5 Ways to Make Running Suck Less

AcaciaTV
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5 Ways to Make Running Suck Less

“Running Sucks!”

I hear this all the time. In a past life, I often said it myself. Actually for most of my life, running was a punishment. Miss a play, run a lap. Let the ball drop, run suicides. Awful. Just awful.

Then I fell in love with running and eventually became a running coach. Now, aside from showing up at a group training session wearing my Running Sucks tank (which I clearly do to taunt my athletes) I don’t utter those two words anymore. Why?

Simple, I stopped doing it wrong.

You may disagree. “I’ve been running since I was 2, I know how to run,” you might say. But if you think running sucks, the odds are it’s because you don’t know how to run.

That’s okay. Because no one actually teaches us how to run. We learn to walk, then walk faster, then pick up more speed. But that doesn’t constitute knowing how to run.

I’ve watched as sprint form is meticulously taught to gym-goers who couldn’t care less about being a sprinter. But say you wanna run your first 5K and you’ll get a pat on the tush as you’re sent out to “just start running.”

But it’s not too late. I’ve watched many unapologetically self-described “non-runners” come to the dark side after making these 5 simple adjustments.

1. Get your chin down. It’s shocking to me how m1any people jut their chins out when they run—as if they’re trying to edge out the competition and break the tape at the finish. All you’re doing is making it significantly more difficult to breathe and creating a ton of tension in your face, neck and shoulders; in running, tension equals wasted energy which makes running suck. Cut it out and keep your jaw level and relaxed.

chin down

2. Lose the chicken wings. Repeat after me: You run with your legs, not your arms. Sounds ridiculous but I’ve seen many people run like their arms are doing the work. Scrunching your shoulders up into your ears and forcefully swinging rigid arms back and forth isn’t going to make running enjoyable. Relax and create space between your shoulders and ears.

chicken wings

3. Ban sassy booty. Due to how much we sit, many of us allow our backs to do the job of our core muscles. All. Day. Long. The result? sassy booty (and not in a good way). This form flaw wastes power and energy and is the leading cause of lower back pain among runners.

sassy booty

4. Keep your feet under you. Your feet shouldn’t b1e landing out in front of you. Unlike sprinting, the idea in distance running is to keep your knees down and your stride short while turning your legs over quickly. Make this switch and your knees will appreciative it; don’t and you’ll find out why there’s a common misconception that running is bad for your knees.

feet under you

5. Slow down! You should be able to talk without gasping for air every other word while running distance. If you cannot, slow down. No, this doesn’t doom you to a life of being a “slow runner”–speed comes after you’ve learned to run for more than 3 miles comfortably.

Strength training is another way to build a strong running body. AcaciaTV has hours of strength training workouts that’ll help you get more out of your running. Start your 10-day free trial today.

—By Alison Heilig for AcaciaTV.

About the Author

AcaciaTV
AcaciaTV

AcaciaTV is a leading subscription-based streaming fitness service easily accessible on a variety of platforms/devices. Members have complete access to more than 400 workouts in a diverse range of disciplines that they can stream anywhere at any time. AcaciaTV now features new themed 20-minute workouts each month from trainers Kristin McGee, Amanda Young, Deazie Gibson, Gerren Liles and Liz LeFrois. Consumers can visit AcaciaTV at US.Acacia.TV and easily try out the service with its 10-day free trial. The channel is for all fitness levels. Subscription to the service includes access to AcaciaTV’s Facebook fitness community, which offers additional support and a group forum for all members. MyFitnessPal members can receive 25% off any membership for a year with the code acacia4mfp.

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18 responses to “5 Ways to Make Running Suck Less”

  1. Avatar Joy says:

    I would love to be able to talk while running but with asthma it is always a struggle even if I am jogging or sometimes walking fast. Hence I usually prefer running solo… tho I suppose I would be a good listener since I can’t talk! lol

    • Avatar Ryan Prophet says:

      I, too, have asthma (specifically, of the exercise-induced variety). For many years I didn’t run. It was only in the last year that I slowed down enough to be able to breathe when running. When I started slowing down so I could run longer last March, my stride was so short I almost seemed to be running in place; my mile time was somewhere in the 16-minute range. I could easily walk faster than I could run for any distance over a half-mile at that point. It gets gradually faster over time.
      Part of the problem with EIA is you don’t notice you’re going too fast, then it all hits you at once. Try getting a heart rate monitor. If your asthma is exercise induced, and not related to pollen or weather, for example, you should be able to see a distinct point where your heart rate elevates past a certain point, and the asthma hits you like a brick. Your comfortable runs should be around 30 bpm lower than this. For me, I started having breathing difficulties at 175 bpm. On my runs, I target a heart rate somewhere around 145. If I were just relying on the talk method, I can speak pretty easily up into the 160s, but by then I could be on the upswing, too late to stop the oncoming inevitable asthma attack, even if I can’t feel it happening just yet.
      After a couple of miles to warm up at a super-slow pace (my warmup pace is still somewhere around 11-12 minutes per mile), I can do faster intervals or run a race. Then, I always finish with a slow mile to cool down as well. At this point I’m easily logging in excess of 30 miles per week, running 6 days per week. A year ago, I never thought it would be possible.
      I still prefer to run solo, though, because my snail-pace is mine. If anyone is running with me and I don’t pay attention to my HR, I can easily jump above where I want to be and find myself in asthma hell if the speed comes too quickly.
      I hope this helps.

  2. Avatar Timmy Price says:

    This is really a great article. By applying these rules after running for about 6 months I increased my mile time by a shocking 1 minute… And have been able to run about 2 more miles at a time. Thank you and keep posting this stuff.

  3. Avatar Merrilyn Tattersall says:

    Sassy Booty? WTF? Wasn’t a good explanation with that.. And chicken wings?.

  4. Avatar Mikenna says:

    I do agree that your shoulders and arms should be relaxed and not all hunched up, however, your arms should be even more relaxed than what you posted in your picture. Your arms should be low, I was taught that they should be low enough so it looks like your pulling money out of your pocket and handing it forward. The higher your arms and shoulders go, the more stress and tired you will become. To the point where you should shake out your arms while running and continue on. Those who don’t agree with me, I’ve coached and made it to state running 2 miles. Just a friendly suggestion

  5. Avatar Maya Amack says:

    Good advice but holy typos!!!

  6. Avatar JL Haxton says:

    I would love a further explanation on how to make sure your butt is not stuck out. Thanks for the article.

    • Avatar Meechity says:

      Try this: picture your pelvis as a bowl of water. If the bowl tips forward, your bum sticks out (and the water spills). Use your core muscles to tilt the “bowl” upright, and try to run and walk as if you didn’t want to spill water from it. It can feel very unnatural and rigid if you’re not used to it.

  7. Avatar Lela Ellis Robichaux says:

    I do all of these things and still hate running. Meh…it is what it is…

  8. Avatar Susan says:

    Just run. Run like you’re a kid. Every now and then, take off in a sprint like the ice cream truck is 2 blocks down. Listen to the songs you jammed to in your youth and sing out loud to the fun parts (and think it’s funny!). And do the 30 Day Knee Challenge first so you can run without pain. Lucky you! And for goodness sake, put on your running bucket list to do a Color Run! Yay.

  9. Avatar Carey Perkins says:

    I wish you would not use the word “sucks”. Do you know what this word means?

  10. Avatar Meechity says:

    Essential oils smell great (sometimes), but otherwise do nothing.

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