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Prep With The Stretch

Admit it, every time you put on your running shoes and head out for a run, you're thinking about pushing yourself. It might be competitiveness - you want to run faster or longer. Or it might be vanity - a faster or longer run will burn more calories. But you do think about doing it, right? The most obvious way to run faster and become leaner is to spend more rime in your running shoes. The more you run, the stronger a runner you become and the more calories you burn. Add just 1 km to your regular runs and, if you increase your weekly distance by 5km, you're looking at burning an extra 350 to 400 calories.

Some Tips On How To Improve Your Running And Get Fitter In The Process

The Long Run

Once a week, do a long run. Start the run slower than your normal pace, and try and keep running for an extra five to 10 minutes. Do this for three to four weeks, then take a break for a week. Before you know it, your body will be used to that distance.

The Lactate Level

Most of us jog at a pace where we can chat without much difficulty. Now increase your pace till you can't talk at all. That's the stage where you feel you'll have to grind to a halt soon. But if you can stay at that level, you'll not only burn a lot of more calories - a 50kg runner burns about 258 calories with a Skin run that takes 30 minutes, but make it 6km in the same time and the person burns 310 calories - you'll be conditioning your body to run faster for longer.

Split Your Runs

Yes, it's a hassle with two loads of sweaty workout gear to dump in the washing machine, but this will let you increase your mileage without much effort. If you normally run 5kin, split it into two runs of 3km each. You'll breeze through the runs without realising that you've actually upped your total distance. Plus the post-workout metabolic high (which . continues to burn calories even as you cool down and head for the shower) is doubled. Stretching is important as it makes you a better runner by increasing the flexibility and function of muscles and joints. It also keeps you injury-free and reduces the soreness after exercise.

Here Are Some Tips On Stretching

  • Never stretch a cold muscle. Warm up by walking or doing other gentle movements.
  • Slowly increase your stretch until you feel a slight tension. As you hold the stretch, the muscle will relax. As you feel less tension, increase the stretch again until you feel the same slight pull.
  • The stretch should be a little uncomfortable but never to the point of pain. Don't bounce to get more of a stretch.
  • Breathe slowly and rhythmically as you hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Studies show that after six weeks, those who stretched each muscle for 30 seconds each day increased their range of motion much more than those who held the stretch for just 15 seconds per muscle each day.
  • Stretch with a buddy. Use each other for resistance but be gentle.
  • Be patient. It takes one to two weeks of stretching before you will note any changes in flexibility or function of the muscle.

The Pirformis Stretch

Tuck the front leg under the body with the knee in line with the opposite shoulder. Slowly press the hips in the same direction as the leg in front and feel the stretch in that side of the buttocks.

The Soleus Stretch

(For the back of the leg from ankle to calf muscle.) Place your hands on a stable surface with one leg in front. Slowly bend the back leg and feel the stretch along the back of the lower leg.

The Hip Flexor Stretch

Place one leg in front and slowly bend the knee till you feel the stretch in the thigh of the front leg and the buttock.


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