Become a Better Runner
by Abby Austin
Running – you either love it or you hate it. No matter where you fall on the spectrum or how committed you, it can never hurt to become a better runner.
Here’s how you can:
- Use proper form: To prevent leaving your body prone to injury on your run, you should relax your shoulders, keep your head fixed over your spine, and engage your core. Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle and pump your arms in a fluid motion. Never clench your fists; it tires your muscles leading to achiness. Land on your midfoot, aligning it with knee and chest as it touches the ground.
- Keep the motivation: Upbeat music or running with a buddy helps keep you on track so you don’t cut corners. Using a fitness tracker is also very helpful, especially when you are able to compete against yourself for distance or time personal records.
- Stay hydrated: You should drink enough water both before and during your run. A good rule of thumb is drinking 15-20 ounces 60-90 minutes before your run. Continue sipping on water while running to prevent fatigue and cramps.
- Eat right: You will not want to run on an empty stomach, because you won’t sustain the right amount of energy. Likewise, you don’t want to eat too much either to cause cramping. A snack with protein and carbs is best for continuous energy before a run, and helps restore energy and muscle repair post-run.
- Create consistency: If you don’t run often or haven’t run in awhile, you will have to build up conditioning. If you want to improve, you should add distance incrementally. That is not to say take the same route, or run on the same medium – add some hills or change the scenery.
- Invest in your wardrobe: Wear comfortable clothing, but make sure not too baggy. Always dress warm enough; it’s easier to remove layers than run with cold muscles. The right shoes are a necessity; it makes the difference between being light on your feet or lethargic. Take the time to find what foot support is best for you, done easiest at dedicated running stores.
- Don’t forget about strength training: While any fitness enthusiast should incorporate strength training, it’s important for runners to use functional training. Functional training keeps your body healthy and your muscles stronger to prevent running injuries.
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