Running is an excellent form of cardio exercise. Whether you’re running on the treadmill at home or taking advantage of the nice weather outside, a 30 minute or longer run has positive impacts not only on your body but mentally as well. However, before hitting the trails, there are a few things to keep in mind to get the best results. Here are five preparation tips for newer and seasoned runners to get the most out of their run:
Stretching is the single most important aspect of any workout, including running. Regardless if you’re running as a workout or casually, stretching your muscles is critical. It allows your muscles to stay flexible, healthy, and strong – which will be needed to maintain a range of motion in your joints. Skipping out on stretching will make your muscles short and tight, which can cause complications in the short and long term.
Where you choose to run will impact the results of your run. Terrain is much better to run and walk on than pavement due to the ground being softer and providing more give on your legs. An area with hills will also help build strength and endurance. If you are limited to indoor running, try to run on a treadmill that inclines to simulate running uphill.
What you wear while you run impacts your performance. Wearing proper running shoes will not only help prevent foot injuries but leg injuries as well. Sweating is also something to consider as it’s your body’s natural cooling system. Many shirts will trap sweat and keep your body hot – affecting your performance. Shirts with moisture management are ideal as it absorbs sweat from your skin and wicks it away – keeping your body cool so you can perform your best.
Running on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Your body won’t have the nutrients it needs to create energy, which will cause you to feel lightheaded and ill. Be sure to eat something 30 minutes prior to running so your body can burn calories and give you energy.
Not only is it important to hydrate while running, but also prior to running. You should drink 16oz of water at least 30 – 60 minutes prior to running to keep your body hydrated. Remember that chugging that water won’t help keep your body hydrated, as it needs time to absorb the water. Post-run hydration should primarily be water as well, as sugary sports drinks can dehydrate you.