Many runners I know are competitive and want to be at their best. But success doesn’t always follow a straight path. There may be times of great personal victory and other times of little to no progress. If you’re like me, you might be finding your way out of a running rut. Or you might be on track to run your best marathon by the end of the year. No matter where you are in your running journey, here are some tips for an injury-free and happy summer of running.
Step it up
To get the scoop on running efficiently, fellow runner and blogger Denise Lau and I met with Mike Turner, an orthopedic specialist of OrthoSport Hawaii. Turner says cadence, the amount of steps taken each minute, is often a key part of running faster with less effort.
Turner told us that a cadence of 160 to 180 steps helps promote good form and reduces the risk of injury in every day runners. To find out or improve yours, you can try a running app or metronome. However, he recommends making changes gradually for the best long-term results.
Change your approach
I met with Michael Garrison, running coach and owner of Hawaii Running Lab, to talk about ways to overcome a running plateau. If it’s not an issue of health or injury, Garrison recommends finding the fun in running again. This can mean running by feeling instead of pace, trying a different route, or registering for a shorter race. He also talked about the importance of setting a healthy personal foundation before taking on bigger goals. “You have to be healthy and happy. Once you’re there, you can build on that,” he says.
Set the stage
In addition to reducing stress, Garrison says it’s important to prioritize nutrition, hydration, rest, and consistency. He says staying hydrated is especially important during the hot and humid days of summer. While you should consult a doctor or specialist for guidance specific to you, a general rule is to consistently drink water throughout the day, carry water with you on longer runs, and replace the fluid you lost during exercise.
What do you like or loathe about running in the summer? Share your thoughts or tips in the comment section.