. Performing squats on a running day might look tiring or give you a hard-running time but its benefits certainly outweigh that pain. In this article, we have broken down the benefits and relation between squats & running.

How squat is transferred to running?

The activity of running involves the propulsion of the body by the legs. It is done by flexing & extending your knee, hip & ankle at some time in your running clothes. This act is done against the force of gravity & often done quickly. The force you absorb & return has a direct impact on your running speed & determines how efficient you’re at doing this activity. In the sport sciences, gym-based workouts are categorized with the sports action they match. Based on the degree of their correspondence. In simple words the exercises that match with what is needed & give it for boosting the sport performance. Squats overlap the area of dynamic correspondence. Joint actions & muscles that are used in both of the activities are the same. Which means squatting has a direct influence.

For athletes, the level of competition is always growing and they have to become bigger, stronger & faster. And particularly for runners, this statement is very true. For that, they must do strengthening workouts but not every strengthening workout is equally beneficial for runners. Squats can benefit runners up to a significant degree and events.

  • Muscles Worked

The squat is one of the central workouts in strength training programs because of the muscle groups it works out. It is more like a full-body workout because, for this reason, it improves your full-body strength. The primary targets of this squatting are the muscles in your legs such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. It also develops strengthening in the lower back calf muscles, hip flexors, abdominals & obliques. They are the primary muscle groups that are used in the running activity.

  • Squats and Speed

As we mentioned earlier your quadriceps & hamstrings influence your running performance. Because these are muscles that straighten & bend the legs while you are performing this activity in running clothes. According to the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, doing squats for leg strengthening significantly increases running speed.

Benefits of squats for running

1)  Knee Stability

The biggest myths about squats are that they are bad for the knees. Recent studies have shown that people who perform squat regularly tend to have more strong and stable knees than those who don’t. Your knee stability primarily depends on four major ligaments:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

A lot of runners struggle with knee ligament injuries. The muscles surrounding the joint offer secondary dynamic stability. This means building the muscles around the knees by doing squats helps a lot in preventing knee damage because of torn, twisted, and weak ligaments.

2) Increased Leg Power

Strengthened legs provide a lot of obvious & non obvious benefits to running athletes. Running regularly increases your muscular endurance while building muscular strength. Squats are a very effective and efficient way of building muscular strength. Boosted muscular strength is what helps a runner in running faster on flat grounds, hills. Well-developed muscles help your body to utilize oxygen efficiently, by lessening fatigue. Leg strengthening by squatting directly improves your running performance. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in sprinting. Squatting helps with explosive finish-line sprints and starts.

3) Improved Body Awareness

Another term that is used for describing Body awareness is called proprioception. It is the sense of being aware of the relative body parts & the amount of strength required for employing the movement. It is the awareness about body position, its movement, alignment, posture & acceleration without relying on visual cues.

Most of the running injuries are the result of movement faults like losing posture, misalignment of the knees, improper loading of hips & ankles. Doing squats correctly can address all these movement faults effectively & train the body in recognizing the posture collision or if any of your body parts and movement is miss-aligned. Practicing squats improve your body and brain coordination and in correcting all the movement faults.

How to do squat like a pro:

For doing a squat start with extending both of your arms at your front or overhead. Then start sinking your hips slowly till your thighs become perfectly parallel to the ground, and make a sharp angle of 90-degree. This depth can be good for beginners. If you are already a pro, going deeper is better for good mobility. Your bum should be below parallel in deeper squats. While you are standing back, avoid letting the back cave in. Keep both of your knees at the back of the toes, and your whole weight on the heels. Make sure you keep your back straight and upright while you are squatting down. If this air squat is simple and quite basic to you try performing different variations of squats for adding challenge.

Common Squat Mistakes

Following are some of the common mistakes that most people make while performing squats. It only reduces their effectiveness and makes sure you avoid them

.

