A lot of my friends often complain that they hate running, and frankly, I don’t blame them. Many online fitness coaches and blogs preach the gospel of cardio, and how running specifically can act as a master fat blaster. That is good and fine, however, how can a person directly translate their knowledge of running into effective, long-term results? I have had my share of stressful running, and I believe that many of you reading this have as well. Every healthy and agile has the ability to run well, but without the technique and the knowledge tools, it’s as good as no effort at all, so what exactly works well? What tips can help runners meet their weight loss goals and be successful in their fitness pursuits? Here are a few tips that my friends and I picked up along the way.
Running Gear Is Important
It’s all in the packaging. What you wear, and how you wear it actually matters a lot. Brands like Nike and Under Armour have done a phenomenal job when it comes to creating clothing that gets the job done. It does not always have to be just about the shoes (although shoes are very important, too), the extra accessories actually matter too. If you’re running and you have the right pants, the right tee-shirt and the right headphones on, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Shoes Are Important
The shoes that you wear to run are important because they make or break your running experience, so when you go into the store, make sure you’re getting the right shoes,because they matter a lot in the overall fitness experience that you are trying to build for yourself. Almost always, your running shoe size will and should be 1/2 a size bigger than your regular shoes. This is because your feet will swell from all that running around. Getting a size that is slightly bigger ensures that you’re not completely uncomfortable.
Wear Breathable Fabrics
When you’re running, it is extremely important to be smart about the selection of fabrics that you choose for your workout gear. Cotton, for example, is a bad choice because it has a high likelihood to cause chafing on the skin from the repetitive motion that comes with running. Don’t hurt yourself.
Minutes Instead Of Miles
Nearly every training plan that you’ll see is measured in distance, whether you use miles or kilometers. As a new runner, it can be helpful to run for minutes rather than running for miles, because it takes some of the pressure off you, giving you time to slowly ease into the process. This technique gives you an idea of exactly how much time you need to schedule to run and engage in that activity, and it can make you focus on form and effort, rather than on pace, which will be effective in the long run.
When you’re running, it’s important to unclench your fists, and relax the rest of your body. As you progress on your run, it’s also important to do a mental check-in on your body to make sure that you’re not taking any energy away from your running. Take a moment to shake your arms out, pull your shoulders down and back, as well as loosen your jaw. Avoid clenching your fists as this could lead to unnecessary tension in the body.
I definitely have learned the hard way over the years that sleep is extremely important when it comes to weight loss or any form of activity that is geared towards physical activity. Getting enough sleep is very important because it helps the body rejuvenate itself, and is perfect for weight loss. The unofficial rule is that runners should add an additional minute per night for every mile that they per week, so if you’re running 10 miles a week, you should shoot for 10 extra minutes of sleep every night. Just as rest days are super important in your training to allow the body relax, so also is sleep important for progress and results.
Variety is the spice of exercise
Strength training is very important for injury prevention in runners, and it can also make you a stronger runner when it’s done the right way. Cross training is also an important aspect of training and running. Whenever you run, it is important to give your body a break from performing the same activity repeatedly. The only way that this can be done is through varying exercises. Switch things up every once in a while, and if for any reason, you feel like you have no spare time in your week to do anything but run, you can always swap an easy run out for swimming, hiking, cycling, brisk walking, rowing, hot yoga and so on. If you are super adventurous, you can opt for mountain climbing or any adrenaline inducing activity.
Your Pace, Your Race
It is important to be graceful with yourself. The amazing thing about being individuals is that we all do not move to the same rhythm, not in life, and definitely not when it comes to our running routines, so be patient with yourself. It is important not to define yourself by your pace. While it may be disappointing that you did not reach your goals, it is not a reflection of your actual worth. It can be frustrating because when we set expectations for ourselves and don’t meet them, it can feel as if we are slacking. It is difficult not to feel a sense of failure when we do not meet and surpass our goals, but its important to remember that there are so many variables that affect the final outcome. It could be the weather or our health, among other things, and although it is difficult not to feel a sense of failure, in running, those unfortunate races really do make us stronger and smarter for the future. The next time you go on a run, remember all of these things and you will be just fine.