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Have you recently started running or find yourself in a bit of a rut where your running is concerned? 

You want to run further or faster but just can’t seem to find a way? 

If you answered yes to these questions, maybe the tips from some elite runners, coaches, and doctors can assist you. 



Have you ever been told to relax your shoulders when you running in a group?

Or you find that your upper body feels really tense when you run, the reason is that of the tension many runners hold on their upper body. This, makes your regular run feel tougher than it should be. 

What to do: Try running with a roll of toilet paper in your hand, like you would if you were holding a baton in a 100m relay. If the roll is crunched up by the time you finish your race, you were obviously holding it too tight meaning you were tense in your upper body. Relax, don’t hold the roll so tight in this way you reduce the tension on your shoulders and use less energy during your run. Tensing up around my shoulders during runs has been a major challenge for me, and I have to consciously make the effort to relax during my runs and I immediately feel the difference. 



I’m always in awe of those runners that finish their marathons like they just ran a 5km race. Fresh. Full of energy and look like they could run another 20+ km, that’s how full of energy they look at the end of the race. So how do they do it?

What to do: When we run our brain communicates with our muscles to run more efficiently or find out how it can use less muscle activation. It’s for this reason that the more you run the more efficiently you run. According to research, runners are encouraged to push their limits or until you honestly tired. Try running really “fast” in the last 5 – 10 minutes of your long runs, giving all you have to 100% of your effort, in some of your long runs … not all. 



Do you control your breathing when you running? You should as it plays a significant role in your running. If you’re breathing wrong then your run can feel like a mission. 

What to do: Don’t breath in too quickly, as you’re not breathing out as fast to get rid of the Carbon Dioxide and starving your lungs of Oxygen in the process. The professionals recommend you slow down your breathing, relax a little, and you will probably find running is more fun. 



Stop focusing on what you need to do to improve your pace while running. The Pro Athletes have very little brain activity while running. 

What to do: By having as little as possible going on your mind while running, not focusing on your body, it assists you to improve the stride that is most efficient for you.



Are you like me and run with your thumbs facing upwards? I know I do it. I’ve seen many runners do it too. I have to make a very conscious effort to make my thumbs face down, not because I linked it to make me run faster but just because I thought it looks odd. 

What to do: Actually, the Pros say that running with your thumbs facing upwards, does affect your running, by tiring your muscles. Thumbs up tenses your forearm muscles and through the domino effect or muscle chain, eventually creates muscle fatigue. 



Often we lace up our running shoes the same way we lace up every other shoe or how the shoe comes laced up from the store. Example, if you find that your feet swell or there seems to be added pressure on your foot in a certain area while running.

What to do: By lacing your running shoes differently you release pressure on your foot and end up running better. You could even try a combo of both your standard laces and elastic ones to see how that works for you. Or leave skip some of the lace eyelets around the area that pains and see if that works for you, basically lacing your shoe only around the area that gets sore when you run while skipping the area that gets painful during the run. 



Yeah, that got you thinking I’m insane… right 🙂 If you’re on the Discovery Vitality programme this may be a challenge if you haven’t met your weekly goals. 

What to do: Meet your Vitality goals early, like in the first 3 days if you’re chasing 900 points, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Now pick a day between Tuesday and Friday and run without your watch or music. This way you learn to rely on your own body to find the pace that works for you. Feel the pace and not the numbers that ideally gets your a comfortable run. 



I for one am guilty of using my running shoes as a fashion accessory when I travel. What I mean is, I use it to walk around the malls when I’m away from home and because I’ve packed light, only one pair of sneakers for the trip … the running shoes. This is wrong!

What to do: According to an orthopedic surgeon Levi Harrison, we don’t run and walk the same. It’s therefore important that we use our running shoes for running.



Often we buy a pair of sneakers and use them to run all our races, but then our feet are full of painful blisters and other potential injuries that impact our running. At times stopping us from being on the road for a period of time. 

What to do: Finding a shoe that is comfortable, works with your biomechanics, meets your budget and distances that you run leads to comfortable runs. At times all those boxes are ticked but you’re still getting blisters. It could be the socks you’re using. Buy different kinds of socks until you find the one that works for your run. 



OMG! I chaffed so much during my first marathon, I almost gave up on running. It was freaking painful. I chaffed under my arms, and another fellow first-time marathon runner at the same event chaffed his nibbles raw. He literally had two bloody circles around the front of his club vest. 

What to do: Rub either Vaseline or Baby Bum cream around the areas you normally experience chaffing e.g. armpits, nipples, thighs before you head on your run. Tom Holland a 60-time marathon finisher recommends nasal strips over your nipples to protect them from rubbing against your vest and becoming super painful and raw.


Now get out onto the road or trails, put a smile on your face and have fun while running!


Information source: 

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