  • Not lowering your body Far Enough – One of the most common mistakes that people do with squats is not lowering their bodies enough. It can be fixed simply by making a wider stance. It will help in making their body steady while they are lowering it down. Winder stance engages more muscle. The ideal depth of squats is your hips going below your knees. If you are a beginner you can be easy on it but focus on perfecting the techniques. The lower you go, the more effective the squat will be.
  • Drifting of Knees Inward – Pointing the knees inward makes the squats comfortable but compromises the gains. Try to turn the toes outwards to prevent the knees from pointing inward. Technically, the knees should be aligned in a line with the ankles & hips. It will help with avoiding all types of injuries.
  • Leaning Too Far Forward – Beginners can lean too forward while performing the squat. Doing this will only make the squat more ineffective. Most of the weight should be placed on the heels while dropping for the squat. It will distribute your body weight evenly by keeping your torso upright and straight.

Dropping Down Too Fast – Some people tend to drop down fast while performing the squat. But doing this will only compromise on the gains. Adding weight and slow downward movement will increase their gains while reducing the chances of injuries.

Effects of Squats on the Distance Running Performance

A Lot of people believe in the false myths that squatting is bad for distance running. They stay away from performing squatting & keep their focus on increasing the mileage for each week. Which isn’t a good approach. The muscles that are utilized in squatting are the same muscle used in running. Squirting improves posture, balance, mobility, coordination and develops strength that is good for long-distance runners. The easiest approach is to start implementing squats for one or two days a week in your running routine.

It will also make your knees more stable & less vulnerable to pain and injuries while improving the recovery period for your legs. Which will lessen your long-run fatigue. The increase in 1RM of squat allows the runner to produce more force by the ground, as the contact with ground becomes lower at high velocity runs. It helps in producing high power, for fast tempo runs. Long runs can lead to issues, like the mobility of hip flexors, lower back pain & weak quadriceps squatting helps with that. All because of the squatting technique. Squats are a beneficial & strength proficient exercise that gives the power to distance running regardless of your fitness level.

How Often Should Runners Squat?

A squat is one of the complex & demanding exercises, it should be always performed after running. You can skip them on your non running days. If you incorporate weight or perform some variation of squats then they must be performed after running sessions. It will ensure that the hard run will stay easy on your body. Beginners should focus more on perfecting their squatting technique. As they are just relying on their body weight.

The downside of Skipping the Squats

If you suffer from any kind of injury that prevents squatting, you do not need to stress out. Instead, you can perform squats with some other workout that images similar muscle groups such as lunges. Similar workouts will also strengthen your glutes, hips, hamstrings, & quads. Having weaker muscles in those regions can significantly affect your running ability. The injury rate among runners raises to 70% every year, strength training plays a key role in preventing those injuries. So, don’t shy away from incorporating strengthening workouts into your running routine.

Guest Post by James Wilson, Born Tough | Elite Sports

45 Minutes Running Plan That’s Ideal for Weight Loss

You look around and see everyone discontent with their weight. You open a health journal, and the first thing you see is related to weight loss or obesity. You go to the gym and see people talking about weight loss, or you escape this all and try to entertain yourself with some YouTube videos, and next thing you know, you land on a weight loss routine. The fact that we are stuck in a bad and busy work routine says a lot about our health. Most of us are unable to eat on time, and others just binge eat any junk food that they get. All these things are a very crucial part of a bad lifestyle, and there is no doubt we are leading towards a better and progressive lifestyle, but our health span is reducing with every passing day. Our food portion for one meal is enough for the whole day, and everything we eat is deep-fried. We hardly drink enough water, and we believe in frozen fruits and vegetables rather than fresh fruits and vegetables.

With this being said, we all know how much we need to focus on our daily routines, especially if we want to lose weight. Just a few years ago, everyone was after quick-fixes, protein powders, calorie burners, and steroid-based metabolism fixers. However, more technology and fitness-based awareness are now more than ever. Everyone is now familiar with healthy ways of losing weight and the adverse effects of losing weight through shortcuts. Most people think diet is the only answer, and there is no doubt you need to take care of your diet, but if your think diet means starving yourself or relying on powdered nutrition, you might want to reconsider your options. If you only want to rely on diet, you will soon see side effects, i.e., dry skin, wrinkles, freckles, uneven skin tone, brittle nails, and dry hair. If you are ready for this, you can use a crash diet; however, if you don’t want to waste your time on these crash diets, you want to follow a healthy regime that can help you lose weight.

