Running is not only a great way to get in shape, but also a fantastic way to improve your overall mood! Anyone can become a runner and these six tips will help push you in the right direction.
You’ve probably heard of people loading up on carbs before a big run or other fitness expeditions. It’s important to choose complex carbohydrates, which will provide long lasting energy for your body. Here are some examples of foods you could eat before and after your run.
Pre-run: Sweet potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Post-run: Apple slices and nut butter, Eggs and toast or fruit, vegetables and hummus, lean protein wrap, and the best for last— protein smoothies.
Warm Up & Cool Down
There are mixed opinions floating around about stretching before running. What most researchers agree on is that dynamic stretching, not static stretching, is beneficial to do before you run. Dynamic stretching uses controlled body movements to improve range of motion and loosen up muscles. Once you have completed your running workout, take some time to stretch out your muscles to an elongated point and hold each position for at least 30 seconds. Here is a more in-depth stretching guide.
Ease Into It
When you first start out running or revisit running after a long time period, your body needs to slowly ease into it. Listen to your body. If you are in physical pain, switch to intervals of running, then walking. Gradually increase the time you spend running. Muscles soreness and aches are highly likely, but any sharp pains are a red flag that you must not ignore. If you do experience soreness, here are some ways to relieve your muscles.
Switch It Up
If you really want to improve your running ability and keep it fun, adding variety to your workouts is crucial. Try doing intervals alternating sprints and jogs. Running uphill will strengthen your body increasing your stride length and speed over time. Another variation to try is off-road running. Not only is the change in scenery exciting, but the uneven terrain is a great challenge for your body.
Fix Your Form
One way to prevent overuse injuries while running is by improving your form. Take note of your posture and alignment while you run. Relax your face, neck and shoulders to avoid excess tension. For a more in-depth explanation on improving your running form, read through our trainer’s advice.
Cross training is the combination of different exercises other than that of the athlete in training (In other words, anything but running). Cross training helps balance your muscle groups by strengthening your non-running muscles and rests your running muscles. It also helps to maintain or improve your cardiovascular fitness, not to mention the variety prevents boredom and burnout. Some beneficial cross training options for runners include biking, water running, swimming, and the elliptical machine at your Snap Fitness club.