Have you been planning to start running as a way to stay fit? No doubt, running is a great way to stay fit and boost your mood. Besides, you’ll cut back the risk of several illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Sounds like the perfect fitness plan, doesn’t it?
But before getting started, you must take the right precautions starting with this one
#1: Chose the right shoes!
Running requires special shoes and by that I mean your regular snicker or walking shoes won’t cut it – especially if you intend to run regularly. For safety reasons too, running shoes are important. They help cushion your body against the shock of the pounding motion when your feet hit the ground. They also make a run more comfortable and may even enable you to go further than you would with a less comfortable pair.
#2: Warm Up
Warming up for as little as 5 to 10 minutes can help reduce the chances of injury from exercise. Begin with aerobic activities such as a slow jog. You should start to perspire but shouldn’t feel fatigued. Follow this up with some flexibility/stretching exercises that work the muscles of your legs, hips, buttocks, and back – these are going to be used/engaged during the run.
#3: Get Your Running Posture Right
a) Look ahead when you run, leaning your body forward a little. This can help improve your balance and keep the weight on the midsection of your foot rather than the heel or front.
b) Keep hips stable and don’t waste momentum by swaying them from side to side – this will only slow you down.
c) Try and breathe once for every two strides you take
#4: Don’t Forget To Stretch after the run
Reaching the end of the track or hitting your goal distance or time can be a high. But don’t skip the next phase of the workout which is as important as the run – the cool-down stretches. Be sure you stretch out your thighs, hamstring, calf, buttock, lower back, and hip muscles properly. Hold each stretch for around 15 seconds
#5: Supplement Running With Other Exercises
Your running will actually benefit from a routine that incorporates weight training and other forms of aerobic exercise, building overall stamina and strength. Work two sessions of muscle strengthening activities on days when you don’t run.
#6: Fuel up Right
What goes into your body is an important part of your running routine. You need to stick to a healthy foods that fuels you up for a run without weighing you down. They shouldn’t be high in fat but must have carbs to give you the energy you need. A little protein along with this can keep you feeling full and aid in muscle repair after the run. Ensure you don’t eat large portions of protein or any saturated fat or overly fiber-rich foods that are slow to digest.
Post workout, recovery snacks like banana or yogurt or a glass of fruit juice along with a good protein source is a good way to replenish energy stores in the body while giving you the protein needed to repair muscle wear and tear
Be sure to drink adequate amounts of water to compensate for the sweat lost during a run. This amount varies from person to person, but the dietary reference intake is 2.7 to 3.7 liters. This number may be high or low depending on your activity levels, lifestyle, body type, weight, and other factors. What it comes down to is listening to your body.
Sip on water regularly through the day and drink up especially when you’re thirsty.12 When you are done with your run, replace lost electrolytes and water with some juice, water, or a smoothie.13
#8: Plan Right If You Want To Lose Weight
Because it’s an aerobic exercise, running can be a great way to lose weight. Just be sure you consume fewer calories over the course of the day than you burn. So while fueling up for a run is important, you should ensure these are healthy foods that don’t pack in too many calories.
Go for whole foods and fresh produce over processed snacks or sugary snacks and drinks. You may not need to eat too much if you aren’t running a great distance, so avoid overdoing the “fuel.”