How Can Running Become A Game Changer?

If you are searching for exercises online, you might have come across a few. There are some exercises that are only for men; others are only for women, and some suit you only if you make losing weight your ambition and you will not have enough time for anything else. However, the safest option for losing weight so far is to start jogging or running. Now you might be thinking about how jogging can be helpful and why it is not helpful for all. To answer this, you need to understand a few basics about exercises. One of the very important things that you want to consider is the way exercises or workout plans are designed. You will find workout plans with the same few exercises, but some work best, others are not as effective as you might have planned them to be. So, what is the difference?

Well, the difference is the execution. Your workout plan is not just a simple plan that you want to follow blindly. You need to make sure your posture is right, you are breathing right, and you are not exerting too much energy at the start, etc. all these things are important and must be kept in mind, but for beginner, keeping in mind all these things can be quite daunting because note everyone is familiar with these tips. That’s where you want to ask for guidance from an expert. However, if you want to opt for jogging or to run, you don’t have to think too much. Once you start jogging regularly, you will build your stamina, you will also learn to breathe right, and there is no risk of injury or any side effects that you should be worried about. Also, you will be breathing fresh air and losing weight just as you go.

Design Your Own 45 Minutes Plan

If you want to start jogging, you should start by designing a plan that actually works. Now we know that only professionals can help you with that, but if you are good at research, you will know how much you should lose and how you can schedule your weight loss running schedule. Here are a few steps that can help with losing weight with your jogging or running plan.

·         Start by designing a schedule that works for you. It would help if you mentioned time, running course, and how you will measure the distance. Apart from this, you must also conduct research about the beginners’ plan for running and how many days you will be running in a week.

·         Divide your 45 minutes time into intervals and how many miles you want to run; this will helps you set a pace, and you will be able to divide time easily.

·         Set an aim according to the BMI. This will help you with determining the number of calories you need to burn, and you will be able to meet the pace as well.

·         Tracking your progress is very important, now we are not asking you to measure yourself every day and spend time on this, but we want you to make sure you are keeping track of you running in a journal and by the end of the week or even after 15 days you can weight yourself or see the progress. 

·         Improve your stamina and then add to your running regime. This is very important because when you start, you might feel like getting tired in just 30 minutes; however, as you progress, you will see that even after a whole hour, you still feel like running. Your pace will also improve with time, and we all know that running faster will help you burn more calories because you are exerting more energy in the process.

·         Eat healthily and a balanced diet because your diet intake helps in weight loss. Most people think they can eat as much as they want as long as they are running, and this will help them lose weight; however, this is not true. There are few things that are very important, and you must keep in mind if you eat too much, you will only be burning the calories that you are eating, and the fats that you already have will not burn. Our goal is to reduce the intake and exert more energy, so you end up burning the calories that are already stored.

·         Another important thing that you must keep in mind is to start with just a few days of running, and as you see progress, you can start running every day. Most people might not agree with this, but we have seen this work for almost everyone. This is a gradual increase phenomenon, and once you reach the six weeks and then a full week, you will be able to measure your progress as well.

Basic Running Plan for Everyone

For designing a running plan, you need to list three things on a piece of paper. You need first to mention the day, date, or your schedule, and then you can mention the miles that you will be running in 45 minutes. For the starter, we suggest you start with 3 miles and then progress to 5 or 6 miles in 45 minutes. As you know, the pace impacts the calorie burn out rate as well, so you will be burning just a few calories on the first day, and then it will double by the end of the month.

