Mastering the Miles

by BTM

Sun, 12 May 2024

Mastering the Miles

If you’ve been meaning to upgrade your workout routine, give running a try. Bahrain This Month’s resident health buff, Edwin D’Souza, walks you through the process with his Comprehensive Guide to Running Success. 

Running is more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it’s a dynamic blend of endurance, technique and preparation. Whether you’re a novice aiming to increase your distance or a seasoned runner looking to refine your form, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the tools and knowledge to enhance your running experience. 

Increasing Your Running Distance 
Consistency is key when it comes to increasing distance, so aim to establish a strategic running schedule that fits into your lifestyle. Listen to your body and adjust your pace and distance as needed to prevent overexertion and injury. Begin by setting realistic goals and gradually increasing your mileage each week. Incorporate a mix of long runs, tempo runs and recovery runs into your training regimen to build endurance while allowing your body time to rest and recover. Remember to celebrate small victories along the way and trust in the process of gradual progression. 

Cross-training activities such as cycling or swimming can help improve overall fitness and prevent overuse injuries. 

The Technique of Running 
Efficient running technique enhances performance and reduces injury risk. Maintain good posture − straighten your spine, relax your shoulders, and keep your head facing forward. Land softly on midfoot or forefoot with each stride to minimise impact and maximise energy efficiency. 

Stride length and cadence are crucial for smooth motion. Gradually increase cadence to improve efficiency and reduce joint stress. Engage core muscles for balance and stability. Keep arms relaxed and bent at a 90-degree angle for natural movement. Breathe deeply and rhythmically to fuel muscles and maintain a steady pace. 

Choosing the Right Gear 
Choosing the right clothing and footwear is crucial for running performance and comfort. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics for dryness and lightweight, breathable clothing for freedom of movement. Selecting the right shoes is essential for your unique foot shape and gait. 

Consider factors like terrain, distance and personal preferences when choosing shoes. Test multiple pairs to find the perfect fit and invest in quality footwear to protect your feet and enhance your running experience. The best recommended trainers for running as of today are Brooks Ghost 15, Adidas Ultra-boost, and Nike Zoom Air.

Hydration Strategies
Hydration is crucial for performance, preventing dehydration and promoting recovery during and after a run. Start by drinking 450 ml of water or sports drink 2-3 hours before exercise, and an additional 200ml 10-20 minutes before starting. 

Drink 100 ml of fluids every 20 minutes during the run, using a sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes. Experiment with different hydration strategies and listen to your body’s cues to determine your individual fluid needs. Post-run hydration is equally important, so drink 500ml within two hours to focus on replenishing fluids lost through sweat. 

Warm-ups and Stretches 
Prior to starting your run, incorporate dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare your body for the physical demands of running. Dynamic stretches such as leg swings, high knees and hip circles help increase blood flow, flexibility and range of motion while reducing the risk of injury.

After completing your run, transition to static stretches to improve flexibility and prevent muscle tightness. Focus on targeting key muscle groups such as the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip flexors with stretches such as calf stretches, hamstring stretches, and hip flexor stretches. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, breathing deeply and gradually increasing the intensity as tolerated. 

Mastering the art of running requires a combination of dedication, technique and proper preparation. So, lace up your shoes, hit the pavement and embark on your journey to becoming a stronger, more resilient runner.