Here's How To Enjoy Your Run to the FULLEST
One of the greatest things about running is that anyone can do it! You don't have to be a professional marathoner, or a sub 5-miler, to be a runner. As long as you have a positive attitude, a good pair of laces, and a proper plan to train, then you too are a runner. It doesn't take much to enjoy how incredible it is that our bodies allow us to move in such a way. Whether you're thinking about taking up running, or you've been going at it for a while and just can't seem to make it a habit, here are 5 tips to improve from walker to runner.
1. Choose the Right Shoes
The first step you must take before hitting the pavement, is choosing the right sneakers. Finding the perfect pair of shoes can make or break your run. You'll want them to be both comfortable and lightweight to help aid your run. It's always best to try sneakers on in the store so you can take them for a test run around the shop. Every person and runner is different, so if someone gives you a suggestion, take it with a grain of salt because your body and style is unique to theirs. Wearing the right sneakers also depends on what kind of running you want to do. For beginners, you'll need a medium balance between comfort and a lightweight shoe. Never neglect this step if you want to perform your best and enjoy your run. And heck, go for the funky bright colors because your run should be as amp'ed up as you look.
2. Proper Posture is Essential
From head to toe, having the right form effects your ability to run. Keep your chin up and eyes looking forward, not at the ground. Your shoulders should be relaxed, not tight or high up to your ears. Maintain an upright torso and don't lean too far forward (this is why having a strong core helps as well.) Your arms should have a balanced flow that swings with your body speed, and make sure you don't raise your elbows above your chest for a slow paced run. Keep your knees slightly bent; this will prevent you from striding too long and pushing your pace too fast. Stay off your toes and land softly on your heels; mid-foot landing is the sweet spot for all areas of your body. P.S. Many times shin splints come from running on your toes.
3. Running Intervals is the Way to Go
Interval training is the best way to improve from a walk to a run. It's great for building endurance and speed while benefiting from recovery phases. Keep in mind, your walk should always be brisk and get your heart rate up. A good example of an interval run for a beginner is :
Warm-up for 10 minutes - walk or light jog
Run for 4 minutes - try not to stop but take it at your own pace
Walk for 8 minutes - this is your recovery period
Run for 8 minutes
Walk for 2 minutes
Run for 12 Minutes
Walk for 2 minutes or Begin cool down with a brisk 10 minute walk
Give this workout a try and you'll go from walker to runner in no time.
4. Cross-Training is Key
While running might be your go-to, like it is mine, it's always beneficial to change up your game. Whether it's other forms of cardio like swimming, rowing, cycling, or strength training, each training style can help build new muscles that running may not do all by itself. For instance, you may burn the same amount of calories that you do swimming for an hour as you do running for the same amount of time, but you're training your arm muscles to help you build a better posture that essentially will help you perform better on your runs. As far as strength training goes, runners need to have a core because it's the base of your entire body and all areas will benefit from having a strong core.
5. Stretching Will Keep You Going
Stretching before and after a run is crucial. No matter what kind of workout you do, or even don't do, stretching helps your body perform at its best and keeps you injury-free.
Pre-run, dynamic stretches are best. You don't want to stretch too much and make them loose because then you'll tear a muscle during your workout. Shoot for 10 seconds each limb. Ex: arms across, arms overhead, quad stretches, toe touches, hip flexor, calves, and leg swings.
Post-run stretches are meant to aid your muscles for flexibility, performance, and comfort. An ideal routine would be to repeat the pre-run stretches but hold them for a longer period of time and include other stretches such as : on the ground butterflies, figure 4, and twisted hip & back stretch. Try to do these stretches right after your cool down, while your muscles are still warmed up and loose.
Pro Tip : ENJOY YOUR RUN! Don't just think about it as a workout, make your runs fun and you'll be excited to hit the pavement or track every time.
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