Unconventional Running Tips to Shake Up Your Run

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No runner shies away from the truth, and we don't either. Running is hard! If you aren't a runner, but you see them all around you, it's easy to mistakenly think that runners make it look so easy—and while an experienced runner can make it seem that way, we don't see the hard work that it took them to get where they are today.
We don't see the many hours of practice and the fact that there are no shortcuts to becoming a better, faster, and stronger runner. You have to train, warm up, and then you have to run. On the surface, it can sound not very interesting to a newcomer—but some possibly fun, unusual, and downright unconventional running tips may help you become the runner you've always dreamt of being. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and the desire to start.
If you aren't a fan of following the rules or looking for something different from the tons of information found out there, then this article might be perfect for you!

Let's help you get inspired!

Less Running, More Lifting

You might be thinking: 'Wait, what does lifting have to do with running? Won't I get bulker and heavier? Isn't running about, well, running?' Many runners tend to shy away from lifting, mistakenly assuming they need to follow the heavy, bulk-forming lifting styles. And while it's true that runners shouldn't be too concerned with lifting heavy—science has shown that building your core and leg muscles can lead to more accessible and faster times on the track.
Suppose speed and times aren't your concern. In that case, science also indicates that maintaining a regular lifting routine of light to moderate weights can help reduce your risk of injury and boost your endurance.

Take the Time to Walk

Many beginners, when they first begin training, especially training for distance running, make the mistake of thinking walking during a run is somehow 'cheating.' It isn't cheating to walk during your runs. It is more than okay as it can offer you some profound benefits.
  • Running requires nearly every muscle in your body, and it is a high-impact exercise, meaning even the most experienced runners can make errors and risk an injury. This is especially true for long-distance running because it puts a lot of demand on the body for long stretches. The risk of injuring your body is much lower for walking than running. It doesn't mean you have to forgo all running—every exercise has risks—but it does mean that by taking walking breaks, you can help lessen the chances of harm without compromising the benefits gained from the run.
  • There are countless documents, articles, and more about interval training. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a superior form of exercise for those with performance or weight-related fitness goals. Steady-state cardiovascular workouts like running the same speed, distance, and exact times have advantages. Still, your bodies adapt when you do the same exercise without variance. In simpler terms, your body eventually adapts to the stressors put on it. It's why you may feel exhausted the first time you try a new activity, and your muscles extremely sore. Yet, the more you do that exercise, the less painful and wrung out you feel after. At the same time, your body wants to put in the least amount of work possible to achieve the same result. For example, if you run two miles at the same pace every day, eventually, your body strengthens, and it will require less effort to accomplish those two miles. When your body adapts like this, you burn fewer calories. The best way to avoid drawbacks when your body adapts is to keep your body guessing by changing the pace and alternating with short walks.
  • No matter how experienced at running you may be, you become fatigued if you run long enough. When fatigue sets in, it becomes challenging to keep your running form. You might begin slouching, disengaging your core, or swinging your arms across your body. These changes can make running uncomfortable and painful, increasing the risk of injury. Walking within your running helps preserve energy and, to some extent, enables you to recover.

Take the Plunge

We don't mean puddle jumping during your run; try pool running or aqua jogging. Pool running is an excellent alternative to road or trail running, something many runners turn to when injured. But you don't have to be hurt to run in the water. Water running supports your entire body, lessening the impact on your joints while adding the movement challenge within the water itself. Additionally, a floatation belt can help maintain and keep your form. You want your technique to mimic the same form you use on land within the water and use a high leg turnover.

Consider yourself a permanent "Fixer-Upper."

Many new runners have this vision or goal: once they do the strength training, the stretching, and the months dedicated to running, their body will magically transform into a temple of fitness.
Anyone who has ever owned a home or a car—whether brand new or used—there's no such thing as a home or car that stays brand new, fixed, and working ideally year after year. Every runner, from first-timers to professional athletes, is a constant 'fixer-upper,' until they retire or can no longer run. You will constantly be doing some maintenance to keep your body in the working order you desire. Perfection does not exist, and believing in perfection can often sabotage your goals and motivation. Toss aside the idea of perfection, for runners especially; it can lead to depression, anxiety, burnout, and increased risk of injury.

Shut The Front Door!

Last but never least, here's a surprisingly interesting (or fun, depending) unconventional tip: swear. That's right, cuss up a storm during your run or workout. Want to push through that last mile? Drop some colorful language. Studies in the previous few years have found that swearing produces a stress response that can initiate the body's defensive reflex, flushing your body with adrenaline and prepping muscles for fight or flight. Simultaneously, another physiological reaction when you curse like a sailor during workouts is called an analgesic response, which makes your body more impervious to pain.
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