Slowly but surely wins the race. When you first start running, you may have some overachieving goals. Running 5 miles sounds great but if you’re not a runner, you will find it to be easier said than done. Increase mileage slowly. Start slow and add your mileage little by little. Overexherting yourself will prove to be more harmful than good.
Build the right running strategy for you. Once you establish a baseline running routine that you’re comfortable with, you can work on adding other elements to the mix such improving your pace or adding hills. Adding hills to your run can be very beneficial as it forces your muscles to be exposed to different stresses and helps build resistance. The end result? By perfecting these little tweaks, you will become a stronger and better runner.
Focus on consistency. Remember, consistency is important. It is better to run a little bit every day than worry about how many miles you have accomplished. Not only does it improve your body’s ability to burn fat, it can also help you build stamina, endurance and discipline. Getting even a twenty minute run in every day can be better than running five miles once a week. Plus, if you build it into your daily routine, running will become more natural to you as it blends seamlessly with your other day-to-day tasks, rather than seeming like a chore. This, in turn, will help you stay motivated and disciplined.
Mix up your routine. On that same note, ensure you’re not doing the same hard and aggressive run every day. Your body needs time to recover and the harsh, constant pressure on your feet and body can result in discomfort or even injury. Instead, mix up your routine and if you’ve been doing an advanced level routine a few days in a row, take it down a notch and cruise through an easier run. You never want to push yourself too hard and besides, it’s nice to take a break once in a while.
Don’t outrun your shoes. Make sure you replace your running shoes every 400-600 miles. If you’re going to hit the ground running, make sure you are not only wearing the proper shoes but that they’re also in good shape. The more you run, the more often you will need to replace your shoes. Skimping on this step can cause discomfort or even harm on your feet and body; after all, imagine how uncomfortable it would be if you have improper support or no cushioning.
Fuel yourself properly. Try not to skimp on this important step. Your body needs energy, especially before a long run or big workout. Carbs and protein are always a good idea, especially when you will be burning a lot of calories. Peanut butter and whole wheat bread make for an easy snack that packs a lot of fuel. Hummus and wheat crackers are an easy go-to and bananas and nuts are perfect when you’re really on-the-go. When you provide your body with the proper nutrients, you’re setting yourself up for a more successful and productive run.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Not only do you need to fuel your run but you also need to ensure that you do not dehydrate yourself. Your body loses a lot of hydration through sweat which needs to be replenished. Staying hydrated will help you prevent those pesky cramps that runners often endure.
Train yourself not to land on your heel. Instead, try to land on the front of your foot. It will ease the pressure and shock that your joints absorb when you hit the ground running. This can help prevent plantar fasciitis, the overstretching of the fascia. While this can take a bit of time, as running is often a mindless and relaxing activity and this will require thinking and being conscious of your movements during your run.
Don’t forget to stretch. Whether you’re going for a quick, light jog or an intense, long-enduring run, ensure that your muscles are prepped by stretching them. Stretching them will warm them up and enable them to receive better blood flow and oxygen. Cool down with light stretches as well.
Avoid too many layers. When you go out for a run, avoid adding too many layers unless it is really cold outside. In fact, aim to dress like it is 10 degrees warmer outside. As you run and warm up, your body will thank you.