Guest Post by James Wilson, Born Tough | Elite Sports

Learn How to Run Faster and Improve Your running Pace

The human body gets adapted to the physical activities you expose it to. After some time, it develops the endurance level. Running a goal that was once challenging for you gets easier with time. Running for a while builds up an endurance base in your body. Setting up a new goal keeps you motivated. Pushing yourself for more to check your limits is fun. Your running pace mainly depends on your fitness and endurance level. But you can improve it by working on it. Following are the tips that will help you with increasing your running pace.

1)  Gradually Increase your mileage

Check your training plans and patterns if you are a beginner make sure you set one. Get them designed in a way that gradually increases the distance & pushes the speed. The trend is usually translated as a few short runs on weekdays and a longer one on weekends and overall, the trend progresses each week while preventing overdoing. For checking the progress, make sure you subject the body to a particular stimulus that it is not used to off. Do not overload your body all at once but gradually increase the pace.

2)  Add Tempo Runs

Take Tempo runs up to 10-45 minutes at a steady pace. These runs help runners to develop discipline and control the speed while helping the bodies in handling the stress. These should be done at a controlled pace. Make sure you maintain the pace throughout the run. You should feel easy during the initial minutes of your run. End it when you are too tired to run more. Tempo runs develop strength & speed by pushing you to reach the anaerobic threshold. The point where your body starts producing lactic acid is when you have reached the anaerobic threshold. Lactic acid is responsible for making your muscles feel heavy.

3)  Prepare for Discomfort

Beginners might face difficulty in running faster as they are afraid of getting tired and uncomfortable. The first and foremost step of getting fast is learning to pick up the pace and feeling what it is. Pushing yourself during speed training can make you breathless, it gives you the burning sensation in your legs. It might make you uncomfortable initially, but once you get used to that sensation & start anticipating it you hit the road of improving your pace.

4)  Listen to the body

How many miles should you add up in the training plan every week? It’s no good to increase the total mileage by more than 10 percent in a week, but that is not the rule, you can add up more if you feel good about it. Studies show that your injury rate remains the same no matter if you follow that 10 percent rule or not.

This certainly doesn’t mean to double your mileage in seven days. Just pay the attention to how you feel & adjust your mileage. The best rule regarding this is listening to your body. If you are too hard, consider taking rest days. Don’t skip your recovery days. Overtraining buys no good. It is a hurdle that restricts your way of achieving your goals. 

5)  Run More Often

In a lot of cases increasing the weekly mileage helps in improving the overall pace and speed. If you run once a week and perform other workouts on the rest of the weekdays, switching a few of the workout days into running days will buy good to your running pace. A lot of runners go for a run every day to make sure you at least take a rest day once a week. After getting in your running clothes, going for a run. Try running at high speed in short intervals during your run. Throw yourself to high-speed intervals on longer runs. Stops only when you feel fatigued. Consider picking up the speed at the last minute of each mile.

6)  Run hills

Experts agree that running the hills is an amazing way of introducing speed training to the running routine. It’s an upgrade from aerobic running to running on sprint repeats. This Uphill training plays a great role in making you become a faster runner while increasing your VO2 max. It measures the amount of oxygen a person takes during intense exercise sessions. The better your body is at utilizing oxygen, the more energy you will give out.

Introducing hill workouts to your running schedule can improve your overall performance. It does not give the feel of speed work, but engages & strengthens the muscles of your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core, calves, & upper body. Which helps in running fastly on the roads. If you are a beginner consider running once a week. When it starts getting easier consider adding another day.

7)  Count Your Strides

Increasing your stride turnover will increase the number of steps you run per minute during the run. For determining the stride turnover, consider running at the pace of 5K and try sustaining that pace for 3 miles up to 30 seconds. Count every time the right steps on the ground. The number of your stride turnover can vary. Generally, beginners have a low rate. For improving the stride turnover, consider running up to 30 seconds from your current rate. Then do jog for a minute and recover & run up to 30 seconds. Try increasing the count this time. Keep your focus on the quick, short steps.

