Running is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to exercise. It’s a great way to stay in shape, get back into shape, or just have fun! One of the great things about running is that it can be done by anyone at any fitness level, from the Elite ultra-marathoner to the Sunday fun-run crowd.
Here are my top 5 top tips for runner, in no particular order, for the beginner runner.
Staying hydrated is important during day to day life but if you’re running as well and losing water through sweating it is important to replenish regularly. A mantra I use is ‘drink little, drink often.’ Taking on big gulps of water while running can cause abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, etc. Sipping water every 10 or 15 minutes while running is the best way to stay hydrated. Muscles are 70-80% water, so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, because if you do, you’re already dehydrated
2. Invest in good footwear
Forget your hi-tech sports watch with GPS and heart rate monitoring, forget your ultra cool-tech sweat wicking running shirt, forget your iPod and favourite running playlist – the first and most important piece of equipment you need for running is a good pair of running shoes. Don’t cheap out and settle for less than the best when it comes to your shoes. They are the shock absorbers that will cushion your ankles knees and hips, and they are the moulds that your feet will form to and affect the biomechanics of the rest of your body. Make sure you get yourself properly fitted for a good brand of running shoe that is supportive, light and comfortable. Running in fashion shoes, sneakers (converse/vans), or the old Dunlop volleys will set you up for trouble.
3. Warm up/Warm down and stretch
An essential step in any form of exercise. Before running make sure you allow some time for a brisk walk or light jog, followed by some dynamic stretches including calves, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors. After your run again allow time for an easy paced walk, followed by static stretches from your feet up to your low back. This will prevent soreness and reduce injuries.
4. Listen to your body
If you feel sore, or tired, take the day off! Or alternatively, do some cross training on a bike, cross-trainer or swim some laps in the pool. Your body is an amazing machine and will tell you when you need to slow down or have a rest. It is always better to have a few days off than persevere and give yourself an injury and not be able to run for weeks or months on end!
5. Find your motivation
Any form of exercise can start out being exciting and fun, but quickly turn into a chore that gets thrown on the ‘too hard’ or ‘I don’t have time’ pile. Find something that will keep you motivated and engaged in your training. Are you motivated by competition? Sign up for a race. Are you motivated by your peers? Join a running club or run with friends. Are you motivated by nature? Find some good trails to run. Are you motivated by helping people? Try fundraising for a charity or organisation.
Article written by Dr Josh Murphy (Chiropractor)