Running Your Own Run

Written by Barefoot Dawsy

There are a million blogs out there, with a million tips on how to run your best, and though it can be incredibly useful to get advice from other runners, at the end of the day, it’s arguably just asĀ  important to do things your way.

We each have a lot of biological traits in common, so general improvements such as bending your knees, upping your cadence, etc can be applied to nearly everyone. What you will need to work on as an individual, however, is the degree to which this advice is put to use.

So how do we do this?

The big secret is that you need to pay close attention to what your body is trying to tell you as you run (and recover). Each run is a little different, due to external factors, such as environment, and internal factors, such as injuries and mental state. Getting to know and understand these pressures, and how you tend to react to them, can be a big help in making your next run more pleasant.

When you get out there and run, take stock of any niggles that come up, try to figure what’s causing them, and how to fix them. Try to stay in a state of awareness of your body throughout your run so that you can adapt as your energy levels ebb and flow.

To help you do this, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Ditch the iPod: Music and running go great together, but if you really want to improve your running and reduce your chances of getting injured, leave the MP3 player at home
  2. Before and after your run, do a mental checklist of your body from top to bottom and take note of any niggles or sore bits. As you run, keep these points in mind and pay attention to how they improve or deteriorate over time
  3. Clear your mind of all those wandering thoughts, and focus on being in your run. Holding onto the stress of the day during your run can make you tense up and make existing problems worse. Relax and enjoy your run!
  4. Learn the techniques that are best suited to you. Some people like to tear out of the gates during a race, and others will build up to their race pace. Some drink heaps of water, and others go dry. Experiment with different techniques and distances, find out what works for you, and don’t be swayed by what others are doing.

How do you run your own run? If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment below!

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Barefoot Basics #1: Relax

Written by Barefoot Dawsy

There are literally dozens of tips, tricks, and techniques that I can (and will) show you about barefoot running, but there is one simple tip that rules them all: Relax!

When you’re relaxed, running becomes a wonderul, enjoyable experience. Without tension in your body, you use less energy just flexing unnecessary muscles. You will run farther, and may even find yourself smiling like an idiot at the passersby.

You may have heard this tip before, and wondered how to implement it. It can take a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it quickly becomes second nature.

To begin with, get yourselff relaxed before you even take your first step. Stand in place, and, starting from the top of your head, allow each and every muscle between there and your toes relax, one by one. As you do this, breathe in slowly through your nose, hold for a moment, then exhale out your mouth.

Once you’re fully relaxed, lean your hips forward and let your bodystart to run. Keep breathing at a nice, even pace. As you run, you will notice tension begin to slowly creep in to your neck, shoulders, legs, etc. Try to spot these pressure points early on and focus on relaxing them again.

Be careful not to let yourself get too relaxed. You don’t want your feet to flop about and your legs to turn into jelly. The art is to learn to relax yourself just enough.

Keep practising, and you’ll start to notice a big difference in your enjoyment and mastery of running.