Running takes strength, stamina and mental agility, and it’s a great way to increase your cardio fitness. We all have a natural running style, and our personality, plus the way we operate on a daily basis, can influence the type of running we prefer. It’s important to find the right style for you, as this gives you the best chance of success by being more likely to stick to a regime that fits in with your life and aspirations.
Each style has its own benefits, so running on a treadmill might not appeal to those who enjoy the challenges of the open road. But, for those with busy schedules, it’s convenient and easy because you don’t have to plan a route, think about what you’re wearing or what the weather is doing, and you can also control mileage and pace.
The great outdoors
If you want to give your body an optimum workout, running outside is a great choice because you’re battling against wind resistance and working harder to propel your body forwards. “Cross country running will force you to go slower as you’re challenged by hills and difficult terrain,” says Katy Biddulph, founder of statement performance wear brand Striders Edge (stridersedge.com). She suggests running with friends because “it makes getting lost a little less daunting!”.
Road runners tend to set specific goals and enjoy the competitive side of training, while barefoot runners, or those who run with minimal footwear, prefer to feel connected to the earth, putting the focus on balance and shorter, more agile strides, while responding to the demands of the landscape.
“It’s a good idea to mix up your training,” says Kim Ingleby of Energised Performance (energisedperformance.com). “You’ll challenge your body in different ways and really see results.”
She suggests road runners should try taking a hilly route now and again, powering up the incline while recovering on the flats. Or, if you like cross country, introduce short bursts of high-intensity sprints on the road every now and again, and for every tree or lamppost you pass, increase your speed until you reach the next one. Doing this shocks the body into action and burns more calories.
TAKE OUR QUIZ…
to find out which running style best suits you!
When do you exercise?
a) When I can! Before or after work and at lunch time.
b) Every day at the same time, in the evening.
c) When the mood takes me.
d) At weekends, as I have more time to enjoy it.
What motivates you?
a) Getting everything done in time.
b) Achieving set targets gives me a buzz.
c) Finding inner peace and balance.
d) Getting close to nature.
TO RELAX, YOU ENJOY…
a) Watching the latest film with friends
b) Reading a good book
c) A soak in a scented bath
d) Visiting new places
How do you approach career goals?
a) Knowledge is key; I do as much training as I can.
b) I’m singled minded and set goals every week.
c) I go with the flow, and seize opportunities when they arise.
d) I’m patient, thorough and determined; I have a long-term plan.
What’s your favourite mode of transport?
How much do you enjoy exercise?
a) It’s necessary for health and wellbeing.
b) It helps me focus and perform in every area of life.
c) I like to stretch myself and try new things when I work out.
d) I like exercise to be an adventure!
When you work out, you like to listen to:
a) Pumping music with a quick beat.
b) Short, upbeat tracks that match my training needs.
c) Nothing; I focus on my breathing and inner thoughts.
d) Bird song, and the sounds of nature.
What’s the best gift for you?
a) The latest techno gadget
b) Some workout gear
c) A spa treatment
d) Lunch with friends
FIND YOUR RUNNING TRIBE…
MOSTLY As – Gym Bunny
Picking mostly As means you’re a gym bunny at heart! You understand that exercise is essential for health and wellbeing, and you like to incorporate it into your life. But being a high flyer, you tend to snatch time, fitting it in when you can. As it’s difficult for you to commit to a regular routine, running on the treadmill is the best solution. You can fit workouts into your schedule and you’ll be able to programme the session, setting pace and mileage, and building up strength and stamina over time. You’ll also enjoy the challenge of getting to grips with high-tech gym equipment, as this suits your thirst for knowledge! Although you don’t have to cope with the weather, invest in the latest gym workout gear. Go for bold, breathable fabrics, and cushioned, comfortable trainers to keep you motivated.
TOP TIP: The more stable and functional your ankle, hips and mid-back are, the better; make stability discs, foam rollers and Swiss balls your friend! Remember to warm up muscles and always include a cool down at the end of your run. Although you’re not outside pounding the streets, you’re still working key muscles, so treat your body with care.
MOSTLY Bs – Road Runner
Happy to pound the pavements, you set your stall out for what you want and know exactly how to achieve it! Setting targets is part of your everyday life, and you feel empowered when you reach your goals. Routine is important, which is why this style of running suits you best.
A creature of habit, you find it easy to fit in your training at the same time every day. You like to have something to aim for, so set yourself a target, whether it’s running a marathon or reaching a personal best time. Hitting the road with others will motivate you and bring out your competitive streak, so find a running partner or join a local club in your area.
TOP TIP: Get competitive and challenge your speed. Sprint for 30, 60, 90, 120, 90, 60, and 30sec, jogging back to the start point after each run. Repeat this pyramid 3-6 times depending on your goal and fitness level. Invest in a high-performance sports bra as it’s essential to have the right support when you’re running; the ligaments that support the chest don’t repair once stretched.
MOSTLY Cs – Barefoot Babe
You’re a barefoot babe with passion. You like to feel connected to the earth and your body, and you feel comfortable in your own skin. You don’t tend to rush anything, which is why running with minimal footwear could be the style for you. You have the patience and the intuition required to make the most of the experience. For newbie runners, start by walking barefoot and notice the sounds of your movement, and your balance. You’ll naturally lean forward, placing more weight on the forefoot to protect the heel. As you make the transition to running, you’ll take lighter, shorter strides. The key is gentle agility and responding to the landscape instinctively. Learn not to over stride by making sure your feet land beneath your hips. Consider your balance and engage core muscles. Most importantly, become aware of your surroundings. Put away the headphones, and recognise the sounds of your body.
TOP TIP: To develop the lightness of foot required, imagine you’re moving along a balancing beam with a basket upon your head. This will help with posture, and keeping upright while running on challenging terrain. Have patience, and gradually increase distance by no more than 10 percent a week.
MOSTLY Ds – Cross Country Gal
Your innate sense of adventure often takes you off track in life, and you enjoy new experiences. To you, exercise is something to be relished, and a part of your everyday existence. You love the great outdoors, so going cross country is the best option. To make the most of it, plan out different routes that give you the option to explore bits of countryside you wouldn’t normally see. Make sure you’ve plenty of water so that you’re hydrated,and vary your speed to match the terrain. If you’re racing, make the most of downhill spurts and steady your pace going uphill. Cross country works core muscles like abdominals, so it gives you a thorough body workout, and the uneven terrain is a challenge for your stability so make sure you look where you are going, to avoid potholes, roots and rocks that could easily cause a fall.
TOP TIP: Go for trainers that provide support, traction and grip, with sticky rubber soles that keep your foot solid on uneven ground. High-performance kit is essential to ensure you’re comfortable, warm and dry.}