Debatably the simplest form of exercise, running is amazing for so many reasons! It boosts your overall health, relieves stress, helps prevent diseases, & the list goes on. Some people love it, some people hate it. Whether running is your “thing” or not, we’ve found some awesome tips to help you make running a FUN & enjoyable experience, not just a way to burn some calories.
SHOES, SHOES, SHOES
You’re going to be on your feet a lot (actually, the whole time) while you are running, so make sure you find the perfect shoe! Find something that fits your foot perfectly and that will keep you nice and comfortable while you’re on the move. Test out a few different pairs and DON’T settle. If your feet aren’t comfortable, the chances of you actually running are going to suffer. And hey, running shoes these days are cute! Grab a pair that you can feel good and look good in, comfort and confidence!
WARMUP & COOL DOWN
Don’t rush into things, your body won’t like it. Make sure you give yourself enough time to ease into your run in order to help prevent injuries and burnout. Same goes for finishing off, make sure you don’t end your run abruptly. Walk it out at the end and give your muscles time to relax and prep for recovery.
ALL ABOUT THE FORM
Head up. Eyes forward. Arms bent at the waist. Always stay light on your feet and don’t tense up! This is all about doing something good for yourself so no need to stress. Stay relaxed and focus on the good you are doing for yourself. Shake it out when necessary and don’t forget to smile!
Some say before, others say after. Either way, make sure you do it! Find your routine and make sure stretching fits in there somewhere. Listen to your body’s cues and figure out when and what muscles you need to stretch out.
CROSS TRAIN & REST
If you are running every single day, chances are your body will suffer and face it, it may get boring. Rest days are important and should most definitely not be forgotten! If you are always go, go, go, you don’t allow your joints enough time to rest. This means you are more likely to feel pounding or pain in your ankles, knees, and hip joints. Give your joints some time to heal and give yourself a break from running. On these rest days, try out a different activity to stay active. Take a yoga class, swim, or even just give yourself a good stretch. This allows you to use a different set of muscles without taking a day completely off.
FUEL & HYDRATE
No one like to run on an empty stomach, but no one likes to run hungry either. By properly fueling your body before a run, you’ll give yourself the perfect energy boost to get you through your run. Find a pre-running snack that you look forward to and chow down one-two hours before you head out the door. Look for something with healthy carbs, fats, and protein that will power you through your workout.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty! Hydrate before, during, and after your run.
This one is pretty obvious. Although the treadmill is a great training tool, it’s not the most fun. Running indoors can get monotonous and be somewhat unmotivating. Take your run outside and experience what mother nature has to offer. Fresh air and beautiful views make running so much more enjoyable! Running outdoors also gives you the option of trying out different types of terrain and hitting up some hills if you’re craving a more intense workout.
PUSH PAST YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Running is physical AND mental. It’s easy to mentally take yourself out of your “zone,” but it’s just as easy to motivate yourself to stay in it. If you are getting tired, start cheering yourself on or play the counting game. Set a number of steps to count, and once you begin, chances are you will surpass that number and prove to yourself you can make it! Remember, pushing past your comfort zone is one thing, but don’t push through pain. If you are hurting, take a break! There is no harm in that.
SIGN UP FOR A RACE
You don’t have to be the fastest in your town. Really, you don’t even have to be fast. Signing up for a race can be a great motivational tool to keep you out there pushing. Find a race in your local area or somewhere you would like to travel. GIve yourself at least six weeks to train and then watch how much you impress yourself when race day rolls around!
You don’t have to run alone! Find friends, co-workers, or family members who want to join you. Running with others can make time go faster and chances are that having someone beside you will motivate you even more. After your run, you can even grab a nice healthy meal to re-fuel your bodies and spend some quality time.
WALK IF YOU NEED
Simple as that. Don’t feel bad or afraid to walk when you need to. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion. Instead, take a quick break and know that you have the power to start right back up again!
Reward yourself for all the hard work you are doing! Get a massage, take a long soak, or spend some time in the hot tub. Maybe even treat yourself to the more expensive than usual meal from that health food store that you’ve been dying to try! Or give yourself some much deserved sleep time.