Written by Lindsey Marx | Last Updated November 11th, 2019Lindsey is passionate about healthy living in all aspects of life. She enjoys the outdoors, loves to travel, and especially loves to dance.
It can be so hard to convince yourself to go for a run. Do you struggle to wake up early to work out? Does the idea of running make you feel dissuaded to even go? Do you feel exhausted after you run? Use these following tips to help you increase your desire to run and improve your running techniques.
1. Warm up your muscles
So many people think this step can be skipped, but it really can’t. When you warm up before a run, you are warning your muscles that they are about to be worked. It helps to prevent injuries and cramps as you run. In fact, common shin splints can be avoided by a good warm up. Think about it. Professional athletes and Olympians all spend a good 30–45 minutes, or even more, warming up their bodies to perform well and take care of it. This prevents injuries and can help your body to recover quickly.
2. Stretch thoughtfully
This is totally different from warming up. Stretching occurs after your run. NEVER stretch before a run or before you warm up. You will injure your muscles and cause more harm than is good. Stretching only helps after your body is tired and warm from exercise. Dancers are the best example of stretching. They never stretch until after they have had a hard workout and their muscles can lengthen and relax to increase flexibility. Even people who practice yoga don’t stretch until after they have warmed up to prevent injury and pulling muscles.
So when should you stretch? Stretch after you finish running. Wait for you heart rate to calm down to a normal rate, and then stretch. Try to hold each position for at least 30 seconds. As a runner and professional dancer, I know that stretching for 30 seconds to about 2 minutes in each position will do your body a world of good. Stretching allows the blood flow to reach all parts of the muscle to nourish it after it has been exhausted and to allow it to stretch and increase in flexibility, much like a rubber band.
3. Listen to music or talk with a friend
Most people cannot run without a little motivation. Even as you train for a 5k, it is important to take your mind off of the pain in your legs, lungs, and/or heart. To do this, listen to music or talk with a friend. Talking with a friend is one of the best things you can do to monitor your breathing and heart rate. As you run, you want to make sure that you can keep a conversation, but you arent able to sing because you are pushing yourself so much. But not too much. Music is often very motivating and can take your mind off of the run. Some people really enjoy listening to podcasts and presentations to learn something new while they run. Even for training, many people will watch netflix or a movie as they train on machines. Whatever it is that you are doing, make sure to keep your mind busy and off of the pain as you run.
4. Create a support system
Support means everything and can even give you adrenaline rushes. Even if it is just a friend or sibling, invite someone to support you on your next run. Having them there will inspire you and encourage you to perform well and make it through to the end so that you feel accomplished. It is much easier to have determination to finish when you have support.
5. Nourish your body
I can’t run on an empty or a full stomach, so I try to eat about an hour and a half before my runs. This way I have energy and it is digested so I don’t get cramps while I run. The night before your a big run, like a 5K, eat carbs to help your body preserve energy and help for the recovery following the run. The carbs will give your body the energy it needs so you don’t collapse during the run.
6. Take your vitamins
Believe it or not, vitamins are actually a huge part of running. Multivitamins, provide increased nutrition and mineral needs. Many people actually suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Make sure to take your vitamins for better results, and to feel better overall. Vitamin B specifically helps your body turn food into energy so you wont feel as exhausted when you're running and training.