People tend to think that there is no need to prepare for running and that having two legs is simply enough. However, contrary to popular opinion and Bruce Springsteen’s song, we are not born to run, it is something that requires just as much effort as gym routine. The injuries that happen during running (between 19.4% and 92.4% runners gets hurt per year) often come as a result of underestimating the very activity. So, what can you do in order to improve your running and be safe while you are doing it? Here are some tips that should help you with that
Get the Right Shoes
It is always better to opt for the running shoes made by some major brand than exploring the dark corners of internet for some bargain deals. With poplar brands, the quality will usually compensate the price, but be sure to read the reviews or get some word-of-mouth recommendation. Now, you cannot expect your running shoes to last forever, and you will probably need to replace them every 350 to 500 miles (550 to 800 km) of wear.
Use the F-I-T (Frequency – Intensity – Time) Formula
A simple formula devised by Kenneth Cooper, M. D. says that all you need to do to improve you running is to run 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 km), in a comfortable pace, 3 to 5 days a week. Here, the pace is the most important, and the emphasis is put on not pushing yourself to hard.
Find the Pace that Suits You
What exactly is the “comfortable pace” mentioned in the previous paragraph? For each runner it is different. You can use a heart rate monitor to determine that. The maximum heart rate you should not cross is 205 minus half your age. You can also perform a technology-free testing – if you can breathe without gasping for air, you are on to something.
Safety should be your number one concern when it comes to running. Prevent injuries with a proper warm up (brisk walking or slow running) and cool down (after running do not stop, but walk another 5 minutes and then stretch). Consider the other safety issues, like running on the road, which should be avoided and running at nights, which can be made safer by making yourself highly visible with reflective tape for your gear.
Do Not Ignore the Pain
The majority of runners’ injuries are self-inflicted. You are increasing the risk of getting hurt by running to fast, too far, too soon or even too often. If you feel pain during your runs, mix walking and running, if that also is difficult to endure, then just walk.
Improve Your Running Form
Essentially, running form is inborn, so it is difficult to make some revolutionary changes, but with practice, you can make modifications that will help you become a better runner. Some basic tips for a better form are:
- Run upright.
- Look toward the horizon.
- Maintain even effort
Fuel Your Body with the Right Food
A long run will require taking a few hundred calories before the training, so that you would not end up tired after a half an hour. Choose easy to digest foods like oatmeal, banana or an energy bar. If you decide for some more difficult to process food (high-in-fiber), wait for two hours before you head for a run. Drink 1 to 3 glasses of water an hour before running to avoid dehydration.
Now it is time to use these tips we gave you, go out and become the best runner you can be. Good luck!