You might be surprised to hear that for many people it isn’t the obstacles that pose the biggest challenge (yes not even Electroshock Therapy) but the running distance. While we always remind Mudders that Tough Mudder isn’t a race but a challenge, and it really doesn’t matter whether you run or walk (or do a mixture of both) we also believe in personal accomplishment and what better time to learn to run, than when you’re training for Tough Mudder?
We asked Tough Mudder Trainer (and marathon runner) Born Barikor to take us right back to basics, we’re talking form, pace and even breathing – everything you could possible need to go from running novice to jogging expert.
How to Warm Up for a Run
As with any kind of exercise it’s important to warm up your body before you start to avoid injury. This can be difficult when you’re excited to get started but you won’t regret taking the time to prepare your muscles. Born and Rebecca suggest incorporating lots of dynamic stretches into your warm up such as leg swings, opening and closing the gate and side lunges. It’s also important to do a light version of what you’re about to do so when you’re about to go for a run, start by walking or lightly jogging.
How to Perfect Your Running Form
It might seem strange talking about ‘how to run’, surely you just get out there and do it? But getting your form right is key if you want to start running and keep running and if you want to avoid injury. Once you’ve got a few runs under your belt nailing your form will also help you move more efficiently. Born suggests the following for perfect running form:
- Look straight ahead
- Keep shoulders upright but relaxed
- Arms should be driving at 90 degress
- Aim to strike the floor with the ball of your foot
How to Nail the Pace of Runs
Most of us can break into a sprint if we need to (when the pizza finally arrives, last orders, a big dog in the distance etc) but the real question is can you keep running? If not you might not have your pace down. If you’re only just starting out don’t feel that you need to be running for half an hour straight away, you can mix running and walking for as long as you need to. You’ll find a pace that suits you once you’ve moved to running for your whole session, a good way to find that pace is to make sure that while you’re running you are still able to breath fully and deeply.
How to Use Interval Training to Increase Fitness
Interval training might sound like a fad exercise but it’s a great way to build up your fitness quickly. In the video Rebecca takes on some hill sprints, these won’t be easy and they will hurt but pushing yourself for short bouts will increase your speed and stamina both of which you’ll need to improve your running.
How to Breath Correctly When You Run
We know this one sounds silly but breathing correctly when you run can be the difference between finishing early with a stitch or making it to that new PB. When you’re running make sure your back and shoulders are relaxed and your chest is open, this will help you take deep breaths. Born also likes to use his stride pattern to keep his breathing calm, taking a deep breath every fourth stride.
Top Tips for Learning to Run
You’re almost ready to lace up and hit the pavement, we just have a few final top tips from Born and Rebecca.
- Always warm up and cool down
- Make sure you stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
- Don’t eat too close to going running
- Take time out to rest and recover
- Running with someone else is a great way to stick to your new habit