Improving My Run

Maintaining my breath while running

It is not enough to build endurance, relax your breathing or fuel properly; You have to go an extra mile to become better than what you are. A few more tips include;

Run at a Conversational Pace

Another way to track your intensity is to keep your pace moderate enough so that you can talk in complete sentences, not just one-word responses. If you’re running by yourself, you should be able to sing “Happy Birthday” without gasping for air.

If you can’t complete a full sentence without a gasp, slow down and take a walking break. (In fact, a run/walk approach is often a great way to build endurance when first starting out.) When you catch your breath, begin again at a more manageable pace.

Belly Breathe

During your runs, breathe from your belly as opposed to your chest. Try to use your diaphragm to completely fill and empty the lungs. Belly breathing gives your lungs much more room to expand and helps avoid side stitches that can develop when you breathe too quickly.

Swing Your Arms

Keep your arms at a relaxed 90-degree angle while running. They should swing naturally from the shoulders without swaying across your chest. As you step with your right leg, the left arm will naturally move forward. The pattern reverses on the other side. This contralateral movement will help propel the body forward so that your legs don’t have to work as hard.

Focus on Endurance

Use your breathing as a guide and think about running further (or for a longer period of time) rather than running faster. If you are able to run a certain distance without getting winded, you can gradually pick up the pace as long as you follow the same rules regarding form and breathing.

If You Still Feel Tired

When you try each of these approaches and you still get winded during your runs, don’t worry. It happens to everyone, even the most seasoned runners. In fact, you may notice that you have days when you get winded no matter how slowly you run. It’s normal to have good days and bad days.

If you have a bad day, simply scale back and take steps to rest and regroup. Don’t worry too much about a single workout. Instead, focus on your overall training plan and stay consistent with your workouts. Change happens incrementally. If you stick to your plan, you’ll see results over time.

How Physiotherapy Can Help

Professional athletes have a whole team of people, dedicated to helping them succeed including not only their coach, but also physiotherapists, massage therapists, nutritionists, doctors and sports psychologists. While the average marathon participant won’t be in a position to hire such an entourage, a well-qualified physiotherapist can be invaluable to their overall performance, helping them get through the tough training program, providing an individualised program of specific stretches and strengthening exercises. This will improve the tissue’s ability to handle excessive loads and improve performance while reducing any potential problems.

A thorough physical analysis of your body and running gait will help identify potential problems such as poor foot pronation, poor running style, weak muscles, joint related problems, areas of poor flexibility and overall posture. A specific program targeting any weak points will help improve strength, endurance and flexibility, leading to improved performance and a reduction in potential injuries.

A tailored  program should not only analyse your training regime, but also take into consideration your day to day routine, diet and lifestyle – some of those training for the marathon may be physically fit but suffering from postural issues resulting from their daily routine – sitting at a desk all day for example. This can in turn lead to issues during long distance running such as a stiff neck or shoulders.

A necessity rather than a luxury, during marathon training, regular sports massage should be an integrated part of the training program.


Written By:
Thomas Sharanya,
Physical Therapist,
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre

Improving My Run-What I Wished I Knew.

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