Running is a great workout routine as it keeps multiple parts of the body fit. Being a weight-bearing exercise, frequent runners end up building and maintaining healthy bones and muscles, improve the heart, and does a number on your calories. Running can also be the most social of sports, allowing you to meet other people and to travel to different places. Running can mean everything in between from the peaceful joggers to the supersonic marathoners so that everybody can join in on this beautiful activity.
How to Train Your Body
Training your body is imperative in running, especially if you will partake in a race.
- Pick a Race
Find a race and mark your calendars for the event. A fixed race type, length, and date will help you stay focused and follow a set schedule. Anyone can run any race, provided proper preparation time. A quick search online will net you the races you want to find; choose the appropriate one for you.
- Maintaining Your Normal Form
Some people tend to walk and run while leading with their toes, and some lead with their heels. Despite what other people say, no form is better than the other; both are equally acceptable as running forms.
What is essential is maintaining your natural stride. Don’t train what you are not used to, keep your form. The more you run in it, the more comfortable and efficient your body will become?
- Choose a Training Plan
Of course, if you plan on running a long-distance marathon, then you have to train. Fortunately, there are a lot of training plans online, albeit many are on the more elaborate side. If you are a beginner, then simpler is better. Train by running for 20 to 30 minutes a day for three days a week, then gradually increase your time.
Choose Your Gear
Fortunately, running is one of the cheaper forms of exercise and sports out there. You don’t need much to start; all it takes is a good pair of running shoes.
- Pick the Comfortable Shoe
Don’t be swayed by all those ‘high arches’ or ‘pronation’ jargon on shoe sales pitches, or by the prestige of brand names. Researchers found out that an essential feature of a running shoe is comfort. Choose ones that feel good, not because it is a high-class brand, or they use fancy terms you don’t understand.
- Put on the Right Socks
Swelling and blisters from wrongly bunched-up socks are painful and a significant inconvenience for a runner. When it comes to socks, you would want a breathable cloth with a snug fit. Those socks with anti-sweat properties that prevent foot odor are also good choices.
Accessories essential for a runner mainly include devices to manage training, such as a GPS tracker, a timer, and an activity tracker. All of this may already be integrated into your phone, but if you find continually holding a phone to be quite a hassle, invest in other smart devices instead, such as a watch.
Plan Your Diet
What you put inside your body is just as important as what you wear outside. Food is an integral part of your regimen; do not neglect it.
- There is no set rule on how much to eat during training and during the run itself, but experts estimate the mass to be around the size of your fist. Think of it as an appetizer. Eat foods that are full of carbs for that energy, and some protein. The basic but effective peanut butter sandwich is a recommended diet element.
- Plan to eat one hour before running; it will provide the necessary boost while not ruining your stomach. After running, eat within 15 minutes of stopping to help the body recover through quick re-synthesizing of muscle glycogen.
- However, a snack could not and should not serve as a substitute for a full meal. When it comes to physically active people, three square meals are not enough. Eat at least five times a day, including pre- and post-run snacks.
Hydration is a cause of concern for runners, especially the neophytes, but it must not be so. Carry a water bottle so you can drink on the run, or you can plan your route around drinking stops such as water fountains. The best and only tip to follow to stay hydrated is to drink when you are thirsty. Do not overcompensate, though, overhydration is sometimes a more severe problem than dehydration.
Electrolyte-rich sports drinks help re-energize the body, but if you will run for less than an hour only, then water is an excellent drink. Anything longer than that, and your body will try and find electrolytes. Take a few sips of energy drinks to maintain energy, but don’t drink too much because they may contain high amounts of sugar.
Stretch. Warm-up your muscles through different repeated movements. If you like or are used to stretching as a means to condition your muscles, then feel free to do it. Just don’t hold your stretches too much, keep them moving if you don’t want to strain them down the road.
Running on a Treadmill
A treadmill makes running easier. You don’t need to go outside, so you don’t meet any semblance of wind resistance. The ‘ground’ is padded, so it is more attractive for people with extra weight, or who are injury-prone and would want to decrease the impact. But, running a treadmill is just not the same as running outdoors; terrain often makes the difference as it builds muscles.
An effective way to use a treadmill is to use it as speed training. Speed it up for short bursts of time, then slow it down to recover. This is a convenient and sure way to gain some speed.
A Couple of Final Reminders
- Everyone can run, whatever your gender, background, or size.
- Everyone struggles at the start. Don’t give up if running takes so much of your breath away or leaves you sore at the beginning. It will get better with more training and time.
- Try to make running social if you don’t like to be alone. Join a running club or find a running buddy.
- Don’t worry about your knees. Studies disprove the notion that running will bring ruin to your knees. The most significant risk factor for knee osteoarthritis is obesity; running is virtually a 0 percent risk factor.