Ah, running. Honestly, one of the great pleasures of life and something that delivers more rewards the longer you do it for. But just like when you’re playing casino games, you need to know what you’re doing.
That’s where we come in, and why we’re offering the tips below. If you’re new to the sport or are getting back into it after a break, this is the starting advice you need.
Start With Short Intervals
Bravo for your enthusiasm and can-do attitude, but running the entire distance in the beginning is actually counterproductive. Your body needs time to adjust to this new activity, and alternating short running and walking intervals can help you do that.
The walking also allows for on-the-trot recovery time, helping you to slowly build stamina. Our best advice is to run and walk for 2 minutes each, and then repeat until the end of your workout. In about 2 weeks, you can start increasing the running stints by a minute at a time until you’re jogging the entire distance.
Run at a Moderate Pace
Your running/walking intervals are not the only place where you need to listen to your body and go at the pace it dictates. Expert Sascha Wingenfeld explains that sprinting too fast can lead to overexertion, injuries and frustration at not being able to perform the way that you think you should.
Pardon the obvious use of runners’ humour, but increasing your stamina and abilities is a marathon, not a race. Running should become part of your lifestyle, but you need to integrate it slowly. Don’t be tempted to go so full-throttle that you won’t be able to work out for the rest of the week! The optimal speed, that you should be doing, allows you to carry on a conversation while you’re training.
Respect Rest Days
Rest days are not “lazy days” as some beginners might think they are. Your body needs the downtime to recover and repair itself. This allows it to adjust to the new demands on its systems, and gives it a chance to grow new muscle fibres. Don’t let yourself get carried away, having too many days off in a row, though. Aim to run one day, rest the next, and then repeat.
Take Shorter Steps
To begin with, your body will probably lack the necessary coordination to perform the complex movements required of every run. Part of the reason it’s called “training” is that your muscles learn, or are trained, to do this as you keep up with your routine. Get a jump start on this by making sure you are relaxed, holding good form, and taking small steps. Long, powerful strides aren’t nearly as effective, since they act as brakes and slow your momentum.
Invest in Quality Running Shoes
One of the most important runners tips is to start with a good foundation, as with almost everything else in life. Quality footwear is expensive, but it really is worth the investment. Without it, you risk serious injury and will simply not get the full benefit of your running or be able to perform at your peak. Your ankle needs to move comfortably, your footfalls need to feel secure, and your entire range of movement should feel natural.
Speciality stores dedicated to running apparel and having the knowledgeable staff to match, are quite common these days. You can discuss your needs with them and look at their recommendations before you make your purchase. Depending on the shape of your feet, it might even be worth consulting a podiatrist and getting orthotic inserts to use when you’re pounding the pavement. Finally, do not be tempted to buy shoes based on their appearance alone. Good looks can’t make up for inadequate quality. Again, like so much in life!
Include Cross Training in Your Routine
The truth is, running affects and is affected by almost every muscle group in your body. Strength and core exercises will make you a better jogger, and will avoid repetitive strain or compensatory injuries as well as excess stress on your spine and joints. You’re also less likely to get bored, and more likely to keep up with your training schedule. Best of all, you’ll be doing this in a class so it’s a fun way to socialise while working up a healthy sweat.