Runners need to vary their workouts

AW promotion: mix up your training in order to improve your performance

Running presents numerous advantages for those who want to improve their fitness levels significantly. Indeed, unlike many other sports activities, running doesn’t need a lot of gear and costs. All you need to get started is a pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothes.

There’s no need to drive to specialist facilities or to take a membership with a gym provider. You also don’t have to worry about opening hours or queues at the machines. You can run anywhere and at anytime. So, it’s no surprise that running has become one of the top-favourite activities during the pandemic. While gyms were forced to shut down, you could carry on running in town or in less-crowded areas to avoid health risks. 

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If you have started to run during the pandemic, you probably need to rethink your workout. As your strength and endurance improve, it can feel as if you’ve hit a plateau. You have reached a point where you can’t progress any further. Does it mean you are now the best runner you can be? Not quite. Runners need to diversify their workouts to move past fitness plateaux. 

Introduce active recovery runs

Becs Gentry is no stranger to working out hard. As a Peloton instructor, she shows her class and her clients how to focus their efforts to achieve their dreams. But, it’s as a marathon runner that Gentry truly shows the importance of a diverse workout plan.

Her running plan involves, of course, a lot of running. However, with the guidance of her coach Stephen Kersh, Gentry manages her Peloton instructor role and her marathon runner’s plan simultaneously. Therefore, her workout schedule is a little unorthodox to account for her physically involved job.

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Her run schedule includes easy runs, which act as active recovery time. In essence, active recovery means that you exercise at a lower intensity during the recovery period. This will reduce the risk of long-term soreness caused by lactic acid build-up in the muscles. It can also help increase your performance over time. 

Start lifting

Strength training plays a crucial role in any fitness routine. Regardless of your preferred sports, you will need to include strength practice to tackle shape, performance, and endurance performance. Experts recommend introducing some strength workouts in your running plan, such as lifting weights.

Beginners can achieve impressive results with simple kettlebells exercises that can target important muscle groups. The typical cardio-focused running routine can lead to injuries through excessive repetition and impact.

On the other hand, strength training builds stronger muscles that are better prepared to handle the intensity of cardio practice. Additionally, if you want to run fast, you need your thigh muscles to deliver more power at every stride. Cardio training doesn’t grow your muscle. But strength practice can help you improve your posture and performance throughout the stride. 

Embrace your inner yogi

Tired or tight muscles can put runners at risk. When your legs feel uncomfortable, or your abs can’t hold your posture, it affects your motion coordination. That’s precisely why runners need to find activities that can help loosen tightness. For runners who are unsure about active recovery, runner and yoga enthusiast Rebecca Pacheco recommends yoga classes.

Yoga can help relieve soreness, especially after a long run. Runners should focus on positions that can benefits hamstrings, calves, foot arches, quads, glutes, and hip flexors. The typical yoga routine for runners tends to include downward dog, low lunge, reclining pigeon, and reclining cow face. Relieving muscle tightness will also improve your running posture, which can have beneficial impacts on your overall performance. 

Enhance your flexibility

Yoga can help you with muscle fatigue, tightness, and coordination. You can practice yoga for flexibility too, but experienced runners prefer to design a flexibility-focused training plan instead.

Stretching before a run and after can only help you so much. But targeted flexibility exercises will ensure that your joints are mobile and strong. A lot of running injuries are linked to low flexibility. Tendons and joints are damaged by recurring tensions around the ankle, the knee, and the hip areas.

Improving your flexibility can give your body a wider range of motion. This will reduce the pressure felt on single points. According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers in Belgium reveal that individuals who develop runner’s knee pain tend to have low quadriceps flexibility. Similarly, another study shows that patellar tendonitis is more frequent among runners with poor quad and hamstring flexibility. 

Dancing and running go hand-in-hand

Joining a dance class might not be the first thing that comes to mind as a runner. However, dance classes can be hugely beneficial to your run performance. Dance teaches attentive body coordination to reproduce complex movements.

When you learn dance movements, you often need to work minor and major muscle groups simultaneously to bend the body, hold a shape, and create a sense of fluidity. Runners don’t have the opportunity to train small muscle groups. But, you’d be surprised to notice how a salsa class can support your posture, your performance, and your coordination on the road.

or a lot of long distance runners, injuries occur when fatigue sets out. As the body gets tired, it struggles to maintain itself and coordinate motions. But when minor muscle groups are strong, they can remove some pressure from your main muscles, hence supporting long-term efforts. 

Book an aqua jogging class

Running is a high impact exercise that can put your lower body through a lot. For runners concerned about joint sensitivity or even stress fracture, it can be helpful to switch to low impact activities. Water-based sports such as aqua jogging can provide the cardio practice you need without damaging pressure.

Aqua jogging classes are best suited for runners who want an active recovery period that focuses on their running form while giving the body time to recover from outdoor runs. If you are recovering from an injury, deep water running is a great solution to stay active without experiencing discomfort. 

Runners need to vary their workout to improve their performance and maintain their health. Injuries, performance plateaux, and fatigue can put an end to your amateur running hobby. That’s precisely where a varied workout plan can make a huge difference. 

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