7 Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Run
There are so many reasons to start running: not only is it one of the easiest sports to do, but it also requires little money or skill. Anyone can be a runner, so why not lace up and get to it? To maximize your benefits from a run, here are seven essential steps to put your best foot forward.
No good runner is a runner unless he/she plans for the workout. While running does not require a lot of time commitment, knowing how to fit it into your busy schedule is important. If you have a 9-to-5 work day, make an effort to wake up earlier to get your morning jog in. Set realistic goals for your runs: the number of miles, the time of day to run, and how often per week. Starting slow will make it easier to get in the habit of running regularly. Planning ahead will give you a good idea of what to expect, as well as motivation to begin running.
Stick to the schedule
Now that you have planned it out, it’s time to get started. While it may be hard to wake up earlier than usual in the morning for a run, know that it will give you more energy and drive in the long run. You’ll even eventually increase your productivity for the rest of the day. More importantly, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, and will more likely feel inclined to keep up the good habits.
You don’t need the most expensive, high-performing shoes for your run, especially if you’re a novice. Any shoes designed for running will suffice, although there are many that offer arch support, if necessary. A simple outfit of gym shorts, a comfortable shirt, and running shoes is all that you need. Extra items such as a watch, headbands, and music armbands are not necessary, but may make your running experience more enjoyable.
Find your stride
If you’re a beginner, it is best not to go too fast on your first run. Not only will you get tired quickly, but you will also feel obliged to quit more easily. Start by warming up with a small jog for one minute before increasing your pace and finding the right rhythm for the rest of your run. Know when you’re getting tired, and adjust your stride to accommodate your energy level.
After running, it is very important to cool down and stretch. Decrease your pace to a slow jog before stopping. Stretch for at least five minutes in order to relax your muscles and prevent cramping afterwards. Doing a cool down will also help speed up muscle recovery and get your body ready for you next run.
Drink lots of water
Depending on how far and intense your run was, you should drink about one to two cups of water afterwards. Your body will have lost a lot of fluids from the workout, and so it is essential to replenish yourself with vitamins and minerals found in water. Unless you have been running for over an hour, it is not necessary to consume Gatorade or other electrolyte-based drinks. For the most part, water will be enough.
Make it a habit
Now that you have completed your run, make an effort to turn it into a consistent routine. Aim to run three to five times a week, since a rest day is important every now and then. Plan to keep the same number of miles for each run until you have built up stamina to do more. Pretty soon, running will become part of your routine that keeps you energetic, in shape, and healthy.