With the New Year upon us you'll see more and more runners who are trying to get in shape. If you have ever watched people run, you might have noticed some runners have a natural rhythmic pattern to their stride, while others look like they are trying far too hard to accomplish the same thing. Let's find out why that is, and how you can make running a lot easier and, more importantly, enjoyable.
When it comes to movement, the body has a natural timing where it decides which muscles should be activated first, which should follow and which should be relaxed. The tricky part is this should be done without thinking. So why can some people do this and others cannot? The truth is we all can. The reason why some people do not run "properly" is simply due to tension and stress! If you stress your muscles to move faster than they can, you disrupt your body's natural rhythm. Your muscles can’t move faster by trying harder, and a relaxed muscle can move easily and can respond quickly.
A tense muscle is already used; therefore, it cannot respond, nor can it aid you in the movement you desire. This is why some people look like they are trying so hard to move their body forward, while not accomplishing much. Their muscles are not working together; they are not working naturally. The more you breathe while your body is in motion, the less stress your muscles can hold. Proper breathing will fug your muscles with oxygen, but holding you breath will make them tenser.
If something on your body hurts, the pain will make those muscles and the surrounding muscles tense up. If anything on your body hurts, the best idea is not to run. Do not push through it. Running with any pain will make you change your stride and will usually result in more pain in different areas of your body. To avoid these problems, each time you start running, start extremely slow. Run slower than you know you can—so slowly that you can start to feel every muscle on your body. Don't feel like you have to get anywhere fast; just enjoy the fact that you are outside, not at your desk.
Here are some more tips on how to have a stress-and pain-free run:
Stretch before and afte your run.
Let your arms and legs swing freely, rather than forcing them into certain positions.
Stay as relaxed as possible, even when you are getting tired. Pick one thing that you enjoy and focus on it while running.
Enjoy your run!