Let’s talk about running. Oh, man. You know how I feel about this one! I’ve only recently been getting back into shape. And it’s important to me to become a better runner, for my physical and mental wellbeing. Most days, I feel AMAZING. I feel healthier, and I even have more energy throughout the day. But in general, it can be tough to get myself started. Just to pull my hair up, tie my shoes, and get outdoors.
And… I have a feeling I’m not alone on this one! Step one: let’s be honest with ourselves, right? For most of us, we hate running. It’s true! But we do it anyway. After all, there’s no denying that post-workout thrill you get when you cool down with a cold bottle of water and head for the shower.
So, I want to share a few lifestyle tips that might make the running process better for you! Feel healthier and more motivated, and reach those goals—whatever they may be. Becoming a better runner isn’t about counting steps or tracking your diet down to your every calorie intake. It’s actually so much simpler than that. Let’s keep it real!
1) Dress the part
Trust me on this one. Let’s not laugh at fashion when it comes to exercise. The right gear can totally serve as motivation! I’ve found that when I put on workout clothes that I love, I’m more excited to get out and run. I feel empowered! It’s that simple. he perfect fitting running leggings, and a cute sports bra certainly don’t hurt the equation. So, find a workout outfit or two that you love, and put them on first thing in the morning. Then, you’ll be ready to start your day with a run—no excuses!
Supportive sneakers are the first step (literally) to getting a great run in. Your shoes will make or break your run so make sure you find some that are supportive and comfortable for you. The Adidas Pureboost are currently the one’s I am giving a test run (lol). I love the comfort of the extra boost– it feels like each stride is less harsh and it actually propels me forward a bit.
2) Always, always breakfast
Let’s not skip out on breakfast. If you’re going to hit the road, track, or gym, breakfast is required. After all, your legs and body will thank you if you’ve properly fueled up ahead of time. Carbohydrates are great before a run because they will help give you the energy to push yourself even farther.
3) Make a race plan
Sign up for 5k. Print out a pre-planned week-by-week running schedule. Or, if you want to train for a half-marathon, for example, all the power to ya! Thousands of accessible running calendars are available out there. Just follow along, and you’ll increase your distance gradually.
I’ve found that if I have a plan, or at least a charity race coming up on my calendar, it’s easier to get outside and go running. Nothing is quite as motivating as a deadline!
4) Find a pal
Running only gets easier with consistency. Sorry! I know. It’s tough to stick to a routine. Luckily, a running buddy can totally help with this. Personally, I like to run to music. Especially when you’re just getting back into shape, it can feel impossible to hold a conversation when you’re just trying to get keep up your pace and breathe. So, I can’t run side-by-side someone else every day of the week.
But, even a once-a-week run with a friend can help me stick to a schedule. Hey, at least, that’s one day I know someone else can hold me accountable. If anything, it feels more exciting to hang out with a friend than to hit the trail solo.
5) Stretch it out
As you get more and more into your running routine, you’ll definitely start to feel your muscles tighten. And that’s ok! As I’m working on becoming a better runner, I’m realizing one major thing: Stretching. Is. Necessary. There’s no way around it!
I try to devote 10 minutes post-run to stretch out my legs. And, I’m certainly not opposed to a yoga class now and then to balance out the cardio. One or two yoga classes a week can do wonders to help me stretch out these sore muscles.
6) Cross training: It’s not so scary!
Whether you’re working toward long-distance endurance, faster sprints, or just all-around fitness and wellbeing (like me), cross training should most definitely be a part of your routine. But. Don’t get me wrong! This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for Cross Fit or hire a personal trainer. I mean… if you want to, that’s up to you!
My suggestion? Keep things simple with some floor exercises. Cross training is really just about strengthening your muscles to better support your body when you run. That means wall-sits, squats, and stair-climbers to boost your booty and thighs. And, crunches, sit-ups, and planks will work those abs.
Then, work your side-body with side planks and bicycle crunches. And—we’re not finished yet!—throw in some push-ups. (Just start with your knees on the floor!) Tired yet? ME, TOO. But that’s the kind of post-workout exhaustion that’s going to push you even further and faster on your next run. You got this!
7) Cut yourself some slack
Even the most serious runners take a day off. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Isn’t that how it goes?
So, if you want to become a better runner, you’ll have to know how to kick your feet up and relax sometimes, too. (Fortunately, I’ve got this one down to a tee, no problem!)
When you take the day off, make sure you do some stretches. Maybe kick your legs up the wall for an inversion. Show your body some love, and your legs will carry you even further the next day. Just remember: Long. Term Goals. Don’t worry about the day-to-day. In the long run, you’ll see the results. And you’ll feel ah-mazing every time you round out a run. Promise.