Including running in your active lifestyle is perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve your physical and mental health. Running has been proven to improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as supporting healthy muscle development and bone density too.
Running is also a great activity for those who want to better manage their weight as running requires a high level of energy expenditure. And what a lot of runners don’t realise is that running is calorie for calorie a highly in-efficient activity compared to walking and even more so when compared to cycling.
What that means is that for every calorie expended, your physical output (speed, distance travelled etc.) is relatively low, with a huge amount of energy wasted and a lot of heat expelled at the same time too.
But we’re not saying any of this to put you off by any means – the fact that running is so demanding is why it is so good for your health and lifestyle goals and why, alongside gym fitness, running is the most popular sport and physical activity.
And once you have set your mind to it, it’s also easy to get started. All you need are a well-fitting pair of trainers and to head outdoors.
A common frustration for a lot of runners, however, is knowing how often, how far, or how fast to run. Not everyone is a world-class running coach after all.
If you are stuck in a rut, going through a bit of a fitness and motivation plateau, first things first are to ask for help or simply try something new – this may be enough to get you back on track and making progress again.
If that doesn’t quite cut it, then read on for our top tips to improve your running:
Tip 1: Try Interval Training
The science is simple here. If you want to run fast on race day, you need to practice running fast in training. Interval training or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) simply means running at a much higher pace than you usually would for a shorter duration or distance than you normally would. Make sure to give yourself some time to rest in between so you can recover and go again.
Interval training is a different kind of training and can take a while to get used but stick to it and you will reap the benefits.
Try this example session:
4-8 x 400m (as hard as you can) – take as much rest as you need between each one to catch your breath and recover.
Over time you can either extend the distance run or reduce the rest time. Try not to change more than one of these at a time so you can ensure you make steady progress and don’t risk overtraining.
Tip 2: Try Strength Training
Efficient running (at any speed) requires strength and power. Going to the gym to develop both upper and lower body strength will make a huge difference to your running economy and performance. Performing specific strength and conditioning exercises can also help contribute towards long term injury prevention too by creating functional strength and mobility in your joints.
Compound exercises that involve multiple joints and muscle groups such as squats, pull ups, lunges, press ups, hip thrusts, dips are all going to give you the ‘best bang for your buck’ when it comes to improving overall muscle structure and strength as well as balance and coordination.
Core exercises are also an effective way to improve your posture which in turn will also improve your running economy and performance.
Tip 3: Run Slow to Run Fast
Long, slow runs are a key piece of the endurance puzzle as they target the slow-twitch muscle fibres and help build your aerobic efficiency. You should also take this opportunity to really focus in on running efficiently and with good form, reinforcing good habits that will translate to making you a stronger and faster runner when you need to be.
Tip 4: Planning is winning
So, you’re introducing some intervals, some long, slow running, maybe even some tempo running as well as some gym training. This all seems a lot so planning well ahead of time will make it immeasurably easier to manage.
You should aim for at least one session of each per week and try not to do them on consecutive days as this will lead to fatigue, overtraining and even injury.
Tip 6: Recovery is key
Running training is hard, so it’s no surprise that your body will need time to rest and recover. Prioritising recovery, allowing time to fully rest, refuel and rebuild will ensure that all the efforts you have made in training don’t go to waste.
Nutrition is a critical element of this. This includes making sure you consume enough protein and carbohydrates as well as rehydrating after training with water and electrolytes.
Taken daily, U Perform’s clinically proven range of Sports Collagen supplements are guaranteed to optimise your performance, optimise your recovery, and most importantly, improve your quality of life.
Whatever level you run at; injuries are inevitable. They are the bane of any runner’s life and either yourself or someone you know has experienced one (or many) at some point on your running journey. They are not only painful, but also incredibly disruptive to your training and active lifestyle.
Like with a cough or a cold, learning how to become aware of them early is best practice. Prevention is always better (and cheaper) than the cure, right! But knowing when and how to spot them and stop them in their tracks can sometimes be a little tricky. And the longer you leave it, the worse it is likely to get.
The most common running injuries?
- Runner’s knee: Symptoms include pain around or on your kneecap
- Plantar fasciitis: A pain in the heel and underneath your foot can be caused by poorly cushioned shoes and overuse
- Shin splints: A very common pain experienced while running, which often arises from overuse
- Stress fractures: Small breaks commonly in the hip, feet, and shins
- Achilles tendinitis: A tight Achilles tendon which leads to irritation, pain or worse, rupture
Now, out of all these common ones, which one is the most talked about, the most painful?
That would be Achilles pain… it’s every runner’s Achilles heel, right! Many runners don’t realise that often, Achilles pain is caused by improper load or functioning of calf muscles as opposed to being a problem with the Achilles tendon itself.
Overactive or tight muscles in the calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) place excessive tension on the tendon creating gaps between the collagen fibres that fill with liquid and cause irritation. Tendons and ligaments can also tear and rupture when a sudden burst of excessive load is placed on the tendon or ligament causing it to tear either partially or in worst cases, rupture entirely.
Warming up before a run, progressively increasing the duration and intensity of your training are great strategies to help avoid injuries in the first place, as is taking a specific collagen supplement daily.
First things first, if you are experiencing pain you will want to stop what you are doing as quickly as possible and immobilise your ankle, so you don’t irritate the tendon any further. This allows scar tissue and inflammation to form (a little is good don’t worry).
After the pain levels have reduced, you will want to start to mobilise the ankle again with specific strengthening exercises such as calf raises and ankle rolls. At this point, there is still scar tissue but hopefully, albeit rigid, it is still flexible enough to enable movement and load without causing further damage or pain. This is when the real healing and recovery begins.
