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Reader Question: My running is very bad, so is there any tricks and practices? - Vaibhav


Thank you to Vaibhav for the honest and important question!

Note: This is not a "trick" but it's so important, I'm going to break with tradition and answer it. There is a trick that I can provide, but I'll do it in a future installment. (Yes, I'm full of tricks, but sometimes I have to take a different approach)

The answer is three-fold: to specifically practice what you want to improve, and that you must view and measure your progress in order to improve. The third part is that you must ensure you don’t hurt yourself.

Practise and measure what you want to improve:
For example. if you need more forward speed on a badminton court, your running practice should have speed runs of very short distance. See how long it takes you to run 20 metres, and constantly try to improve this time. Don't practise a lot of 100 metre runs unless you are playing on a 100 metre badminton court!

If you don't move sideways fast enough, practise side to side runs. See how long it takes you to run sideways from the sideline to the center of a soccer (football) field and back; constantly try to improve this time.

If at all possible, take a video of yourself running and look for any motion that is not productive. For example, if your body goes up and down while you run, focus on keeping your body moving horizontally instead. If your legs go out to the side while you run, focus on keeping them pushing in a straight line.

Don't hurt yourself:
The overriding factor is that you must be wise in your conditioning. You must be careful to get and pay attention to your doctor's advice. If you have extra weight especially, you should work to reduce that first rather than work on anything that will stress your body (i.e. speed). Your speed will automatically increase as you lose weight and are therefore moving less weight around. This is actually an advantage for you that thin people don’t have. You may already have good muscles that are just working under extra load. HOWEVER: Your body joints are designed to support your ideal weight, so they will wear out or fail if you try to use them like you are an ideal weight when you're not.

When you are at or close to a good weight for your body type, that’s when you can start to push more, but still be careful and heed your doctor and any warning signs that your body is giving you. On one hand, if you never run as fast as you can, you will never run faster than that. However, just because you can run a particular speed doesn't mean you can't hurt yourself at that speed. You may need to take weeks or months of practice to get your body ready for your maximum speed (and subsequently to increase your maximum speed). Every practice, you need to warm up with slower runs; your fastest run of the day should be your second last one.

Give yourself at a day or two between running practices to give your body a chance to heal and strengthen. Try not to take 3 or more days off in between practices, but do what you need to in order not to hurt yourself. If you get injured, it's much worse for your improvement program than missing one workout day.

There’s two more very important components to running that I’ll cover in upcoming weeks: fast starts, and base conditioning.

All the best with your running!

Next week: Another reader question! (don't forget to submit yours...)