You know that running is good for you, but running is also hard. If you aren’t already in shape, it’s even harder. How can you find the motivation to run if it makes you feel worn out and weak every time you try?
In reality, learning how to become a better runner isn’t complicated if you take the right steps. Most people aren’t able to run right away.
If you feel like you’ve been stuck at the starting line for far too long, we’re here to help. Keep reading for our top tips for becoming a better runner.
If you’re new to running, or you’ve been running for a while and you still can’t find your stride, go back to the beginning and start slow. It might feel frustrating, but you can’t start sprinting or running long-distance right from the get-go. If you’re struggling, stick with the basics.
When we say start slow, we mean it. Start by taking slow strides. You’re going to be going slower than you think you should be (and it might feel a bit like you’re trying to walk on the moon).
As time goes on, you’ll be able to move to a swift jog. Then you’ll find a steady running pace. Remember, this isn’t a race; you can take your time.
Always Warm Up First
Speaking of starting slow, make sure that you warm up before you start jogging, especially if it’s cold outside. A quick warm-up will get your blood pumping and prepare your legs for the run.
There are several things that you can do to warm up. You can do jumping jacks, jump rope, no-weight squats, or anything else that gets your legs moving. You can even just take a brief walk before you start to speed up.
If you don’t warm up before you run, you might set yourself up for a serious injury, which would further set back your running journey.
Pick The Right Shoes
Did you know that your running shoes might be setting you back?
The right running shoes vary based on the runner. Some people love barefoot-style shoes, even the ones with the toes. Others like a bit more padding in the bottom.
Some people even like running in flat skate shoes, though this is less common.
If you’re struggling to run and you feel a lot of pain after your running attempts, try to learn more about how running shoes can impact your ability to run. That way, you can find the best running shoes for you as soon as possible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Breaks
As a new or returning runner, it’s tempting to try to go all out. Taking breaks might feel like a failure, but it isn’t. It will help you keep going.
There are various ways to take breaks. If you’re already running at a decent pace, slowing down to a jog is a great way to take an active break. If you’re going slower, slowing down to a walk is also fine!
If you’re really tired, it’s okay to stand in place or even sit down if you’re able to. Overexerting yourself can cause you to burn out too quickly, and you may find that you’re too tired to run the next day.
Do Other Exercises
Some people think that running is all they have to do. In reality, it’s helpful to do other exercises to supplement your journey.
So what should you do?
Consider lifting weights. You don’t have to be a powerlifter, but strength training for your legs is a great way to give yourself a stronger stride.
It’s also a good idea to incorporate exercises that support your core. This will improve your posture while you run. You can do core-based strength exercises or even lighter exercises like yoga or pilates. There are even runner-specific yoga videos online.
Remember, running exercises aren’t just running.
Stretch After Every Session
Never forget the importance of stretching after a run, no matter how short it is. This is one of the most important running tips that we have to offer.
When you don’t stretch, your muscles don’t get to relax. You may end up with more soreness the next day and over time, you may discover that you’re less flexible than you were when you started running.
There are plenty of post-run stretches that can keep your muscles loose. Consider quad stretches, calf stretches, and hip stretches like butterflies. You can even do lunges if they’re slow.
When in doubt, this is another great time to incorporate a yoga video.
Track Your Progress
One of the toughest parts of training is feeling as though you aren’t making any progress. Unless you have a medical condition, though, it’s likely that you are making progress, even if it’s slow.
There are a few ways that you can track your progress, depending on your priorities.
Some people measure their progress by distance. They may track their miles or the path that they’ve run. If this appeals to you, pick a location that you want to run to and then pick a further distance when you’re ready to advance.
You can also track your time. If you’re going for speed, figure out how long it takes for you to get a specific point and make a note of shorter times.
If you’re going for longevity, time your runs and see how long you’re able to keep going. It’s great to use a playlist or podcast for this if the idea of a timer doesn’t appeal to you.
That’s How to Become a Better Runner: Slow and Steady
Figuring out how to become a better runner is a trial-and-error process. You won’t get immediate results, but if you’re patient, you’ll discover that you’re running faster and for longer distances as time goes on.
Don’t assume that running isn’t for you. Cardio is tough at first, but if you keep going, you might find that you enjoy it.
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