Cardiovascular endurance is a key component to success in functional and CrossFit-style workouts. It can be built in a number of ways, but we mainly associate it with rowing, biking or running.
Out of the three, running is the simplest, most natural way to improve our endurance and make us better athletes. But it’s probably for its simplicity that fewer people will show up for class on running days.
Work out longer and build up your stamina with running
We know, running is not as glamorous as lifting heavier weight or learning to do a muscle-up or walking on our hands. Yet, adding running in workouts – or even just running on rest days – can improve your overall performance and scores at the box.
Not only will it help you work out longer, but it will also help you tackle other workouts without getting exhausted after the first round.
Become a more efficient and happy runner
Like every other movements we do at Andfit, we focus on teaching good running mechanics which are essential to make us more efficient and reduce our risk of injury. They might also make running more enjoyable and less “boring”.
So let us tell you about four simple strategies to implement in your next workout:
- Maintain good body position
There are three things to focus on which can help you maintain a neutral position and avoid unnecessary tightness in your body: (1) keeping your core muscles engaged; (2) having your arms relaxed at your sides with your forearms parallel to the ground; and (3) having your eyes focused forward as you run.
- Let gravity pull you forward
Now that your body is in proper position, slowly and just slightly start to lean forward, bending at your ankles and keeping your hips in line with your core and legs. Then start picking up your legs (one after another) to “catch” yourself as you fall forward. Let gravity work for you and keep the momentum going.
- Improve your foot strike
Push off from the ball of your feet (instead of just lifting them). This will help you propel forward better rather than running on your toes or striking with your heel. Also think about landing your feet lightly and gently to reduce foot impact and risk of injury.
- Use rhythmic belly breathing
Deep abdominal breathing (known as diaphragmatic breathing) allows you to take in more air and to use oxygen more efficiently. You’ll also be less likely to experience side stitches. Find a good breathing rhythm to follow and maintain it during the workout.
- Ask your coach
Everyone is different and there is no exact mechanics that fits all. So ask your coach to check your form, give you tips to win the run in a workout and get running!
These are only the start!
Running might seem like a simple task, but there is a lot to take into consideration to reach good running mechanics and these are only the start.
Next time you want to improve your endurance and you see running comes up in a workout, challenge yourself to show up, listen to your coach and use the opportunity to work on your running skills.
And remember, every time you run, you are up to improve your box scores!