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How to Be a Better Runner Without Taking a Single Step

A couple years ago I injured my knee and I couldn’t run. I thought the world had come to an end. Nonsense you say. Silly. Ridiculous. Well of course it’s nonsense, the world won’t end because I have to take a break. But try telling that to someone who used running as more than just exercise; it’s therapy. I could swim and bike and elliptical (yes, that’s a verb) til my lips turned blue, but I never got that same mental release and emotional freedom that running gave me. The hardest part about returning from an injury is not being able to go out and pick up where you left off. Because you can’t always run through an injury, it becomes endlessly frustrating to feel like you’re starting over from scratch. Luckily there are some things you to be a better runner and ensure you’ll be ready to hit the pavement when you’re all healed:

  • Improve your running 1 of 6
    better-runner

    Whether you're working through an injury or just want to improve your running without spending more time on the pavement, give these strategies a try.

  • Yoga 2 of 6
    yoga-class

    Balance is essential for running. Running involves switching your entire weight from one foot to the other, over and over again. Add in a couple potholes, a tree root, or a piece of debris in the road, and you'll be relying on your sense of balance more than you know.

    Having good balance helps you run more smoothly and evenly, saving you precious energy for later in your run.

    For a truly invigorating workout, try hot yoga!

     

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Pilates 3 of 6
    pilates

    Your core is the center for your running. A strong core holds the rest of your body in proper alignment, which helps prevent injury and helps give you a more powerful stride. Any ab workout will help, but make sure you focus on the entire core and not just the lower abdominals (which crunches target).

     

    Photo credit: with a Side of Sneakers

  • Strength training 4 of 6
    strength-training

    While a strong core is essential, a strong upper and lower body is important too. Sure, running works the muscles in your legs, but it doesn't target every single muscle. Instead it tends to focus on the big ones. Actively targeting all the muscles in the legs will help improve your stride, prevent fatigue, and my favorite, help prevent injury.

    A strong upper body may seem unhelpful when it comes to running, but it's just the opposite. Strong arms and shoulders help you maintain good form when running. Plus, it's one less set of muscles that can get tired during your run.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Stretching 5 of 6
    stretching

    Not many people like to stretch. If you're not naturally flexible, it can be pretty uncomfortable. Activities like yoga and ballet can make it more fun, but sometimes you just have to do it on your own.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Foam rolling 6 of 6
    foam-roller

    Even if you're down for the count with an injury, it doesn't hurt to get your body in prime shape in preparation for your grand return. Foam rolling helps work out the kinks and knots that form in your muscles from repeated use. Foam rolling is a great practice to get into after runs to aid with recovery and prevent future injury.

     

    Photo credit: with a Side of Sneakers

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