Supplementing with a high-quality and targeted collagen supplement has also been, thanks to growing research evidence, to play an important and positive role in the repair and strengthening of ligament and tendon fibres.
U Perform’s Active Collagen gels are a unique recovery formulation of 2 Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, TENDORFORTE® and VERISOL®, as well as added vitamins and minerals; proven to stimulate the repair and regeneration of tendons and ligaments, supporting them to recover faster and stronger and keeping you pedalling!
For example, one study by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) examined the benefits of TENDOFORTE® over a period of 6 months. The participants were 20 runners with long-term symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy, not responding to any traditional therapies, and being unable to train.
Within 3 months, 12 out of 20 participants were able to return to running after starting a therapy with a daily intake of 5g of TENDOFORTE®. What’s more, the benefits continued, and more runners returned to training in the following 3 months.
Active Collagen is fast becoming the recovery supplement of choice for runners of all abilities for its convenience and effectiveness. Try Active Collagen today - SEE and FEEL the benefits for yourself!
Running is characterised by both concentric (muscle shortens to meet resistance) and eccentric (muscle lengthens as the resistance becomes greater) muscle contractions. Because of the repetitive nature of these contractions and the amount of force that is repeatedly being generated and absorbed, symptoms of muscle damage are highly likely. Especially if the distance or speed of your running increases; or if both are increasing at the same time.
Exercise induced muscle damage is an inevitable part of the running experience and we’ve all suffered for it. Hello D.O.M.S. my old friend! Day to day fatigue and soreness, whilst annoying, are again part of the process, but if left unchecked or if we continue to push hard for too long, excessive wear and tear can and most likely will lead to strains and injuries.
For runners, the most common muscle strains are usually in the hamstring or calf muscles and are likely to affect every runner at some point. For newer runners, they will be because of your body adjusting to your new active lifestyle. For more experienced runners, they can be because of overtraining and after big races where you pushed yourself beyond your limit.
Recovery from exercise is where the gains are made and when we can support our muscles to become stronger and more resistant to injury. Supplementing with a high-quality recovery protein source such as U Perform’s Active Whey & Collagen post-workout, meets this need conveniently and cost-effectively.
Alongside whey protein, collagen supplementation not only provides a high-quality source of Essential and Branched Chain Amino Acids, but targeted Bioactive Collagen Peptides® have been proven to improve the recovery of muscle tissue, to increase their strength and make them more resistant to injury.
The collagen in our muscles is different to the collagen in our joints and as such requires a completely targeted approach. A different tool for a different job so to speak. The latest innovation in collagen technology, BODYBALANCE® is a brand-new muscle specific Performance Peptide®. BODYBALANCE® has a multi-factorial effect on body composition and the maintenance and development of muscle mass.
Active Whey & Collagen is convenient, cost-effective and is the perfect way to kickstart your recovery as soon as you finish your run.
Contrary to popular belief, running is far better for our joints and bones than people usually give it credit for. But not matter whether you are a beginner or a highly experienced runner, anyone can be affected by a running injury or need extra support to optimise their daily performance and recovery.
Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries experienced by runners. Damage to the structures in and around the knee can result in fractures, dislocations, sprains, and tears of the ligaments, tendons, bones, and cartilage that make up the knee joint.
Any structure in the body that require elasticity and rigidity contains collagen. It provides the scaffolding for bones, cartilage, and other connective tissue. Constant impact from running creates damage, wear, and tear that if left unchecked can cause irritation, tears and injuries putting a stop to your running training whilst you let it recover and repair.
Damage to the cartilage is highly common in runners, especially in the knee and hip joints and can be incredibly painful and disruptive. For many years it was thought that once cartilage was gone, the damage was irreparable.
However, with most of the dry weight in protein of cartilage being collagen fibres, what we are learning more and more is that with daily collagen supplementation we can actually restimulate the growth of new cartilage as well as providing daily maintenance and support to protect the integrity of cartilage and joints.
With a unique formulation of Type II optimised Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, FORTIGEL® is an innovative ingredient clinically proven to activate the growth of new cartilage and protect the integrity of existing cartilage by stimulating specific collagen producing cells in the cartilage tissue itself, helping to ease joint discomfort, and keep joints moving smoother for longer.
But tackling joint pain doesn’t have to be purely reactive. Being proactive with our nutrition and strength and conditioning exercises can significantly reduce the likelihood of pain and or reduce the severity and longevity of pain should it occur. Nutritional supplements like Active Sport Collagen are a cost-effective and convenient way to support optimal joint health and keep you running
Active Sport Collagen utilises an innovative ingredient called FORTIGEL®. The effectiveness of FORTIGEL® has been scientifically proven in numerous studies and according to published research, the ingestion of FORTIGEL® collagen peptides stimulate a significant increase of cartilage tissue metabolism, against placebo.
One study, carried out by Harvard University, investigated the long-term effect of FORTIGEL® treatment on the composition of hyaline cartilage in individuals with early knee osteoarthritis, a common condition that can affect the ability for us to stay in the game as we get older. The analysis of the final cartilage scans revealed a statistically significant increase in proteoglycan density in the medial and lateral tibial regions of the FORTIGEL® treated subjects compared to the placebo group.
Studies have been carried out in various groups and looking at activity related joint pain as well as joint disorders: including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis with all showing statistically significant results in as little as 12 weeks (minimum 5g daily serving FORTIGEL®).
Optimise your joint health with Active Sport Collagen - SEE and FEEL the benefits for yourself!