Gyms all around the world have been closed the entire summer, removing all of our hopes for a 2020 bikini body. Quarantine might be frustrating for some of us, but it’s also helping people explore their outdoor fitness possibilities more. Whether you run in your home on a treadmill, or have a scenic route that you frequent, here’s all the do’s and don’ts you need to know for a successful run.
Patience is everything. New runners, no matter their fitness levels, are bound to feel some soreness. But by slowly and steadily increasing mileage, your goals will start to manifest. Don’t run too fast, and eventually, your body will tolerate longer distances and more powerful sprints.
You don’t chance your cardiovascular endurance from a job once in a while. A minimum of three days a week is necessary for change to happen. You don’t have to run a marathon – this can be a quick 20 minute run every day, but don’t take long gaps unless you’re injured or sick.
It might be tempting to keep on going on going, but recovery days are a huge part of every runner’s life. This doesn’t mean cheat days – don’t eat a stack of pancakes on every rest day, but let your muscles repair and develop. An extra day off is never weakness – it’s listening to your body and letting it heal.
4. Buy a foam roller
While rest can help you heal, sometimes, nothing can get to those tender muscles like a foam roller. This simple recovery tool is the best form of self massage we know, and it helps you become more flexible and mobile by getting into those knotted up muscles.
Eating well is the foundation for your energy. Food is our gas – it keeps us going and fuels us forward. If you eat a balanced and colorful diet with complex carbs, veggies (lots of dark green), and fruits, you’ll perform your best as a runner.
6. Motivate with music
Unless you simply enjoy listening to the natural sounds around you, you might be motivated to keep running if you have on your favorite playlist, or even an audiobook. That being said, running with music can sometimes be distracting, so make sure you’re still tuning into your body and being aware of form. In fact, the right beat can help you bring more attention to steps and breathing.
7. Become acquainted with a lacrosse/golf/tennis ball
Running is hard on your feet – there’s no question about that. Since the feet are such a hard area to stretch, you can loosen the muscle tissues at the bottom by rolling a small ball from the heel, to the ball of the foot. This is called flossing. Complete it for 30 seconds twice a day, if possible.
8. Slow down your breathe
Even experts and long distance runners are breathing too much. This might sound contradictory. When you’re running, you’re getting winded, so maximize that O2 intake, right? Wrong. Trying to bring in air so fast doesn’t let you eliminate the C02 in your lungs, so you’re starving them rather than infusing them with air. Slow down your breathing and relax.
9. Run in all directions on the treadmill
There’s more than one way to run on the treadmill – rather than just going forward, consider running backwards and sideways. Doing so wakes up micro-tendons in the body, which can increase your stability and strength. Running in unusual ways on the treadmill also forces core engagement, so it’s good for your abs.
10. Stick your chest out
Run with confidence! If you can imagine someone is pulling you forward by the sternum, you’ll perfect your posture. Otherwise, we have a tendency to hunch over and round the shoulders, which is bad for our neck and back, and prevents proper breathing. Keep that chest proud.
11. Thumb posture
Many of us close our hands in a fist when we go for a run with your thumbs closed over your fist. It’s human nature to run with thumbs pointing up, but this position actually tenses the forearm unnecessarily and makes a big difference in terms of overall muscle fatigue.
12. Land your stride on the forefoot
There’s a lot of jumping movements in running, which isn’t great for your joints. If you land on your heel, this is even more of a concern. Practice running on the front of your foot with the following drill: place a line of tape on the ground, and practice a single legged jump rope, while landing on the forefoot and staying on the line. Keep your eye-line straight rather than looking down.