The Top 5 Hacks To Be a Better Runner Without Ever Running!
1. Learn Toe Yoga!
When the feet aren't strong you're running suffers too! Injury can come in the form of pesky pains like shin splint and plantar fasciitis. But don't fear! Toe yoga can strengthen those weak little muscles that we typically don't use due to being shoe bound most of the day.
What's The Fix?: Force your big toe directly into the ground. Then try to slightly raise the rest of your toes while keeping your big toe still. If you're unable to move the 4 little guys without also moving the big guy then you're using your shin muscles. That means that while you run your shin muscle is going to be overtaxed as it's performing the job of other muscles as well as its own!
Do this exercise for a minute or three daily. When starting out you can use your hands to keep your big toe in place. As you get stronger you'll need less force to keep it in place because the tiny foot muscles will be able to do their job properly! 👍
2. Stand Right
What's The Fix?: Stand straight up and let your arms hang by your side. Take note of where most of your weight ends up. Is it on your toes or your heels? Focus on adjusting your ribs downward to bring the weight off your heels and towards the middle of your foot. Do the opposite if your weight is on your toes. Then turn your hand outward so your palm faces forward and lengthen the back of your neck. Become familiar with what that all feels like and aim for a posture closer to this when you run.
3. Core Strength!
Remember we talked about posture a minute ago? Well core strength for posture is essential! This allows for improved running mechanics along with protecting your joints and bones from the impact force that travels through your body when you stride. The stronger the muscles, the more protection.
What's The Fix?: Planks, planks and more planks! Well... you can do more than that, but planks for core strength are as American as apple pie. Start with the classic front plank (face forward, rest of the elbows and toes, straight back, hold and breath) and then turn over some reverse dynamic planks. Rest on your elbows again, but your body you be facing the sky and with your head facing slightly towards your chest. Raise one leg and hold for 5 seconds. Switch and do the same with the other. Do about 10 reps (or however many you can). Pro Tip: Spare your poor elbows...don't do this on concrete 🤕
4. Ummm... Don't Get Injured
So What's The Fix, Einstein?: Okay... I deserve that one 🤣 ...BUT there are some tricks to prevent or recover from injury which will keep you running for years to come and surpassing those that don't take this seriously. First, stretch in between runs. Got a couple days off? Stretching will not only help you recover, but it will also improve your range of motion and make it less likely that you get injured on your next run.
And here's my favorite little hack... Got a slight knee pain, or shin splints? Make a cayenne pepper paste out of warm water, ground cayenne pepper, and a little apple cider vinegar (optional). Mix it all up, apply to the painful area, and massage. It will heat up A LOT. So go easy on the cayenne to start (You should get used to the heat over time). Cayenne pepper and capsicum, it's active ingredient is a natural pain reliever and can work wonders for minor nagging pain.
That's it. Put them these hacks to work today and start shaving some time off your races!
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