March 28, 2015
1) Get the right shoes
Wearing the wrong shoes can cause blisters or ankle and knee pain. Plus, did you know you are suppose to trade in your shoes after about 300 miles? This is because the cushioning has worn down and is no longer doing its job effectively. So, what kind of shoe should you get? This depends on you…on how you run, whether you are flat footed or have an arch, if your ankles are strong or weak. Here is the best way to choose your shoes: Go to a local running store, most cities have one of these and the experience is really cool. They will ask you to run on a treadmill with your current shoes and take pictures of your feet. With these pictures you can see how your foot falls on the ground to tell you what kind of shoe you need. The best part is that it is totally free to have this analysis done! When I did this it showed that my feet actually roll inward and so I need a shoe with good ankle and arch support.
2) Get comfy socks
Socks can be as crucial as shoes at times. Ever had a sock that didn’t stay up around your heel? Ouch! A thick cotton sock, a little higher than the ankle, will give you a little extra cushion and absorb sweat to keep your feet dry, comfortable, and un-blistered!
3) Download a way to track your run
Knowing your stats allows you to track your progress. It is also gives you something to concentrate on other than the pain! Two free apps that I have used are MapMyRun and Nike Running. MapMyRun can also double as a calorie counter. I like them both and currently use the Nike App. It keeps record of all sorts of things and lets me know when I break any of my own records. It’s kind of like being congratulated without having to respond when I’m out of breath.
4) Invest in an arm band
This is so worth the money! I was just gifted one this past Christmas and can’t believe I haven’t used one sooner. What a pain it is to hold it in your hand or, *gasp*, sports bra. With the arm band the phone stays with you and allows you to be hands free to save your energy for the run.
5) Find your headphones
Get those headphones out and plan what you are going to listen to. When I am going through rough times: praise music. When I am happy: old school rap. Snoop Dogg anyone? Now that I am a mom and never get to read I actually enjoy listening to a book while I run. Kinda weird, I know, but it works for me. Having something to listen to is a distractor and if chosen wisely can actually help you run faster.
7) Enlist a friend
A good workout buddy doesn’t let you skip a workout and you will workout harder than you would have alone. On top of that, it is just more fun. Try talking and joking during your run. It’ll feel like you’re multitasking quality time with a workout.
8) Sign up for a race
This one can be a little easier if you’ve already enlisted a friend. That way you can have your friend to compete in the race with. It is a fun bonding experience to race with a friend. Plus, when you are signed up for a race you will stay motivated to run on those days when you’d just like a break.
Now, don’t get crazy and sign up for a marathon. Ease into racing with a 1-mile fun run or a 5k. Races go on all over the country during all times of the year. Most are pretty cheap and benefit a good cause or charity. In addition, most racing venues make an event out of the whole thing. Neighborhoods you run through sometimes decorate their yards and sit outside to cheer you on. As a reward you may even get goodie bags, food, and usually a beer once you cross the finish line.
9) Prevent Knee Injury
Knees are a common weak area and can become a serious injury. Any time you feel pain you should stop right away. When your knees are weak it is often a sign that your hips are too tight and you need to stretch them. Yoga is amazing for this. Check out this video for a quick 15 minute hip opening sequence.
10) Strengthen Your Core
Do you feel yourself hunching over when you run? Does it get worse the longer you run or the more tired you become? It is because you need to work on your core. This hunching over causes you to expend more energy which in turn causes you to loose stamina sooner than you should. When you have a strong a core you will run with your upper body upright, your shoulders back and chest up and out. Your arms can remain in a loose position at your sides and you won’t feel sore all over after running with correct posture. Work on your plank and check out this 12 minute AB workout I created to build strength in your core, arms, and shoulders.
11) Eat clean
Eating clean is important for so many reasons but for the purpose of this article I will stick with one reason. Eating clean gives you more energy and will help you to feel better during your run. Eating processed or sugary foods, even the day before running, has the potential to slow you down and make you feel heavier during a run. Eating clean will boost your energy and let your body work at its best.
Smoothies are a great way to eat clean. Make sure you are including these 2 superfoods in your smoothie recipe!
12) Set goals
Individual workout goals
Each individual workout should have a goal. Are you going to run a certain distance or an amount of time? Are you challenging yourself not to walk in the middle of your run? Setting workout goals will keep you focused on the plan and track your improvement. No need to take extra time out of your day to brainstorm and plan. Just take a minute or two before you start running to tell yourself what you are going to do.
Weekly goals are important so that you can plan when to fit in your runs. Your weekly goal could again be a certain distance, a total amount of time, or a number of days a week you will run. Be sure to give yourself resting days to avoid injury and burnout.
Long term goals
Here is a secret. It takes 6 weeks to begin to like running. In other words, you will hate running for a month and a half before you start enjoying it! You have to set long term goals if you want to stick with this! Decide how long you will be a runner for or if there is a certain weight you want to get to. This will help you to stick with it to reap the full benefits of running.
Running is an amazing way to get in shape. Follow all, or most, of these tips and you will be on your way to getting more in shape and enjoying a run! Don’t forget to check out my 12 minute ab workout and the 2 superfoods you should be putting in your smoothie.
I would love to do more posts like this if it helps you become the person you want to be! Let me know that you liked it by dropping me a comment. Thanks and happy running!