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10 Easy Ways You May Not Know Which Make You Run Faster

10 Easy Ways You May Not Know Which Make You Run Faster

Do you want to run faster? You can build up natural speed from running over time, but there are other ways to improve your time and distance.
Check out 10 simple tips to help speed up your performance.

1. Fuel Your Body

Most people know that food gives you energy, and it is important to harness that energy before you go for a run. Stick to carbs and protein; carbs will help to fuel your muscles, and the protein will help to build them up and make them stronger.

Check out some healthy and tasty snacks that have specifically designed as a pre-run snack.

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2. Drink Coffee Before You Work Out

If you need an energy boost, try to drink coffee about an hour before you start your workout. This will help to improve your endurance, helping to to build up your speed and stamina. Another option is beet juice, which may help improve oxygen flow in your body.

It is worth noting that studies have shown that over two-thirds of Olympic athletes use caffeine before exercising to improve their performance.

3. Cool Down After Your Workout

Your exercise routine shouldn’t be over until you have spent some time doing cool down stretches. This will help to relieve muscle tightness, so your body is prepared and ready for next time you run. There are lots of different types of stretches that you can do after your run, so try a few out and choose a routine that works best for you and your body.

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4. Use A Foam Roll After Running

If you run regularly you may notice that your leg muscles often feel tight and sore. Using a foam roll after a workout to massage your muscles will help to loosen them up and remove the tight feeling while you run. Check out some different exercises you can do using a foam roll.

5. Do Yoga

Most people believe yoga is good for the body, but it can be particularly beneficial to runners. Regular yoga helps to relax your muscles and shoulders, relieve back pain and open up any tightness in your hip.

6. Practise Prehab

If you run regularly, it is important to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent running injuries. Warming up and stretching are great ways to do this, but there are also specific exercises that you can do to protect areas that are injury prone, such as your ankles and knees.

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7. Stretch To Run Faster

There are actually stretches that can help you to become a faster runner. They will also help to improve your overall flexibility and strength over time, so add them to the wind down exercises you do after your run.

8. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to a successful run. Without enough sleep, you can lack energy and may find yourself feeling sluggish during your run. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night to make sure you are on top form for when you exercise. Experts also say lucid dreaming could help you to run faster, although many people are unable to control lucid dreaming.

9. Cross Train For Strength

Cross training can help to improve your core, quads and upper body, improving your overall body strength. Studies have shown that riding a stationary bicycle can improve speed for runners, so it is worth adding cycling to your workout routine.

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Check out some great cross training exercises for runners.

10. Make Sure You Are Hydrated

If you exercise regularly, keeping hydrated is key. If you run when you’re thirsty, you may encounter muscle cramps and fatigue. Make sure you  always carry water with you, even when you’re not working out to make sure you are well hydrated when you exercise.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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