You can barely run a few minutes run without feeling exhausted or the need to take a break.
Or, on a beautiful day, you go for a run and realize a mile in, “I am slow, out of shape, and terrible at running“.
So if you are asking yourself the following thoughts- How can I improve my cardio? Why am I a slow runner? Are there any secrets to running better?… read on.
This article I’ve outlined will help you faster and more effective runner, whether it’s to prepare for a marathon, improve at another sport, lose weight, or general working out and running.
I know you may not like me asking you this, but… how often are you actually going on a running? (and no, running to your car on a rainy day doesn’t count!)
Just like any skill or sport, you have to consistently do the activity to get better.
For instance, people are not hitting out of the park home runs at the professional level after swinging the bat one time in little league, instead, they are constantly improving their swing through repetition.
So how is running any different than any other skill as far as practicing? The answer is it’s not.
Running more often will definitely teach you not to suck as much at running because it will
- Improve your overall cardio endurance making you physically able to run longer
- Teach you how to pace yourself and not burn out
I’m not saying you need to run 10 miles seven days a week if you suck at running, but I am saying it needs to be more consistent. (You know the old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it” and this is especially true with running)
This may mean you run 3 miles twice a week or run 1 mile three times a week. It all depends on your goals.
I recommend if you are starting from the couch to do 1 mile a few times a week, then comfortably move up to 2 miles then 3 miles.
First off, you can be decent if not good with bad and poor running form (note: you may also have higher risk of injury with poor form).
Nevertheless, if you are already bad at running or general cardio, then maybe you need to take a look at your running form.
Improving your running technique, and form can increase your energy efficiency, speed, and endurance without having to increase your overall training intensity.
Although there is no absolutely perfect running form that everyone follows, there are some general techniques a majority of competitive runners follow such as
- looking forward instead of looking straight down
- slight forward lean with upper body
- land lightly on your feet almost as if you run across hot coals
Now, if you suck or generally bad at running, you don’t have to try improving every aspect of your running form during the entire run.
Instead, you could focus on one specific aspect of the running form during a portion of your runs. A good example would be landing lighter on your feet for 5 to 10 minutes of your run.
The Mentality for Slow Runners
The mentality of runners is one of the most overlooked parts for new and slow runners but is easily the most important aspect of running. Honestly, if you develop a strong mental game for running, you probably won’t need to read the rest of this article.
Your body may be exhausted and your legs are about to give out, but telling yourself mentality to push through the pain can make a world of difference during your run.
If you continue to think to yourself “I suck at running” or “this run is going to suck”, then guess what chances are the run is going to suck.
Instead, have the confidence to believe in yourself and that you are gonna kick this run’s butt! (have the confidence like the Irish fighter Conor McGregor before a UFC fight or Beyonce before a concert)
Here are some mental tips to use for your next run, so you can stop sucking at running.
- Positivity: tell yourself that you have run in the bag
- Focus on the next step: don’t focus on completing the entire run, instead focus on just trying to complete the next quarter mile or 3 minutes of the run.
- Think You’re Hot Stuff: Seriously try it!
Sure this mentality advice is not directly improving your physical muscle mass, but this advice can still refine your running ability such as improving how far you can run without stopping.
Breathing is something you’ve learned how to do since birth, or else without breathing you would be dead, no questions asked.
Breathing is one of the most important things for your survival, yet have you ever thought to yourself “maybe I should improve on this since I need it to live”.
During a run, improper breathing can make running 1 mile feel like running 5 miles uphill.
Correct breathing patterns make running long distances feel so much easier due to maximizing your oxygen intake while maximizing the outtake of carbon dioxide.
So many times I see people huffing and puffing during their runs, and these people end up tiring themselves out. Now breathing techniques for running can quite complicated, but there a few simple tips to start with
- Avoid shallow breathing: it makes seem like you taking in more oxygen because you can breathe more often, but the problem is you intake only a small amount of oxygen
- Take deep belly breaths: To properly use this technique you need breathe from your belly so you maximize the intake of oxygen.
Once you learn how to have a good breathing pattern while running, the terrible sucky runs you struggled with previously will almost not a be challenge for you anymore.