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Article Published on: 28 FEB 2023 |

Running is one of the most popular and effective forms of exercise. It's a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness, build strength and endurance, and burn calories. However, running can be a challenging activity, especially if you're just starting out or trying to improve your performance. In this article, we'll explore the science of running and provide tips for how to improve your technique and performance.

Proper Running Form

One of the most important aspects of running is proper form. Running with proper form not only reduces the risk of injury but also improves performance. Here are some tips for proper running form:

  • Maintain a tall posture with your shoulders relaxed and your head up.

  • Keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and swing them back and forth from your shoulders, not your elbows.

  • Land on the midfoot or forefoot, not the heel, and keep your feet under your body.

  • Use a slight forward lean from the ankles to help propel yourself forward.

Photo by Bradley Dunn

Gradual Increase in Mileage

If you're new to running, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase your mileage. Doing too much too soon can lead to injury, burnout, and decreased motivation. A good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% per week. This allows your body to adapt to the increased stress of running and reduces the risk of injury.

Photo by Tikkho Maciel

Interval Training

Interval training is a type of workout that alternates between periods of high-intensity exercise and rest or low-intensity exercise. This type of training is effective for improving running performance because it helps build endurance and speed. One popular interval training method is the "Tabata" protocol, which involves 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes.

Photo by Edgar Chaparro

Strength Training

Strength training is important for runners because it helps build the muscles needed for running, such as the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Incorporating strength training into your workout routine can also help prevent injury and improve performance. Some good exercises for runners include squats, lunges, and plyometric exercises such as box jumps and burpees.

Photo by Pixabay

Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for running performance. It's important to fuel your body with healthy foods and stay hydrated before, during, and after your runs. Good sources of carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can provide the energy needed for running, while lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and tofu can help repair and build muscle tissue.

Photo by Andres Ayrton

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise when it comes to running performance. Taking time to rest and recover allows your muscles to repair and rebuild, which can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Adequate sleep is also important for recovery and overall health.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Mental Strategies

Running is not just a physical activity – it's also a mental one. Developing mental strategies can help you stay motivated, focused, and positive during your runs. One effective mental strategy is to break up long runs into smaller, more manageable segments. Focusing on your breathing and keeping a steady rhythm can also help calm the mind and improve performance.

In conclusion, running is a great form of exercise that offers numerous health benefits. By following these tips and incorporating proper form, gradual mileage increases, interval training, strength training, proper nutrition and hydration, rest and recovery, and mental strategies, you can improve your running performance and enjoy the many benefits of this rewarding activity. Remember to start slowly and listen to your body, and always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

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