How To Stay Relaxed While Running – A Guide To Running Efficiency
To be a faster runner efficiency is important. That means staying relaxed even when the going gets tough.
Because tension in the body compromises your running form, staying relaxed helps you become more efficient when you run. If you are one of those people who are constantly tense, your running form and speed will hold you back from being a more successful runner.
So if you want to hit those splits throughout your next run and constantly improve your finishing times. Learning how to stay relaxed when you run will not only help you improve it will also prevent fatigue from setting in early.
Why Is Being Relaxed When You Run Important?
Staying relaxed when you run is important because it helps relax the mind and also helps you maintain your form for longer. Generally, this is something we learn over time, but there are some simple tricks to help you learn to relax when you run, which we go through in this article.
Being relaxed when you run will prevent the upper body from tensioning up during harder sessions. It will also lower the amount of force traveling through the legs and body as you run. This means it can help reduce some of the impacts when landing. This is often seen through the knees, hips, and lower back. However, learning to relax the upper body when you run can help slow down breathing, lower the heart rate, and use less energy.
A tense runner will bring more attention to certain parts of the body. Usually, these are areas in the body where you may already have a small injury or parts of the body that lack strength.
Someone that is not relaxed when they run will show signs of tension. High shoulders, tense eyebrows, and a compressed upper body when they run are common. However, some people may stiffen up in the lower body or change their technique when they start to tense up.
How To Stay Relaxed While Running?
Luckily there are many ways how to stay relaxed when running. This can be changing the way you breathe (slowly down your breathing, or breathing from the belly), dropping your shoulders when you run, or even relaxing your hands to prevent them from clasping.
These are all typical mistakes a beginner runner makes when fatigued. If you watch most world-class runners, they stay relaxed for 90% of the race. This helps them stay more efficient and waste less energy throughout the event.
To stay relaxed when you run there are some tips you should follow. These include:
– Periodically check the body is relaxed throughout a run
– Learn to rise the shoulders and exhale as you drop the shoulders
– Slow down the breathing and focus on belly breathing
– Drop your arms and take a deep breath
– Try to lower your heart rate
– Relax your face muscles and let your lips bounce feeling as you run
– Try to keep even splits and refrain from sudden surges
It is important to periodically check that all the body is relaxed when you run. If you feel your arms are tense, try to relax your hands by shaking them every 10 minutes. Alternatively, focus on being smooth and fluent with every stride. Ultimately, if you run with a heart rate monitor, try to lower your heart rate as you run. Even dropping your heart rate by 5bpm will allow you to feel more relaxed and in control.
Other things like regular speed work and stride-outs can help you learn to be more relaxed at speed. Often stride outs and speed work are faster than a race. This often helps you feel more in control when running at a slower speed.
Should You Run With Hands Open Or Closed?
Good running form and a relaxed stride often starts with your hands. Your hands should always be relaxed when you run. If you are clasping your hands too tight or even straightening them too much, you will end up causing more tension in the upper body. Ultimately, this will just end up slowing you down, and in some cases cause muscle soreness the day after.
When it comes to running with your hands open or closed, there is no correct answer. Some people find that a closed hand feels more comfortable, while others may feel an open hand is better.
However, what you shouldn’t do is close your hand too tightly. This will end up creating more stress in the upper body and waste valuable energy. Alternatively running with a straight hand isn’t natural, and causes similar problems.
Some studies have found that keeping the hands loose but not open will cause less tension in the arms and shoulders.
A good way to promote a good hand position is to hold something small when you run. This will help your brain get used to running with a slightly open hand. Alternatively, spend periods of your run focusing on your hand position and when you feel you are changing the hand position, shake them out and move them back into the correct position. By doing this you will naturally progress to a more relaxed hand position
How To Stay Relaxed While Running – Final Words
If you still struggle to stay relaxed when running, reach out to a running coach. They can help look at your running technique and help you make appropriate changes. Alternatively, try to get regular massages to help keep the mobility in the body.
Changes take time, and there is no quick solution. So, if you want to be a more efficient runner, start making small changes now and focus on one part of the body at a time.