"Now lets talk about a few more aspects you can work on to get the most out of your body for running."
Read Time: 5 mins. Learn 4 important tips to prepare running your first ever marathon without injury.
If you happened to read our last Blog, you will have spent a little while getting your body in better alignment; upper body, hips, and core.
We will finish our body scan with the feet, then we will talk about your lateral stability and how good your balance is. Then to finish, we will talk about cadence and how to increase your mileage. Put all these aspects together and you will soon be running with perfect form and running your first half or full marathon without injury.
Having good range of motion in the feet is very important, especially around the ankle joint. Poor mobility in the feet can mean less shock absorption and other joints will compensate to take the load. To test your ankle mobility, get into a low squat position – can you get the crease of your hips below your knees with your heels still on the ground, and without your knees turning too far in or out? If the answer is no, then you will be loading your hips and knees too much when running. Watch this video of what a good squat should look like, and an ankle mobility exercise you can do to get more range into those ankles.
IT’S A BALANCING ACT
Having very good single leg strength (lateral stability) and balance is very important for running because essentially running is a series of single leg squat jumps sped up and carried out over distance. Instability from our hips to our ankles means injury later on. Try getting barefoot, standing with your feet hip distance apart and then raising your right foot – what happens to your foot that’s still on the ground? Does the big toe lift off? Does your foot roll from side to side? Can you only stay with raised right foot for a few seconds? Does your right hip hitch up or down? If any of these happened to you then you need to spend some time working on your balance. This means increasing the stability of the foot and ankle and strengthening the Gluteus Maximus and Medius to eventually be able to balance comfortably on one foot. Once you can achieve that, then you can turn it into more dynamic movements such as Pistol Squats, Bulgarian squats or Single Leg Hops.
FIND YOUR RHYTHM
To get speedier, you need to increase your cadence, not your stride length. An efficient cadence is 180 strides per minute, so to measure this go for a run and count your steps for one minute. If you came in at 170spm or less then you could be at an increased risk of injury from overstriding and over loading. When you overstride, you will tend to run higher off the ground, meaning you land harder. To help you with your cadence and to run more efficiently, imagine that you are landing on eggshells and trying not to break them, while bringing your knees up in flexion and aiming your heel towards your bottom. This will help your ground force reaction time, allow you more steps per minute and increase your running posture. Read this great article on the basics of cadence, and how to change yours positively.
GOING THE DISTANCE
With increasing cadence will come the need and want to increase weekly mileage, especially if you are training for an event. There is no exact method or formula that will always work, but one of the most tried and tested is the 10% rule. But if you are a beginner, you should work up to it. If you are just getting started then start with running 2-5km, 3 x per week (with rest days in between). Split it up so one run is a longer one; 3, 3, 4 = 10km, and do this for 3 - 4 weeks until it feels comfortable, then you can increase your mileage by 10% each week after that. If you find a point where the mileage feels hard, stick at that distance for a few weeks, and when that feels comfortable increase again. Spread the distance out over 4-5 days as the mileage increases; 3, 5, 5, 7. Once you move from beginner runner to more experienced, and if you want to get better race times, you need to look at different training methods to get your kilometres up, such as tempo running, intervals, hill runs, and others…But that’s for a whole other post!
Meantime, don’t forget to stay committed, join a fun run or sign up for a run in your local city!
For another short few weeks or two, you can still join AtomiQfit and keep up your running habit so you can be unstoppable.