Learn To Relax For Easier & Improved Running

While we were away over Easter weekend, I had the chance to do a few lovely runs on a rail trail in the Hudson Valley.  Then on Easter morning, Mary and I took a walk while Rock got to do a solo workout.  Usually when I am on a trail or path, I am busy running or working with clients, so it was a nice change to just take my time.  I was also able to take notice of a few trends that we often forget about when running.

Loosen Up:  I noticed that a lot of runners tend to get tense, especially in the shoulders and the arms.  This can make running not only uncomfortable, but also constrict your air intake; a bad combination!

Whether you are new to running or have been doing it for awhile, there is no argument that it isn’t always easy and it certainly can be uncomfortable.  The first few minutes of a run are always a bit more difficult than the rest, so make sure you set yourself up for success by checking in occasionally.  Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed.  Keep your hands loose and unclenched.  Take in nice even and deep breaths.  Remember that after the first few minutes, your body will adjust and it will feel a bit easier.

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Slow Down:  During my walk, I saw so many runners who were struggling to keep pace.  Whether you are training for your first race or just aiming to get some time in on your feet, there is no rule stating how fast you must go.  In fact, slower running has huge impacts not only on improving your running, but also for cardiorespiratory efficiency, weight loss, and even speed.

If you find that running feels difficult or uncomfortable, take a breath and slow down.  It is far more important that you enjoy your time and stay healthy than getting it over a few minutes faster.  And don’t worry, if you stick with it, your pace will naturally start to improve.

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Dress For Success:  Unlike going to work in some offices, you don’t have to break the bank to dress for success.  When I see someone trying to run in shoes that are not meant for running, it makes me cringe.  Proper footwear is the first step to an enjoyable experience.  Running shoes come in all shapes, sizes, and price points.  Just as you wouldn’t wear baseball cleats to play in a tennis match, you don’t want to wear basketball shoes to go for a run.

While we are at it, ladies you will want to wear a comfortable sports bra.  All of us want to keep our assets tucked and tight when we are out there logging our miles.  If you are chafing and uncomfortable, it won’t be an enjoyable experience.

And gents, I’ve mentioned it before but find some nice fitting running clothes.  Your chafing issues can cause some ugly nipple bleeding, and nobody wants to see that!

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Just slow down and have fun.  Running can be tough at first.  But if you are patient with your body and yourself, it will eventually feel like second nature (or at least much more fun).  Give yourself the grace to go nice and slow and make sure you keep your body relaxed.

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What are your tips for making running easier?

9 thoughts on “Learn To Relax For Easier & Improved Running

  1. I agree, I think it’s easy to get sucked into training and lose the fact that it’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable! Also, sports bras that are supportive are key especially when you go and change sizes (i.e. pregnancy, nursing)…I’m finding this out again the fun and hard way. Whoops!

  2. I love running on the rail trail! Shady and away from traffic, it’s ideal. I had to laugh as I read this. All my tension goes right between the shoulders. Running always relaxes my mind, but staying physically loose requires a constant conscious effort. Thanks for the reminder!

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