8)  Run-on a Treadmill

Most of the runners prefer hitting the open road in their running clothes. But it can also be done indoors on the treadmill for improving the speed. Running on the treadmill is easier than hitting the track outside. The running belt moves on its own beneath your feet, which requires you to put effort. On the open track, there are other challenges like wind, weather conditions that can add up the challenge. You can set the speed of your treadmill’s incline up to 1-2% for simulating those elements. Treadmill Running helps you to move your legs quickly at greater ease.

9)  Improve your Eating Habits

Eating healthy is very important. What you eat fuels your body to perform any physical activity. Get to know the needs of your body and feed it with the right combination of nutrients so your body can restock its energy that is needed for running.

Make sure you consume enough protein. It helps in building stronger muscles. Consume enough cards, they provide the main energy source that you need for overcoming workout challenges. Take the right amount of fat for maintaining the health of your joints.

Keep a check on your calorie intake, maintain the balance of macronutrients. Eliminate unhealthy foods. If you do not know what your body needs or how to proportionate your diet consider going to a nutritionist for a healthy diet plan.

10)              Lift Weights

It would be surprising if we say that Sometimes best-running training doesn’t include running. Yes, it’s true. Lifting weights helps in building stronger muscles. It helps in improving the speed & overall performance. Weight lifting also helps with improves balance and lower injury risk. Consider scheduling a day or two for strength training workouts in a week. For Doing weight training you don’t necessarily have a gym membership you can do bodyweight exercises such as pushups, squats & lunges.

11)              Do Experiments with Resistance

Fancy workout equipment & gadgets like anti-gravity treadmill, running parachute, or simple speed bands can increase your power & performance if worked out properly. Working on these tools requires practice and devotion. Running bands helps a lot in improving your stride. You can use them at your home. What you need to do is simply hook them to a stationary object or ask your training partner to pull while you try to run forward.

Guest Post by James Wilson, Born Tough | Elite Sports

How Can Running Become A Mental Health Therapy?

Thinking of losing weight, run. Thinking of getting into shape, run, or even if you are thinking of clearing your head, run. Most people ask a question like what running has to do with mental health because, let’s face it, you run with legs, and your brain is on the complete opposite side. Judging from the questions raised by most people, we hardly understand what running has to do with mental health. To understand this and investigate further, a recent study was held, and it claimed that physical and mental health are indeed connected. If you are not physically fit, you can never be mentally fit, and this is the reason we see successful people following a tough exercise routine every day. Your brain has direct contact with all your body, and this is the reason if you get psychically ill, you will start to feel anxious, nervous and you might even lose control over your nerves. All these things further fortify the notion that your brain is in direct contact with your body, and if one thing gets disturbed, every other organ will have to face the impact.

As we have established this understanding that physical and mental health is no different and they are actually connected, we need to understand something else as well. We have seen people who are an athlete or who exercise daily have good mental health. The world we live in nowadays is taking a toll on our minds and body. Most people suffer from major mental distress just because they have to work long hours, and they don’t have enough sleep or enough time to work out. We recommend that everyone who is facing physical or mental distress must also consult a good psychologist; however, we will also suggest that everyone needs to have a good physical routine that they should follow. This doesn’t mean you must pay for a gym membership or have a private trainer at your service; you can take charge of your own body and start a jogging routine as well. According to most studies, just 15 minutes of jogging is enough to help you get through the day and will have a positive impact on your mental health.

Why Is Jogging Better Than Most Forms of Exercises?

We have seen people claiming that jogging or running is not good enough because you are just working your legs, and the rest of your body is not being used. You need to understand that with a gym membership, you might be able to use your whole body, but you are in a controlled environment where you can’t even breathe natural air. Apart from the natural aspect, you will have to consider the financial aspect as well. You don’t have to spend money on gym membership and even on the equipment. All you need is a good pair of jogging trousers, and you are good to start running. If we ignore the financial aspect for a few minutes, we still need to consider that running gives us a sense of freedom. If you like to run or jog, you will be saving yourself the hassle of time management. You can enjoy a morning walk, an evening walk, or you can run on the treadmill in your home. Options are endless, and there is nothing that can stop you. Apart from time management, if you don’t have time to interact with people in real life, you will be surprised how much you can do just because of jogging. We have seen people jog in a group where they interact with each other and even develop a friendship. It is a great way for you to start making new friends and specialize with people. This can be a healthy activity in your busy schedule, and most of us at this time have no time to make new friends. We feel jogging is a great way for you to socialize and be confident. This also helps you develop acceptance towards your body, and you can start accepting your body as well.

