4 Ways to Improve Your Running this WinterDec 31, 2013
1. First, Run in Soft Snow for Good Technique
The unstable surface of the snow does not allow you to push off for propulsion. This backward force may cause you to slip as the snow moves with your foot. Thus, you lose traction. If you don't push off from behind, you probably won't feel the need to throw your foot forward and break by landing on your heel in front of your body. As a result, you automatically shorten your stride. Your foot lands right underneath your body, which all of the injury prevention, stress reducing running techniques - Chi Running, Pose Method, Evolution Running, Natural Running and Alexander Technique--highly recommend.
2. Second, Function Run for Proper Muscle Mechanics
The function run teaches proper muscle activation for running. Additionally, if done correctly, it will eliminate compensations, especially from the upper body. You can do this inside while on a treadmill. As you do this, keep the speed slow. I find ~ 3 mph is a good pace. For more information on the function run, refer to my blog: Understanding the Function Run.
3. Third, Develop a Mantra for Mental Toughness
A mantra is a word or phrase you repeat while exercising that inspires you and keeps you focused and positive. This helps because our thoughts affect our performance. If you are out there running and thinking about how slow you are, how hard you're breathing or that your legs feel like lead, you will not do your best. Instead, pick words to repeat that will push you to exceed your own expectations. While you repeat these words, tell yourself, I am strong, light as a feather, float, nice and easy, keep it smooth . . . In other words, you need to condition your mind because it's just as important as controlling your body.
4. Fourth, Improve Your Posture Alignment for Injury Prevention
If you don't have a strong skeletal base, your body is not at its peak. As a result, you have a greater chance of getting hurt. An astronomical number of runners are hurt every season. If you have an elevated hip, pronated foot, or rotated knee, you can only take the strain of running for so long before you cry out for mercy! At this point, you have to reduce your mileage, or even worse, stop running altogether. In order to avoid this, address your misalignments now, in the off season, for longer, healthier running when the snow melts.
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