Mark Tuitert aan het Hardlopen in het Twiske


Spring is just around the corner. That means only one thing. It's time to start running again. Maybe you want to continue building your stamina this year, enter a running race or even run your first marathon. In this blog, I give you 8 tips to achieve your running goals injury-free. 


1. Don't forget the warming-up and cooling-down

Running is a perfect sport when you have little time. The risk is that you might forget the warm-up and cool-down, which increases the risk of injury. Especially with intensive workouts, it is therefore wise to pay attention to this. By starting at a dribble pace and then stretching the muscles and doing mobility exercises, you get your muscles well warmed up and ready to perform. From the very start, pay attention to proper breathing and enjoy your workout.

2. Build your workout slowly

Don't overdo it and gradually increase the frequency of your workouts. You can actually think of it as a pyramid. The base is solid and consists of gentle endurance runs or, if you're just starting, walks. If you have done several gentle endurance workouts for about two weeks without really running out of breath, then you know you are well on your way. During these endurance runs, focus primarily on your own pace and pay no attention to others. By the way, these are workouts are best done alone so you can keep running at your own pace.

3. Train your abs

A strong core is essential for runners. Doing various exercises with your own body weight will ensure stronger muscles. Consider exercises such as the plank, mountain climbers, lunges and squats. With these, you will build both fitness and a strong body, which will make you run faster and suffer less from injuries. Working out is actually a thankless thing, because as soon as you stop you will lose its benefits. Therefore, keep doing these exercises as well. Even if you only do them once a week.

4. Stretch your calves

Your lower legs and feet have a lot to endure while running. To avoid shin splints or achilles tendonitis, stretch your calf muscles properly. Stand on an elevated platform with the balls of both feet and let your heels hang outward. Find support at the wall and push yourself up. Slowly lower your heels and repeat after each run with a few sets of 10-15 reps.

5. Don't take too big strides

Don't walk with too big strides and make sure you land with your foot under your body. This will prevent you from putting too much strain on your heels. We are made to walk on our forefeet. In the old days when we walked barefoot, we had to. Since walking on shoes with reinforced and raised heels, we have actually started to land more on the heel. Resulting in an increase in knee and hip pain. There is a whole movement to go barefoot again, not really crazy I would think. I spoke to a former Nike shoe designer in the U.S. and he admitted that the best shoe for our bodies is actually our own bare feet. However, should you find this too much of a stretch, make sure you land on your front/midfoot.

6. Build up the intensity with sprints

If you want to improve your running performance, you actually need to add sprint intervals to your schedule. It sounds cool, of course, to be able to say you've ran 20 kilometers again, but don't focus blindly on distance and time. A common mistake is that runners focus on running as many kilometers as possible and then run these distances at the same pace every time. If you want to make progress, variety of intensity is just as important. This is why you should add interval training to your schedule.

So add interval training to your schedule. For example, 2 sets of 8 times 20-second sprints followed by 1 minute of rest. Longer is not necessary. One more rule: let your body get used to this workout, so try to hold back a bit during the first sprint workouts. 

7. Don't eat too much before your workout

It is wise not to eat too much before your workout. By doing so, you will prevent your stomach and intestines from bothering you. However, if you train intensively, it is important to get enough carbohydrates. Try to eat enough 'slow' carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, or lentils well before your workout. This way you avoid the 'sugar dip' that results from the 'fast' sugars from sports drinks, for example. 

Do you want to add energy just before your workout or game? Then try FIRST (*my own company). It has the rapid action of caffeine that is absorbed through the mucous membranes in your mouth within 10 minutes. It prevents that pesky sugar dip and doesn't stress the intestines either. 

8. Pay attention to your breathing

It comes so naturally, breathing. And rightfully so, otherwise you'll soon be done running. But all kidding aside, we often don't really think about how we breathe. Proper deep breathing while running can get you in the flow, take in more oxygen and excrete more waste through your breathing. Make sure you keep breathing evenly and calmly, so not with spikes. Don't pull the air in or blow out too hard. Try to let the air in evenly and let it out gently. Don't force this. Also, when you get really tired, try to keep breathing at a steady level. Pay attention to this already during the warm-up, then you will be in the right feeling right away!

Succes with working out!

Mark Tuitert

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