Six Tips to Become a Better Runner
by Charles Duncan
Running is a highly aerobic exercise that reaps fantastic physical results. Running will burn calories at an intense rate that will allow you to shed fat in hard to lose places such as the belly. It is also an excellent way to strengthen vital organs such as the lungs, brain, and cardiovascular system as it increases the amount of overall oxygen in the blood.
Though all of these benefits are great, it is difficult to enjoy them if you are not physically capable to be able to complete the task. If your body is out of shape, then you will likely need to start out more gradual and slow. As long as you are exercising at a rate that is challenging enough to need to take in steady breaths of oxygen, you are already burning like a runner.
The key to turning such a challenging exercise into a reality is taking your decision to run seriously and finding the proper motivation. Setting daily achievements in distances and to joining friends with the same fitness goals as you is a huge motivator. Jogging outside or listening to music may also make the experience more enjoyable.
Cut Out Detrimental Habits
Running is quite a lifestyle change, which may require other big changes to occur before getting started. Smoking and drinking are two major habits that should be phased out as you begin your journey to become a better runner – if you’re having trouble with alcohol consumption, getting help from detoxification services, or a similar type of program, would definitely be ideal.
Make sure you have the proper running attire. You want something that your skin can breathe in as you are sweating. Fitness attire that is made to breath will keep your body cool for a more productive workout. The outfit must not be too tight or too loose so that you can run in comfort.
Running can have a huge impact on all the joints in your body, and your feet as well. The proper shoes are a necessity. Choose shoes that have ample cushion and support for the arches of your feet. If you are going outside, you may also need sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen.
Building Up Stamina
Plan to start out small. If you can barely run for a minute at a time, alternate a minute of running with brisk walking for half an hour every day. As you improve in dexterity, increase the time that you run by one-minute increments in between brisk walking. Overtime, you will find that you will be able to run for the entire half hour.
This may take you only a couple weeks to a couple months to achieve. However long it takes, the satisfaction of completing each milestone is well worth it.
Warm Up and Warm Down
Stretching is critical before every run. Take at least five to ten minutes to stretch your leg and abdominal muscles. Start out with a fast walk and ease your muscles and heart into a quicker pace until you are running. Doing this will reduce the chance of pulling a muscle, or getting a stitch in your side.
Find a pace that you can maintain to increase the amount of time you will be able to run. After you have finished running, continue to move around. Muscles can still cramp, or become sorer if they suddenly stop moving after intense exercise. Rehydrate yourself if you have not been doing so during the workout.
Stick with It
Running is a challenge; it is also a huge reward once you start making real strides. Your body may even learn to crave it. Stay positive and appreciate your improvements. It’s okay if there is a day that you are not as good as a day before. As long as you keep doing it every day, you will eventually improve.
(This guest post is by Charles Duncan, an avid researcher and runner – he writes for a variety of sources online and is very interested in furthering his fitness knowledge.)