Running is an activity that is cathartic, physically demanding, mentally draining, and a whole lot of fun, which is why it is one of the most popular outdoor pastimes and pursuits in the entire world. If however, you were under the impression that running was simply a case of wearing any old pair of running shoes, and attempting to run as fast as you possibly can, you are in for a very rude awakening indeed. Running is ideal because not only does it allow you to get some much-needed cardiovascular exercise, it also allows you to see the outside world, to get some fresh air, and in some cases, to even socialize with other likeminded individuals, if you happen to join a running club, for example. If you are fairly new to running, and that’s proper running, not simply jogging on the treadmill, then it is crucial that you ensure that you know exactly what you are doing and that you are well prepared in the process. For those of you who are new to running, here are six tips designed to help you out.
Make sure you select the best possible footwear
We simply cannot stress just how important it is to ensure that you wear the correct footwear whilst running, otherwise not only will it feel uncomfortable and maybe even painful, but you also run the risk of suffering from an injury, as well as from painful blisters and such like. Running shoes are arguably the most important piece of running kit you could ever wish for, so you simply must make sure you purchase your running shoes wisely. When purchasing running shoes, you should make sure that you try them on before you buy, so that will mean getting off your butt and walking into a store to try them on. Your shoes should be comfortable and they should provide support, and they should not hurt in the slightest. It doesn’t matter how nice they look, if they feel uncomfortable, you may as well not bother as your feet will soon be in bits and you’ll find yourself suffering from all kinds of different pain.
Try to run three times per week
Although life can be pretty hectic and we may find ourselves struggling to find time for ourselves, if you wish to take your running seriously, for the most part, you will need to ensure that you are able to run at least three times per week. This will help get you into a routine of regular running, plus it will help to increase your stamina and cardiovascular conditioning. The fitter and more conditioned you are, the easier you will find your running, and the easier you will find it to keep up with other people, if you do decide to join a running group.
Get enough rest
Just because you may only be running three times per week, that does not mean that that is the only exercise you may be getting, as there are many people out there who also go to the gym a few times per week, or perhaps who take part in sports and games. To become an effective runner however, you must be able to give your body enough time to recover between sessions, as running is incredibly physically demanding. Rest is vital because it allows your muscles to recover and repair themselves, and it allows any slight aches and pains to wear off as well. If you are constantly exercising every day, obviously your body won’t have time to recover, and you won’t progress as well as you may have hoped, and you may even regress, which is the last thing you want.
ALWAYS warm up and cool down
It doesn’t matter whether you are running on a treadmill, a running track, through your local neighbourhood, or through a vast wilderness, before you begin any form of physical exertion, you should always, always take the time to stretch your muscles and warm up before you begin. Warming up and stretching helps improve muscle fibre elasticity, which means that your muscles are less likely to become torn, pulled, or ripped during the main exercise. What’s more, it will improve your flexibility, increase oxygen transportation and blood flow, plus it will increase your core body temperature and get you warmed up before you begin. When you finish exercising, again, make sure you take 5 – 10 minutes to perform a gentle cool down, in which you perform some minor stretches and work out at a much slower and leisurely pace, to help get your heart rate back down to a more normal rhythm. Warming up and cooling down will improve your performance and recovery rates, plus it will hugely reduce your chances of suffering from an injury.
Be prepared to run in all weathers
Running during the spring and summer months is generally a very pleasing process, because there is plenty of light, the temperature is comfortable, and there is more chance of the weather being dry, bright, and warm. However, those who are more dedicated to running will also run during the fall and winter months as well, which is not quite as pleasant. Whilst it can rain at anytime of the year, during the fall and winter months, you will be far more likely to be affected by adverse weather, so if the thought of running in cold winds and rain is not for you, you may wish to think twice, or find an indoor running track at least.
Wear the right clothing
Not only is it important that you wear the correct footwear, it is also vital that you wear the correct clothing whilst running. When running, you will sweat, so you need a material that wicks away sweat and moisture from your body. Because of this, cotton is out of the picture because cotton is non-wicking and so when you sweat, the fabric soaks up the moisture and it clings to your body, which weighs you down and feels very uncomfortable indeed. You can purchase running shorts, jogging bottoms, as well as long and short-sleeve tops that are stretchy and promote full range of motion, plus they are light weight and will wick away moisture. If running at night, you will need bright and reflective clothing as well, to improve your visibility.