Mr Science and I have been running every Monday and Thursday for the whole summer – and we fully intend to continue with this routine as winter approaches! Doing yoga/ Pilates on the other three weekdays has helped as a sort of cross-training for our running, which has also enabled us to slowly increase our distance over the past few months. It’s tons of fun and it’s working really well.
The issue with Mr Science and I running together is that we have extremely different running styles. I’m more of a jogger in my cute little five-finger Vibrams, whereas he’s a sprinter and all about the *real* running shoes. We tried adjusting our running styles a bit to accommodate for each other, but earlier in the summer before I figured out how to run faster for longer distances, Mr Sciences just ran laps around me when I went too slow (literally. It was awesome: I’m all out of breath and moving just slightly faster than the person walking on the other side of the street, and he’s happily sprinting around me, chatting the whole way as though he’s just out for a morning stroll. ♥).
My main problem with running is the breathing aspect. In general, my legs and core would be just fine running long distances, but my lungs have a tough time. However, I think the yoga has really helped a lot with my learning how to breathe better… in addition to a new secret which I stumbled upon (ran into? Heehee, puns!) a couple months ago, which is such an awesomely simple tip for running faster for longer distances:
Increasing your pace slightly – enough to get your heart rate up, but not so fast that you can’t maintain the speed – will actually help your breathing to steady, slow, and deepen.
When I run at my *normal* jogging-style pace, I can’t quite match up my breathing with my stride. My breath comes out all ragged and my lungs feel like they’re bursting. However, when I increase my pace just a little bit, the distance (puns! Puns!) between my breathing and my stride decreases and they match up much more neatly.
And then – and here’s the best part! – when my breath and my stride are going along at the same pace, I can actually keep up my stride for a longer amount of time. I’m running faster and I’m also able to sustain it for a decent distance.
I suspect that this is a big reason why I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running in the past. It’s challenging to really enjoy yourself when you’re huffing and puffing and your pace and breath are all off. When they are in synch, the whole run is just so much better. It’s a simple little technique, but it’s not one that I’ve ever really come across before. There’s something satisfying in making these little discoveries as you go!
Am I way behind everyone else in making this discovery? Does your breath and stride naturally match up or do you have to consciously work toward it? What are your tips for running faster for longer distances? Share in the comments section below!