12 Ways to Optimize Your Run
Herbalife Nutrition and Fitness
Herbalife Nutrition has a reputation for attracting the best to its ranks and Samantha Clayton is no exception. Now, a mother of four, Samantha was once a world class competitive sprinter. She boasts the 2000 Sydney Olympics on her resume, competing in both the 200 meter and the 4×100 meter relays. In other words, Samantha is an expert on running!
Samantha Clayton currently serves as Herbalife Nutrition’s Senior Director of Fitness & Education with experience as a certified personal trainer and as a group exercise coach. She has credentials from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA).
Most of the following tips for running are gleaned from Samantha’s five part video series entitled, “5 Weeks to Run a 5K,” that she produced for Herbalife Nutrition.
Tip #1: Don’t Push Your Body Too Hard
Samantha stresses the importance of never pushing your body so far out of your comfort zone that you’ll want to quit. This is especially important when you start running for the first time or when you’re getting back into running after a long hiatus. She also shares the surprising fact that you’ll end up burning more calories and becoming a more efficient runner if you start out slow in the beginning.
Tip #2: Warming Up
Spend about five to ten minutes warming up to loosen up your body to reduce injury. You should lightly stretch all of your major muscle groups from head to toe, not just your legs. Samantha likes to start off with a light neck stretch. Be sure to warm up your arm muscles and core muscles too. Running is a full body experience, not just exercise for the legs, as you’ll soon discover if you are new to running.
Tip #3: Use Correct Posture When Running
Many runners experience back pain after they run and this is usually due to poor posture when they are running. Be sure to stretch your pectoral muscles on a regular basis which will help you keep your spine tall and straight when running. Avoid a “c-curve” in your back. Shift your body slightly forward as you run but not too far forward.
Tip #4: Pay Attention To Your Arms and Hands
Running is now all about your legs. The way you hold your arms and hands can help you move more efficiently and avoid injury. While you are running, relax your shoulders and neck. Bend your arms in a natural way at the elbow. Keep your hands open and lose. Never run with your hands held in a fist.
Tip #5: Eat Carbohydrate 1-2 Hours Before a Run
Samantha explains that you need to prepare your body for the run by supplying it with the right nutrients. To do this, you’ll need to provide a few carbs in addition to healthy protein. You can get this from fresh fruit and grains but the easiest way is to prepare an Herbalife Nutrition Formula One Shake. Don’t worry about the calories. A one scoop Herbalife vanilla shake contains 55 calories which you can burn off in only 6 minutes of running!
Tip #6: Replenish Your Body After Your Run
You’ll need some good protein and carbohydrate within thirty minutes after your run to help replenish your body. Herbalife Nutrition’s Rebuild Strength is one of the simplest ways to know for certain you’re getting exactly what your body needs, with twenty-four grams of protein and eighteen grams of carbohydrate. Throw some fresh berries in for the perfect after running potion. Herbalife Nutrition’s deluxe protein bars are another convenient choice.
Tip #7: Get Hydrated Before Your Run and Rehydrate Afterward
Fluid intake is very important to getting all the health benefits out of running. Herbalife24 Hydrate is a calorie free alternative to sports drinks that usually contain lots of carbohydrates. Most people drink plenty of fluids after a run because they are thirsty. However, those same people don’t always recognize the need to fully hydrate BEFORE a run. Samantha recommends that you drink at least 2.5 liters of fluid during the day before your run. To save you the metric conversion, that’s equivalent to ten to eleven cups or a little more than two and a half quarts.
Tip #8: Be Sure To Include Rest Days
It’s important to take rest days if you want your muscles to grow stronger and to get faster. Resting gives your muscles a chance to repair and to grow. If you run everyday, your muscles will stay forever fatigued and they will not have a change to repair or recover. The American College for Sports Medicine suggests that runners rest one or two days a week. Rest days give your joints a much needed chance to rest too.
Tip #9: Develop a Good Foot Strike Pattern
In order to avoid injury to your tendons and muscles, you must develop a good foot strike pattern. Ideally, you want to strike the ground between your forefoot and mid-foot. By all means, don’t strike the ground with your heels or your toes. If you hit the ground with your heel first, as many people start out doing before they practice better foot strike, you’ll stop your forward momentum and this is a good way to damage your knees.
Foot speed is a tricky concept to define but it is basically how much time it takes you to lift your foot back off the ground after you strike the ground. You can practice this just by noticing it as you run and make small adjustments to lift your foot up faster. The more time your feet stay off the ground, the more you are going to move forward.
Tip #10: Try Some Interval Training
When a runner does intervals, she mixes in high intensity bouts of running with a slower speed. This instantly increases the lactic acid production, and over time, it increases your lactic acid threshold so you don’t fatigue as easily and you have fewer sore muscles. It also helps you lose weight if that is a goal.
As Herbalife Nutriton’s top educator and fitness guru, Samantha Clayton teaches her students that taking a slow and steady approach when developing your own personal running program will give you sustained health and longevity. Further, it will help you experience a greater quality of life by giving you a greater capacity to enjoy every minute of your time on our amazing planet.
Bonus Tip: Mix It Up and Run Some Hills
This is bonus running tip gleaned from an article by Nick Harris-Fry entitled, “How To Master Hill Running – And Why,” posted on the “I Am Herbalife” blog. First, running up hills burns more calories, so if you are interested in losing weight, try running up hills at least once a week. Choose a hill with a less than nine degree incline for the best results. Run the hill in ten to thirty second intervals. This builds up your fast twitch muscle fibers which will improve your speed, even when running on flat terrain.
Happy running everyone!