We are all looking for ways to improve our running performance, right? We all want to be better next year than we are today, even if we are not running competitively. So how we do that? Because, let’s face it, a sparkle running skirt and the right attitude certainly make running more enjoyable, but they will not help us improve technique or performance.
Runner’s World blogger Dean Karnazes published a great piece this past February offering a couple of practical lifestyle changes that the average runner could use to improve. We will not reiterate the entire post here, but we do want to touch on a couple of his ideas. The three we have chosen are practical things you can do without altering your daily routine all that much. We think they are great ideas.
Take Advantage of ‘Standing’ Time
Our increasingly sedentary culture is leading physical fitness experts to recommend each of us spend at least some time every day on our feet. In fact, you can now buy adjustable desks that allow office workers to sit and stand as they choose. By alternating between the two, experts say you do the most good for your heart, respiratory system, circulation and the musculoskeletal system.
Nevertheless, we would like to take it one step further. We suggest you move around as much as possible.
During your standing time, do not just stand still. Move around as best you can in whatever space you have. Standing still carries with it a tendency to shift your weight to one leg or the other, meaning you are not enjoying the maximum benefits of being on your feet. By walking around you will be getting some additional exercise that keeps your leg muscles loose and your blood flowing. If you cannot move around extensively, you can still exercise your calves and ankles by standing on your toes.
Take Advantage of Running Opportunities
Every opportunity to run is a good opportunity. It is especially helpful if you are able to take short runs throughout the day. For example, put on your running shoes and trot down to the deli for lunch. Even if it is just a short burst for a couple of minutes, it will help keep you loose and strengthen those leg muscles.
If you work in a large office complex or factory, make a point of casually running down the hall when you have to get to the other side of the building. Jog out to the car at quitting time; jog back in from the parking lot in the morning. The lesson to learn here is that every little bit of running you can take advantage of will have some benefit to your overall program.
Consider Spicy Foods for Pain
After an especially rigorous run, you may find yourself heading for the medicine cabinet and its vast store of analgesics. It’s understandable, but maybe you can do better. According to Karnazes, some spicy foods contain certain ingredients that provide natural anti-inflammatory benefits without the need for drugs. He recommends foods containing turmeric, ginger, and capsicum.
One of the hidden benefits of natural anti-inflammatories is that these promote the healing process in addition to relieving inflammation. You will feel better a lot quicker with a natural analgesic.
Just a few changes here and there can drastically improve your running performance. Most of the changes are simple things you and I can do with very little effort. Moreover, with every bit of performance improvement, you will feel better about your running. So much so that a sparkle running costume for the next big race might not be out of the question!