Article by guest blogger Bethany Widdicombe at Running Stats
Improving your running performance is about knowing how to equip yourself with the right knowledge that will guide you to better running.
Challenging yourself to improve your performance takes time and dedication, but there are simple things you can shift in your life that can significantly improve your running performance. By addressing the basics of your body and what it needs to stay balanced, the more you will be able to push the limits of performance and achieve your aspirations.
First, Hydrate Yourself
A simple way to improve your running performance is to keep your body hydrated. Your muscles need water to function at their best. By drinking water before, during, and after a run, it can significantly improve your performance.
Your body loses moisture as you run, which is why it is important to keep your body continually hydrated. Drinking water every 20 minutes while out running will build up trust with your muscles and give you the needed hydration to keep up your stamina. Consider running with a hydration belt or pack so you can take small sips of water as you run.
Dehydration can deplete your glycogen levels, which creates fuel for your body. It can limit your brain function connecting to your muscles that can cause a slower response time for running. Be sure to stay hydrated, and be aware of the common myths of hydration.
Second, Get Quality Sleep
If you are seeking to run at your absolute best, then it is time to fit more sleep into your schedule. Lack of sleep limits your HGH (human growth hormone), and decreases your body’s ability to keep carbohydrates. Which means your muscles cannot repair as fast and your body will burn out of energy quicker.
Sleep is how you rejuvenate your body for activity and better performance. If you have trouble sleeping, consider incorporating a regular routine to wind down at night. Limit screens at least an hour before sleep or try a soft yoga sequence to ease your mind and body. Sleep is about quality and quantity, so be sure to sleep well and long enough for your body to replenish.
Cross training is an important aspect of running. By pairing your runs with cross training that build up your muscle strength, the better you will be able to perform. Your body naturally tries to compensate for other muscles. When one muscle is weak or in distress, the other muscles will try to compensate for its lack. Cross training helps decrease your chances of being injured due to muscle imbalance.
Strengthening your muscles will help your running performance by providing neuromuscular coordination and significantly decreasing your chances of having common running injuries like shin splints and runner’s knee.
Aqua jogging and swimming have less impact on your body, but can assist in building up your lower muscles for stronger running. Cycling or using the elliptical have more impact, but can aid in strengthening your lower body, as well as balancing your slow and fast twitch muscles.
Importance of Core Strength
Core strength is incredibly important to your health as a runner and helps keep proper form. In order to keep proper form, your core needs to hold your body in alignment. Misalignment is one of the leading causes of injury, which means the stronger your core is, the less you will spend time recovering from injury.
Include core strength in your cross training workouts to help your body stay aligned for proper running form. By working your muscles in different ways, your body will be able to stay balanced for maximum performance.
As simple as it is, the best way to improve your running performance is to run. Get out there and experience the elements, the hardships, and the triumphs of running. Each run will bring a different rhythm to your day, but in the long run it is worth it for achieving your goals.
Make sure you have the right gear for running that can aid your performance. By having the right shoes, moisture wicking clothing, and a determined mindset, you will be able to conquer any terrain.
By knowing how to take care of the basics of what your body needs, you can improve your running performance. Keep your body hydrated, balanced, and well rested to keep improving your runs.
Train strong, sleep well, and run hard every single day.
Writer Bio: Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article for Running Stats