Running can be a great exercise for both your body and your mind. I’m more of a yoga-practicing, mountain-hiking girl myself, but those who run swear by it and the benefits it produces.
I interviewed several runners who can’t live without their serious morning or evening sessions and asked them for their top tips on how to get the most out of each run.
Those who love to pound the pavement, dirt road, field, running track or even treadmill dished out advice on their most useful running hacks and they also shared the reasons they love to run so much.
Wear the proper attire for running
Runner #1 is an athlete who competes in obstacle course racing, an extremely competitive sport which has just recently captured the attention of the world. According to him, running is an excellent way to build strong, toned leg muscles and build stamina.
His top piece of advice is to wear the proper attire when you go for a run.
Remember that not all shoes are made alike, so if you’re serious about your running, choose the right footwear. There are shoes specifically made for the sport, and they’re designed to provide the right support that runners need.
Runner #1 also swears by compression leggings, which help promote blood flow and can reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, thus improving running performance. They also prevent something we all want to avoid—chafing (ouch!).
Don’t skip the stretch
Runner #2 is a rock climber whose ideal weekend activity is hanging off the edge of a sheer rock face at a seemingly impossible angle, conquering heights with mental strength and excellent climbing skills. She swears by running an activity she insists is amazing for cultivating a steady, peaceful mind, because when you’re running, you’re putting one foot in front of the other and you’re not thinking about anything else.
After warming up with some walking or light jogging, properly stretching before a run is important to prepare your muscles for the intense activity ahead and is necessary for injury prevention and optimal running performance.
Stretching your muscles post-run after a cool-down will lengthen your already warmed up muscles and keep them from becoming too sore.
Music makes running easier
Runner #3 is a scuba dive master who spends as much time as possible exploring the ocean and loves guiding people on scuba diving trips. He says that running is an essential exercise for improving one’s aerobic functions, for focusing on steady deep breathing and for improving one’s lung capacity.
“the right music can help you get the most out of your run,”
Music in your ears, while you’re running, helps you focus and blocks out external noises and distractions.
Make your own choice for the music you choose, he says. Runner #3 makes a playlist beforehand and chooses different music for different stages of the run (for example, more upbeat music, in the beginning, to get him going and then more relaxed music with a steady beat, later on, to help him keep his pace).
Make sure that you have good earphones for running. Wireless earphones are recommended, so there’s no chance of getting tangled in cords while you’re running. Also, make sure your phone is secure. A good suggestion is an armband phone case—you don’t want your phone bouncing up and down in your pocket hindering your performance, and it’s easier to access if you need to change the tunes.
A good running app is a must
Runner #4 loves to lift weights and gets a serious exercise session at the gym five days a week. She enjoys running, which makes her agile and light on her feet while keeping strong so she can reach her weight lifting goals.
She swears that her runs are better and more effective by the use of a good running app.
An app like the Nike + Run Club App, which is available for both Android and Apple devices, could be the perfect running partner for you. It connects you with a community of runners ready and willing to motivate you and share their own advice on running, tracks your overall performance—your mileage, time, and your progress—and it’s easy to use.
Using a running app is encouraging because you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come since you started to run. It’s for runners of all ages and levels, and it’s perfect for recording your progress and for setting and achieving future running goals.
If you need extra support, go for it
Runner #5 is a skater whose tricks on the skateboard are something to behold. As if doing tricks or jumping off large stair sets wasn’t enough, he says that running is his other favourite activity because it helps him de-stress and release bad feelings and emotions.
His top running hack is to acknowledge if you need extra support (i.e. knee supports, ankle supports, etc.), and to not run without them.
Obviously, if you’ve got knee, ankle or other injuries, consult your doctor first before you get into a running activity, which is notorious for being a high-impact sport, especially on the joints. Assuming your doctor has given you the thumbs up, you may proceed.
It’s important to take care of one’s body. Many athletes use knee supports to help them minimise pain, soreness and injury and to help them keep the proper form as they engage in different sports and activities.
The benefits of running are many, from the physical to the emotional. Make sure that you stay safe while you run and most of all, enjoy it. /TISG