7 Ways To Level Up Your Running
Running is an excellent activity, and our favorite way to exercise outdoors. Spring has sprung, which means people are dusting off their running sneakers. We want to give you a few unique tidbits in this article to help you level up your running. These 7 Ways To Level Up Your Running will make you a better long distance runner, one fun and injury-free run after another.
7 ways to level up your running
1. Perfect your form by running uphill.
How do you figure out if you have perfect running form? Easy, just run up the closest hill. Hills force you to lean forward at an angle, take small strides, and land on the balls of your feet (the squishy bits beneath your toes). This is a great technique to help you become a better and stronger long distance runner.
2. Try minimalist running.
If you’ve ever seen us run, we’re huge fans of the Vibram FiveFingers shoes. Alex has run several marathons in them. These shoes allow you to feel the ground and terrain beneath you, creating a whole new connection to the trail. It’s a very cool and unique experience while also holding us to great form. We recommend trying minimalist to level up your running. Just note that you need to work your way up to running with these or any minimalist shoe as they use different (and often dormant) muscles.
3. Cross-train to prevent injury.
To level up your running, cross-training is a non-negotiable. Add body weight training focused primarily on the legs and core to strengthen your running stabilizer muscles (hip, core, and glutes). Think squats, lunges, clamshells, and plank. Also, incorporate unilateral strength moves to identify imbalances that can lead to injury while running. Our favorite workout to suss these out is P90X3’s Dynamix. After a run, we recommend this the 24-minute workout “Yoga for Runner’s with Ted” available on the Beachbody Yoga Studio.
Next, don’t underestimate the importance of upper body strength to become a better runner. When you’re running and start to get tired, your form is the first thing to go. A strong upper body helps you maintain proper posture to keep your shoulders square and lifted with your arm swing forward.
Finally, scared of shin splints? Ryan’s high school track coach used to have the team walking on their heels for 100-yards as a shin splint preventative.
4. Eat more vegetables.
Properly fueling your body is critical to become a better long distance runner. While carbo loading may have been engrained since high school “pasta parties,” we’re sorry to tell you that you don’t need to pound spaghetti the night before a 5k. Research shows that for anything less than a marathon, you should stick to your normal, balanced diet.
But what is the best diet to level up your running? This one is hard to pinpoint, but let’s just say that a growing number of ultra-endurance runners, from Rich Roll to Brendan Brazier, have opted for plant-based lifestyles. Eimanne Zein, an ultrarunner from California, saw her marathon time drop 30-minutes without extra training and recovered faster from training runs after she cleaned up her diet.
While going vegan is big jump for most, the main thing is to avoid processed foods which don’t provide runners with the proper fuel. Our best recommendation is to eat what you should be eating.
As vegan ultra-legend Scott Jurek said, “What we eat is a matter of life and death.”
5. The Scatman Challenge.
A Brunel University study showed that listening to music can make you run faster by 15%! The magic song was found to have 180 beats per minute (BPM). Next time you run, jam to “Hey Ya!” by OutKast, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin, and “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar Mellencamp. These beats will surely take your long distance running to the next level.
Want to level up your running even more? One of the greatest runners of all time, Haile Gebrselassie, famously ran to the beat of the 1995 hit Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) in his head to break the 5,000m world record by nearly 11 seconds.
We challenge you to make a new playlist for this weekend’s run, and make sure to include Scatman!
6. Rock your rest days ‘n roll.
It’s important for runners to incorporate rest days and foam rolling is not only a great way to let your muscles recover, but it is also finds areas of inflammation, tension, and muscle soreness. Our favorite DIY rolling device is a 2′ long, 4″ diameter PVC pipe covered in duct tape for grip.
7. Run with your partner.
How could we not include this one? Get the duo out on a run and level up your running together. It’ll change up your routine, route, and work out any pent up energy!
To end, we want to leave you with a quote from our friend, Noureddine Sahibi, a sponsored runner with over 50 ultra-marathons under his belt and who lives by the motto: more run, more fun.
“When I ran my first marathon, this is when the sparkle came. This sensation of having the angel on one side and the devil on the other one. Both like a cartoon and both giving their voice, “You can do it” and the other one, “No you cannot.” It was so exciting. It was so special that I wanted to see if I could have this sensation again and I got it at every race. Of course, we train to be on the good side but, every race, the devil is there.“
– Noureddine (@NoureddineShanghai)
You can think of your run as an amazing gift that you can do with your body, or, you can think of it as being tough and exhausting. Reply and let us know in what ways you leveled up your running!