How Can Running Become A Therapy?

There is no doubt about the fact that running can improve your mental health and it can protect you from getting everything on your nerves. While running, most people think this will help them clear their head, and it is true. According to spiritual healers, everything around us is made of energy, and so our body and our mentions also have energy. Some emotions have negative energy, whereas others have positive energy, and with all kinds of energies floating around us, we need to understand how we are exerting our energy. Anger, mental distress, and depression is negative energy, and we can use the same energy to either break something or exert it through physical performance. We have seen people exerting negative energy easily via physical performance. We have seen people getting a euphoric rush when they run, and even you can experience it in real life. According to studies, if we see a brain scan, we can see the energy change in the areas that deal with emotions. We have also seen that people who engage in running have better long-term memory, and this is due to the effect on the hippocampus. Hippocampus is not only related to memory but also to emotions, and this can further be clarified if you look closely into the brain scan of people who suffer from progressive memory loss issues. People who are depressed, have dementia or have any cognitive impairment have this area affected. If you have some issues related to emotional disturbance in memory, you can get on a 12 to 16-week running spree, and you will see that there is a difference in volume in your hippocampus region. This means better short-term memory, and by repeating the running exercises every day for just 10 minutes, you can have better emotional processing as well.

Benefits of Running on Mental Health

Now that you understand the effect of running on the brain and its function, you can see what kind of effect it will have on someone who is developing emotionally as well. In most cases, people can’t point out if these effects are because of running daily or they are due to some other reason, but we have seen that people who jog regularly develop few good habits, and they are quite noticeable. Some of these have been listed for further understanding as well.

Mood

There is no doubt that you will notice that with better physical exercises you will have a better mood. Your body will learn a good way to exert energy, and you will have a better way to channel all your negative energy. As a result, you are stimulating all the happy hormones in your body, and once they start to realize, you will sleep better, your appetite will be better, and your mood will also get better.

Stress Relieve

Jogging and running is a good way of stress-relieving. Your physical exertion helps you clear your head, and you learn to think fresh. Most people explain the stress-relieving factor as runner’s high because that is when a person feels like he has positive energy in him and he is happy and euphoric.

Self Esteem

Your self-esteem has a direct impact on the way you think and feels about your life. We have seen people getting upset because they have low self-esteem, and if you are thinking about how it is linked to jogging, you might want to understand the process first. As you get better and build your stamina, you will see that your basic idea of confidence changes and you feel a boost in your self-esteem as a result.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a direct link with running, we have seen that people who like to sit at one side and clear their mind usually think deeply, and they perceive things differently as well. The same is the case with people who like to run to clear their minds. When you clear your mind, you are able to think better, and this means you come up with a different perspective of life.

Guest Post by James Wilson, Born Tough | Elite Sports

Running Form Revisited.

There are many different styles of running form. For example how your legs, hips, knees move through the action and how your foot lands, transfers load and pushes off again.

Biomechanics of skeletal and joint structures have been endlessly studied through gait analysis. IF joints are stressed too much or too long they will eventually become painful which, over time, could lead to break down.

Joint break down could stop you from running so it’s important to keep them happy by not continuously over stressing them.

I’ve met many people over the years who have told me, “I stopped running because my knee (or other joint) wore out.” They felt the initial pains but were unable to rectify what ever the problem was or continued to stress their joint(s).

Not everyone can run with “correct biomechanical form” because our bodies are not “manufactured to be factory perfect”. Therefore we have to do the best with what we’ve got. IF you can’t run with what is considered GOOD FORM don’t worry about it. The most important thing is that you can run PAIN FREE.

If you run pain free you are not over stressing your joints and less likely to wear them out.