Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise there is. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy kit or spend hours learning how to do it. All you need is a pair of trainers and you’re ready to go. And the best bit is, it’s perfect for every level of fitness, whether you’re a seasoned ultramarathon runner or an absolute beginner.
It’s a fantastic way to keep your body fit and healthy, as well as giving your mental health a boost. Being outdoors is excellent for reducing stress levels, and you can guarantee you’ll get back from your run feeling energized and rejuvenated.
But when you first start running, it can be a bit of a struggle. If you’re not used to moving at speed, your body might complain at first and you’ll probably not get much further than 500 meters before you’re desperate for a break. But if you keep at it, you will soon start to feel the benefit and notice your capabilities improve. Before long you’ll see your speed increase and your technique improve and running will become an addiction. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
But if you’re having trouble getting your running habit off the ground, it might be hard to summon up the motivation to get outdoors for a jog around the park when all you want to do is stay in bed. Some people lose interest when they fail to see immediate improvement, but if you stick at it, it won’t be long before you experience the benefit.
To get you started on your running journey, here are ten instant ways to become a better runner.
Set a goal
Having a goal to aim for is the most effective way to motivate yourself to run. Running without a target can make it feel aimless and won’t give you the drive you need to succeed. Your goal will depend on your abilities; you want it to be ambitious and challenging but not beyond your reach. Whether your goal is to run a sun 30-minute 5k or train for a half marathon, setting your sights on this target will give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Enter a race
Take your goal one step further by signing up for a race. Having an organized event to train for will give you that extra burst of motivation to improve. The sense of satisfaction that comes with completing a running race is overwhelming, and you’ll probably get a shiny medal to take home with you as well.
Whether it’s running or playing the violin, getting better at anything requires consistent practice. In short, the more you run, the better you will be at it. Get out there at least a few times a week and it will soon seem like less of a chore. Schedule time in your calendar to go for runs and make it a priority.
Track your stats
It’s hard to tell how well your running training is going unless you have a method of tracking your progress. There are several running apps available that will track data such as your speed, distance, pace, and timings. For more advanced analytics, you could even invest in a running watch, which provides in-depth analysis of things like cadence, heart rate, and calories. This data will enable you to clearly track your improvement.
Do strength training
You might think running is the only training you need in order to be a better runner, but your body will greatly benefit from some additional workouts too. A couple of sessions of strength training each week will do wonders for your running as well as reducing your susceptibility to injury.
Recovery is just as important as activity, and if you are not resting enough you will be more likely to succumb to fatigue or injury. So if you want to avoid needing ankle replacement surgery, it would be a good idea to learn how to stretch before and after runs and make a plan to get more sleep.
Have the right kit
You don’t need to have high-end sportswear or expensive gadgets to be a runner, but you do need to make sure your kit is the right choice for you. Everything you wear should be comfortable and well-fitting. Your shoes are probably the most important item, and it may take some research to find the best pair for your needs.
As a runner, you will need to drink plenty of water to ensure you don’t get dehydrated. Water deficiency makes your heart work harder, so drinking enough will help you to maximize your running performance. Drink plenty before and after a run, and make sure you carry a bottle or bladder with you on longer runs, especially when it’s hot outside.
Proper nutrition is essential for making the most of your running training. As well as drinking plenty of water, you’ll need to make sure your diet contains enough carbohydrates to provide you with the necessary energy. You should be eating protein to help your muscles recover after a strenuous run, and avoid overly fatty and oily foods as these can make you sluggish and lethargic.
Run with friends
If you need something to motivate you to get out there and put the miles in, there are few better methods than calling up a friend and running together. Exercising with company can take your mind off the discomfort and push you to work that little bit harder. Pick a partner who is slightly faster than you, and you’ll get just the kick up the backside you need to improve your running.
With the right techniques and strategies, it is easy for anyone to become a better runner. You don’t need to overcomplicate things with expensive trainers and gadgets; all you need is consistency and motivation. By following these ten tips, you will be much better equipped to be the best runner you can be.