I am not one of those guys that enjoys a Saturday morning run. I look with envy at those toned and tranquil men trotting around Wandsworth Common before brunch. They seem so zen, fit, and happy. I, on the other hand, would be red-faced and clumsily flouncing for a total of 5 minutes before cursing the world and giving up.
Cardio is clearly not my strong suit and it never has been, not since my days as an awkward and overweight teenage gay who was constantly mocked for being gay. (In their defence, they were right). To this day I can’t run for the night bus without worrying if my run is too gay? Where do my hands go? How much do I lean? Should I try and look serious or camp it up and accept it?
While I’m sure that no one gives a shit what I look like when I run, being more confident in your running technique could be the key to achieving the runner’s high they keep talking about.
So here are some tips to tweak your technique and become a more efficient and resilient runner.
1. Start some strength conditioning
The bulk of improving your running style comes from other types of training, such as strength and conditioning training to improve your technique. Weight training three times a week can drastically improve your performance, with a strong focus on squats, lunges, and other leg exercises in order to improve your overall body strength and reduce your risk of injury.
2. Focus on functional fitness
Many runners, both recreational and professional, have severely limited mobility. Repetitive training will drastically reduce your flexibility if mobility training isn’t incorporated, leaving you more prone to injury and unable to improve your performance over time.
Are you able to balance on one leg, or squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground? If not you could probably benefit from adding some mobility exercises into your routine before you head out for a run, such as walking lunges with trunk twists, side lunges, and knees to chest.
3. Try and improve one thing at a time
When you start thinking about your running technique it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you want to change. Instead, focus on one thing at a time, which will likely result in more improvements without you even noticing.
Where are you looking when you run? If you find yourself looking down at your feet, work to look about 50 metres ahead of you, which will usually result in a nice forward lean.
b. Arm swing
Where are your arms going when you run? If they’re swinging too much they’re likely to put you off-balance and make your legs snake underneath you. Relax your arms and swing them at your sides, making sure they don’t come across the midline of your body.
Are you a heel striker? This could mean that your over-striding, which could affect your running posture and gait. Focus on landing with your feet just in front of you in order to shorten your stride a little bit. This will reduce your heel-strike and will help you to lean forward more while running.
If you’re not breathing properly, not only will you fatigue quicker and struggle to get enough oxygen to your muscles, but your entire running posture could be affected. If you do some pursed-lips breathing and work to breathe from your belly, your shoulders will relax and your running posture will improve dramatically.
Gay Personal Trainers
If you’d like to work to improve your running, or any other aspect of your training, you might benefit from working with a gay personal trainer. They can design a training and nutrition program to suit your individual needs, and be on hand to help coach you towards your goals.
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