Keeping active is fun, has numerous health and wellbeing benefits, and running is a low-cost way to do it. Maintaining your healthy and active lifestyle is important and there are many things that you can do to ensure that you are able to go for your daily run (or however frequently you train) and continue to improve your performance.
Here is the countdown of our 10 top tips for staying "running fit" so that you can keep on experiencing the many health and emotional benefits of running:
- Cross train. Cross training involves doing different forms of exercise other than running. The benefits are that it builds flexibility, strength and endurance in the muscle groups not typically used in running. Great for all-round fitness, it promotes stability and strength, and thus you are less prone to joint strains and muscle sprains.
- Don’t over train. Rest and recovery are as important as training. When you rest your muscles have time to recover and build new fibres and connections. Your subconscious integrates the skills you have practised so they are easily available next time you train. Pay attention to your body and learn to differentiate between injuries and normal soreness so that you take appropriate rest when necessary.
- Keep hydrated. Water is essential for healthy cartilage. When you become dehydrated your cartilage, which protects your joints from impact, starts to resemble a dried out sponge. If you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Drink at least 500 ml of fluid before during and after exercise sessions. Also drink frequently throughout the day.
- Pay attention to your form. Many injuries are the result of poor techniques. Seek advice from professionals so that you learn correct running techniques from the beginning. The Internet and our blog also have a wealth of information in the form of videos and articles about every sport imaginable – so there are no excuses.
- Build flexibility. The more flexible your muscles then the less likely you are to injure them by overreaching. Build flexibility by stretching before and after exercise. Stretching prepares your muscles for running by lengthening muscle tissue and increasing blood flow and muscle temperature.
- Warm up and cool down properly. A 15 to 20 minute warm up and short stretch prepares your body for exercise by mobilising your joints, warming up and lengthening your muscles, coordinating your movements and preparing your cardiovascular system for exertion. Cooling down by slowly reducing the intensity of your running and performing long stretches helps muscles eliminate toxins that have built up during exercise. It also prevents your muscles from knotting up and becoming stiff.
- Get kitted out properly. The most important item in a runner’s kitbag for runners is a pair of trainers. Choosing the right pair will protect your joints and stabilise your feet when landing. The ideal pair of trainers for you is one that matches the shape of your feet and provides good support for your joints by cushioning your impact on the ground when you run. Find a specialist retailer whose sales assistants are able to offer appropriate advice and recommend a suitable pair of shoes for you.
- Build up your training regime slowly. Avoid making massive or sudden increases in the time you spend running or the distance you cover. Ideally, your incremental progression should not exceed 10% per week. Rapid changes in exercise intensity or duration can lead to overuse injuries due to your body being unable to adapt as quickly.
- Eat right. Good nutrition is the foundation of an effective fitness programme. Eating puts back the nutrition you take out while exercising. If you don’t eat the right nutrients your body is less able to recover from exercise and this can lead to illness and injury. Protein is particular importance for repairing muscles and eating unrefined carbohydrates will provide you with slow-release lease energy to sustain you on those long runs.
- Get a running M.O.T.. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or sports programme. You always see this advice in the small print of adverts or in the instructions for sports equipment. However, like terms and conditions on the Internet, it’s frequently dismissed without due attention. A comprehensive evaluation of your health can identify any underlying issues or potential weaknesses. Knowing what these are will enable you to exercise safely.
And don’t forget that the MYRUN Technogym treadmill helps you maintain your running rhythm by selecting music adapted to your pace, even at its top speed of 20kmh therefore adding even more enjoyment to your exercise routines!
On more thing…and finally a bonus tip. Vary the surface you run on by incorporating exercising on a treadmill into your fitness program. A treadmill gives you a flat surface to run on and also cushions your impact so offers more protection to your joints. You can also vary the speed and incline manually or through a pre-set programme to vary your virtual route.