Running demands maximum output from a wide range of muscles and joints. However fast or far you run, you are continuously and repetitively moving your body in one plane of movement. Whilst this feels brilliant, the more you run, without doing any other forms of exercise or strength training, the more likely any imbalances or areas of weakness will be exposed and the greater the risk of injury.
In addition, many recreational runners naturally reach a training pace that they are comfortable with and then tend to run that pace for every run. Every run improves aerobic capability, but sticking at the same pace will not make you physically stronger. Then, when you do try and run faster or further, your physical ability to withstand the forces involved lets you down and you get injured. Every time you get injured you stop running and impede any improvements.
To break this cycle, get your body working optimally and increase your running efficiency, try shaking up your training and including one or two of the following activities:
- HIIT sessions
High intensity interval training sessions give you a brilliant full-body workout with a series of short intense repetitions. Classes usually range from 20-40 mins – try some of the HIIT session workouts on YouTube at home.
Cycling on any bike gives you a great cardio workout whilst providing a low-impact alternative to running the streets, taking pressure off the joints and getting your body working in a different way. Try a spin class or digging out your bike from the shed and heading out for an hour.
A good one to help improve your endurance, build strength and enhance recovery. If you get bored going back and forth try doing a variety of strokes. Backstroke is great for opening up the shoulders and chest. Or you could throw in some sprints – 10 × 50m with 30 seconds recovery in between, increasing the number of intervals as you get stronger.
Improve your balance, posture, core strength and flexibility by taking up a weekly pilates class. For those of us who don’t stretch enough this is a great one to do.