by Cooper Elling in Training Tips, image by Alexander Farley

Go Crazy: Unique Running Tips to Help You Break Out!

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I love to run around, but when it comes to “heading out for a run” sometimes I just lose focus mentally.  I get bored.  I start thinking way too early about when I’m going to be done and I get tired much earlier than I should.  I’m a very physically fit guy, I can mountain bike, hike, play basketball, volleyball or tennis for hours, but when it comes to running, I just lose focus.  I understand how people physically finish a marathon, but mentally I just can’t grasp it.  However, here is the light at the other end of the tunnel; I’ve figured out ways to have fun and feel better while running!  So if you’re a beginner that needs something fresh or a veteran who is stuck in a rut, my tips and goofy style is for you!

Run Face Forward The Whole Time – Who Does That?

My mind and body get bored when I run straightforward all the time.  When I run, I typically run on a trail or path in the woods, or if I have to hit the roads, I’ll incorporate a local field into my running routine because I like to mix it up.  After I’ve been running straight for a little while, I’ll turn sideways and start doing slides like a basketball player would do on defense.  Then, I’ll start crossing up my legs doing karaoke’s on both sides before turning a bit more and running backwards before turning around and falling back into stride.  Maybe it’s just me, but when I kick back around after a few minutes of different exercises, my running stride feels better and I have a skip in my step like a running back ready to accelerate.  Other exercises I like to do to mix it up are power skips, high knees, and butt kicks.

Run Barefoot

Running barefoot is an amazing way to work on your running form.  When you run barefoot, your foot no longer has a gigantic cushion underneath and you are forced to run much lighter on your feet.  You’ll find yourself up on the balls of your feet, feeling out each step and taking shorter, quicker strides.  Head to a local field or turf, but obviously be very careful of what might be lying underfoot.  Jog around the field, run back and forth, enjoy the natural feeling of running barefoot and try to learn from it the next time you strap on your shoes.

The Warm-Up Run/Mini-Workout/Run

I love the way my body feels after I run, but I also love the way it feels after putting some blood into my upper body.  I say, why not do both?  Sometimes, if I head out for a run I immediately feel so tight.  You know that feeling when after a mile of running all of a sudden it starts to feel easier?  Similar, if I have done something else relatively active during the day and I run later, I notice that I feel nice and loose.  Try this out.  Start your run nice and loose, shake it out, run slowly, light and bouncy on your feet for about a ½-1 mile to any public grassy space.  Now that you’re there, do some pushups and pull-ups then stretch out your legs and body for 10 minutes or so.  I like dynamic stretches where I’m still slightly moving and not staying stuck in one place for long. Do a nice minute of power skips or high knees to get your legs pumping again and your motivation raging and now set out for your real run.  What you’ve done now is to have warmed-up, got the blood flowing and stretched; now you’re really ready to run.

Run in New Areas – New Loops

I think one of the easiest fixes for getting stuck as a beginner or veteran runner is to change up where you run or the loop that you do.  If every time you run you head out for the same loop it’s so monotonous.  You mentally note down every little checkpoint and the run drags on.  Not to mention, you get stuck doing that loop and you don’t push yourself into a longer run.  Head into the woods and hit some trails or just get lost on some new streets you’ve never ventured into.  Don’t get too carried away, but if I set out without a plan I seem to be more captivated and less focused on where I am and just that I’m moving.




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