Killer Tips to Help You Run Faster 87

Killer Tips to Help You Run Faster

This is a guest post by Dan Chaber. Writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Dan is an entrepreneur, husband and ultramarathon distance runner.  He spends most of his time on Runner Click, Monica’s Health Mag, Jane’s Kitchen Miracles & Nicer Shoes and he has been featured on runner blogs all over the world.

Speed is an important aspect of many sports and activities. Whether you’re a runner, a football player, or just a casual sportsman, enhancing your sprint speed can come in very handy. There’s a wide variety of things you can do to improve your running speed.

I’ll take you through some killer tips on how to run faster that will rocket your running speed through the roof:

Practicing Proper Form

This point is often underestimated by runners trying to run faster, when it is in fact a very important factor. The running form can determine the winner of a race, and it can cut off some seconds from your personal record. So, what’s the proper form when running fast?

To get the most out of your sprint, you must keep your head up. Whether you’re in a race or running in a sport, turning your head to look back will simply kill your momentum and reduce your speed.

You’ll never run as fast as you can if your eyes are not looking forward. Plus, you won’t want to smash your face against someone or something that you didn’t see coming.

Another important aspect is your arm swings, with your hands wide open.

Different parts of your body react to motion on other parts; your arms will respond to leg motion and likewise, which is why we instinctively move our arms when running. Make sure you keep your arms swinging not too far from your torso, and try to coordinate your swings with your leg motion for some serious speed.

Remember to keep your hands wide open at all time, closing your hand into a fist will decrease aerodynamics of your body. This might seem silly at first look as you might not reduce much time, but any pro runner will tell you how important is each second.

Lastly, your body inclination also plays an important role in your running form. Instead of assuming the general jogging position, incline your body slightly forward. You don’t want to go too far forward either or you’ll end up slamming against the floor at full speed. Sounds painful, doesn’t it?

A balanced forward posture will allow you to gain a more aerodynamic run, and it helps you maintaining high tempo, enhanced impulse, and proper foot striking.

Adding Weight Training

run fast

Long story short, it’s as simple as this: more leg strength will produce stronger impulse; hence you’ll increase your running power and run faster.

It’s a common misconception to believe that weight training will lead to big, heavy legs that will slow you down. This is partially true, but the concept is wrong.

The legs as a pair are the heaviest part of your body; they should normally represent over 55% of a human’s total weight. Weight training your legs will indeed make them bigger and heavier, but it’s not dead weight we’re talking about here. The muscular mass generated through weight training will compensate for that extra leg mass.

Simple examples are the top sportsmen such as Cristiano Ronaldo. He has pretty big legs, but that has never stopped him from being one of the fastest football players in the world.

If you’re worried about the weight of your legs if doing heavy exercise, you can take it to the next level and aim for lean muscle. Gaining lean muscle basically consists of obtaining muscular mass with as little fat as possible.

Weight training can be a double-edged knife, so select a tolerable training plan that suits your level and use adequate weights. Overtraining can leave you on your bed for multiple days, especially when targeting legs.

You can see more running tips here.

Exercising your Core

There are other very important muscles that contribute to your running form, endurance, and speed. These would be your core muscles, especially the lower abs if you’re a runner.

The “inner” abs, transversus abdominis, are responsible for stabilizing your spine and your pelvis. When running, your core transmits the power of your legs to your entire body, allowing a motion as powerful as your leg movement.

Think of your body as a spring, which is divided in three parts: top, core, and bottom. Now, if you compress the spring from the top and the bottom at the same time, where does the pressure go? Straight to the core- this is what happens when we jump.

So, what happens when we run?

We’re now compressing the spring strictly from the bottom part; imagine it as pushing the spring against a table. If we release the spring, it will go for a perfect vertical jump, this is because the spring’s core is as strong as its other components, which allows the full power of the compression to go through the core and reach the top. This is what I like to call The Spring Effect.

Back to the human body. If your core isn’t as strong as your legs, it will fail to transmit the full power of your leg motion to your upper body and you’ll lose impulse, as well as stability. When a powerful run hits a weak core, your hips start swinging to the sides generating irregular motions that not only reduce your speed, but also opens your body to injury.

Dr. Michael Fredericson, running analyst, performed a study in which 90% of the subjects (average runners) presented a weak core. Even after mastering a perfect running form and having the strongest legs, these runners wouldn’t be able to get the most out of their sprint.

In conclusion:

Over to you now. Any other tips on how to run faster?




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9 Ways to Handle Change in Your Life [Infographic] 3

9 Ways to Handle Change in Your Life [Infographic]

When a big change happens in your life, it doesn’t have to be a negative change to have a huge impact on you.

Change causes uncertainty and our brains and bodies react to uncertainty by trying to protect us with the release of fight or flight chemicals and hormones.

The downside to this is that living with these for an extended time results in elevated heart rate and affects your digestion, immune systems and blood flow.

But there are ways you can regain control over your life even in the midst of big changes.

The first is to take a step back and reflect on what’s actually happening and what your involvement is, which will help you to understand and find perspective on the situation. Hopefully, this will enable you to find the opportunities that every change in your life brings, rather than obsessing over any short-term negative impacts.

It may also help you to allow yourself a transition period where you adjust to the changes. But with a firm deadline by which you expect to have moved on and settled into the new routine. Even if it doesn’t quite work out that way, it will still push you towards visualizing the end of the uncertainty, which will prepare you to make it happen sooner rather than later.

On a more basic level, you need to remember to look after yourself during this time of change and the related stresses.

It can be too easy to fall into bad habits like neglecting your own simple needs, like a good night’s sleep and staying active and eating right when you are going through something like this. Having a day in your pajamas eating ice cream out of the tub is fine. But your body needs sleep, exercise and nutrition to keep you healthy.

Routine can be a comfort when it feels like everything in your life is changing.

So try and stick to some simple ones like walking your dog every morning or going to a regular gym class to give your life some stability and consistency.

You also need the help and support of those around you. And having a strong support network is crucial when it comes to coping with big changes in your life. This means family and friends, but you could also seek out people going through similar experiences by looking online. There may well be communities who you can talk to and get helpful tips from.

Most importantly of all, you need to be aware of when you need more than just the love and support of other people to help you cope with stress and uncertainty. If you start to feel like your mental health is really suffering, or you have been feeling the symptoms of stress for more than a couple of months, you need to go and talk to a health professional to get the help you need to bounce back.

You can read more practical tips about dealing with change and the symptoms it causes in this infographic from Pounds to Pocket.