A very important key to improving your running performance is learning how to relax while running. A relaxed mind produces a relaxed, efficient, faster body.
Although the concept of relaxing while you’re running may seem strange, it’s easily accomplished. Here’s what to do when you begin feeling tight and tense.
- Let your jaw relax and soften your bottom lip. Facial muscles control the degree of tension in the entire body. Relax the face and you’ll relax the body.
- Keep your chest out, shoulders back and down
- Make sure your hands are not clenched but closed softly, as if you are holding eggs.
- Focus on a smooth stride. Avoid over- and understriding, as they waste energy.
- Shake out your arms, relax your shoulders, and carry your arms low with elbows firm but not locked.
- As you run, repeat the words “calm” or “relax” or “breath”.
Make some time every day to get into a relaxed mind-body state. Sit in a hot tub, sauna or steam room. Listen to restful music. Practice yoga, meditation or visualization. This will make it easier to relax during a run or race.
Remember, an athlete who stays loose and relaxed runs best.