When you talk to hardcore running enthusiasts, the way they describe the thrill of experiencing side cramps, running out of breath and the “high” post-run can seem almost like a religious experience. Whether you’re a weightlifter or play a sport as your primary fitness routine, you can probably relate to this thrill, but the idea of feeling that way after simply running around outside might seem daunting.
Running provides a ton of physical and mental benefits that other routines just don’t seem to quite match. Whether you’re trying to become a high-endurance athlete, the fastest person on the planet or just want to exercise without having to go to a gym or dedicated training space, running is for you. Here are some tips to help you transform into a bona fide, legit runner through and through.
Have the Right Gear
First things first, you need to have the right gear. Notably, you’ll need proper running shoes to provide support, cushion and flexibility during your runs. Just as you wouldn’t work out in anything other than your favorite gym shoes, you wouldn’t run in just anything, either. Your walking shoes and running shoes are essentially your tires on the road, so it’s worth investing in a quality pair that will hold up to your demands, keep you comfortable and fit for your running style.
Know Your Goals and Develop Your Training Program Around Them
Everyone runs for different reasons. Some people choose to run to lose weight; others run simply for the joy of hearing their feet hit the pavement. There’s no correct or incorrect reason to run, but for the best results, you should train according to your goal.
For example, if endurance is a goal of yours or you have a particular race in mind, you should adopt a program that has you running frequently. Many will suggest the run-walk method where you run for a set period of time and then walk. You repeat this cycle for the duration of the run, and as you become more experienced, you shorten the walk time and increase the run time.
If you’re interested in building up your speed, you’ll be running shorter, quicker intervals. Sprinting and speed work require a different technique than endurance running since it’s not about battling mind games or maintaining your pace, but rather knowing how to move your legs as efficiently as possible.
Regardless of your chosen running goal, strength training is beneficial for all runners. Many beginners might assume that the only way to be a great runner is to run as much as possible. Running in itself is crucial, but so is maintaining your strength and building muscle.
Injuries to your joints, ligaments or muscles can sideline even the most determined runners. Through strength training, you can help prevent injuries in the long run. You don’t need to look like a bodybuilder either. Just incorporate one or two strength-training sessions into your regimen per week. Focus on your glutes, core, legs and ankles to see better results in your runs.
Learn How to Run
If you’re like most beginning full-time runners, you might assume all that’s left to do is lace up your running shoes and get going. After all, running is a natural movement for us, and we’ve been doing it for as long as we can remember. With that being said, just like there’s a right or a wrong way to lift weights, there are proper and improper running methods.
Notably, most newbie runners will run how they walk, with the heel of their walking shoes striking the pavement first and their feet far out in front of them. This is not only inefficient but can also lead to fatigue and strain. Conversely, for moderate speeds and endurance runs, you’ll want to land with your midsole hitting the pavement evenly. To get a feel for it, before running, stand in place and march, lifting your knees and gently placing your feet down. This exercise can help refocus your mind around running and get a feel for proper running technique.
There are other small techniques that can help improve your efficiency during your runs. For example, the falling method essentially turns gravity into a momentum-pushing force, making your strides feel more effortless. There are countless other methods out there, and whether you watch videos online or book a one-on-one session with an expert, it can help you build good habits now.
Focus on Warm-Up and Recovery
With any fitness activity, whether it’s powerlifting or basketball, recovery is key to progress. In running, especially at the start, you’ll put your body through a lot, and it needs time to rebuild and restore. Recovery will typically start before your workout. You must ensure that you’re giving yourself ample time to stretch out and loosen up rather than hitting the workout cold.
These are a few warm-up exercises and movements to do before each run:
- Stretch your hips out via leg swings, skipping and lateral lunges.
- Loosen up your upper body by arm swings, arm circles and shoulder stretches.
- Activate your abs and glutes with squats, planks, lunges and hip lifts.
- Elevate your heart rate by performing a few jumping jacks, butt kicks and high knees.
You should always end your workout with a brief cool down to bring your heart rate slowly back to its resting levels. Following your cool down and on your “off” or active recovery days, focus on reducing tension and easing any soreness. Foam rolling is a great way to help with post-run fatigue. If you’re more hardcore, you can take an ice bath, which is what the pros do. Also, ensure that you’re hydrating and practicing healthy nutrition habits.
Beat the Mental Games
Finally, mentality is a significant attribute that separates the pros from the casual running enthusiasts. Endurance runs can be just as much mental as they can be physical. If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have a pretty strong mind. However, pushing through mental fatigue 4 miles in brings a different challenge than gearing up for a new deadlift PR. There are tons of tips and tricks out there, and everyone will be different. Whether you have to set checkpoints during your run to keep you going or just need an inspirational playlist, find a way to beat the mind games. It gets easier from here.
Hit the Road
Now that we’ve covered the basics and things to know, all that’s left to do is find your training ground, lace up your running shoes and take the first step. Keep all of these tips in mind, and pretty soon, you’ll be well on your way to being a seasoned runner.
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Find the apparel and footwear you need to elevate your performance at Reebok.com