I run outdoors on the weekends. Usually during the week I’m at the gym first thing in the morning because of my schedule,
but the weekends are for running outside.
A normal run is good, nothing wrong with a good ole straight jog. But…just by doing this one thing, you can completely change up your workout and start working different muscles. And this one thing requires no special equipment whatsoever.
So…what’s this one thing?
Just run backwards!
No, seriously. At certain points during your run (not the whole time, silly), turn yourself around and literally jog backwards. I do it all the time and my neighbors are kinda used to it, but be prepared to get some odd looks. Just smile and wave as you pass them by (backwards) and they’ll surely feel they’re missing out on something fantastic. (Oh, and also- I only recommend this in a quiet neighborhood, which is what I have. Please don’t go running backwards in the city. Just don’t.)
When you run backwards, you’re working the opposing muscle groups that normally get worked when you run forwards. And working opposing muscle groups in the same workout is always a good thing. Regular running does engage all of your lower body, but it really works your hamstrings, and puts a lot of pressure on your knees (do you have knee problems?…) but when you flip around, you start to engage your glutes, your calves (because you’re running more on your toes) and your quads more. You’re also getting a mini ab workout simultaneously because as you run backwards, you’re literally forced to be up right without slouching over, and to pick up those knees as if you’re doing moving high kicks…thus engaging your lower abs and hip flexors.
Plus, I’ve heard that taking 100 steps backwards means the same to your body as taking 1,000 steps forwards, and that you burn more calories. Now I don’t know for sure if that’s all true but I’d like to believe it! And I suppose it makes sense because running backwards is much harder. And when you’re working your body in a different way, making it ‘think’ more, doing a move that’s harder to complete, you do burn more calories.
So, that’s it! Just one tiny way you can improve your jog. Just promise me you’ll be careful out there!