If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I’ve been doing this running thing for a while now. While it actually started off as a fun and easy exercise to do – plus it’s free really, I have to admit that it’s not without the many little complications that I did come across during my journey into running.
When I first started it was all about just getting out there, and it was more of a walk and jog than a run really. Summer really pushed me to get out there a lot more and really, why not when I get to run along the beach! Usually I would run about 4.5km and it wasn’t until this year that I pushed the next limit to 5km and now slowly building up to hit the 10km mark. And sh*t just got serious because I’m now running with a trainer once a week to help with my technique, pace and reaching the goal of 10km.
How Easy Is Running?
But, how easy is running really? Is it all about just getting out there and going for it? In most cases, yes it is. You just put on some runners, and run. Or jog. Whichever you’re more comfortable with, and build it from there. You set yourself some goals and this could be in the form of setting a pace you want to reach, which I did earlier this year. Or it could be to not stop and walk while you’re running, which is what I’m currently trying to achieve, while still reaching the 10km goal.
Honestly, to run without stopping is no easy feat. There are a few things you would need to keep in mind but, before I share with you what I’ve learned, here are some basic things you would need just to get into running.
What You Need To Run
Good running shoes – seems silly to have this on the list, but I actually got myself fitted professionally for a pair of running shoes that suited the way I walked and the shape of my feet. The wrong shoes can actually do more harm than good in the long run. For instance, if you have wide feet and got a pair that were not wide enough, you would end up hurting your feet. Sometimes, it could be your arch, which could then hurt your calves when you run and in the end cause other sort of problems. I’m actually speaking from experience. Now I wear orthopedic inserts as I have a pretty low arch and while I had to pay through the nose for a pair of shoes that fit well too, it was worth not having to endure the pain while running in my previous pair.
Comfortable running gear – if you’re not going to be doing some “serious” running then you can skip those compression wear that are known to provide ergogenic benefits like enhancing the removal of lactic acid while running and reducing muscle oscillation. Make sure your running leggings and/shorts fit well and if you’re running in colder weather, make sure you layer up so that you can easily remove the layers as you run when your body temperature rises.
Tips For Better Running
Now on to some tips I’ve picked up while learning how to run. And I say learning because that is what I’m doing at the moment; learning the simple things that help make running easier.
How you breathe is important – while breathing is yet another common sense thing to do while you… well, get about your day, there is a technique to breathing while you’re running to help facilitate enough oxygen for your body to be able to have the energy to push on. Breathing isn’t just about letting in air into your chest, you need to breathe in through your nose and breathe in deep into your diaphragm, and then expel through your mouth. You need all the oxygen you can get into your body to produce enough energy to keep moving. That is something that doesn’t come easily to some – even me. My trainer notices that I breathe in and just stop at my chest, therefore not letting enough oxygen into my body, which makes me breathless and feel a lot weaker, quicker.
Posture – Just like walking, your posture can also affect your running. Usually when you’re tired, you will tend to lean forward, which can affect how you carry yourself. Try slowing down your pace but keep your chest up, posture straight and head looking straight ahead. Lift your legs off the ground instead of dragging it – something you would also tend to automatically do when you get tired. Go slower instead.
Stretching before running – This is where the foam roller comes in handy. Help loosen your calf muscles before a run by using a foam roller, which also helps to reduce any injuries. I picked up some simple calf stretches on YouTube. They do help relax my calf muscles and lessen the pain that usually occurs when I run. This particular video I’ve shared below has some really good tips for your feet too!
Stretching after running – yet another important factor is to stretch AFTER running as well. Your calf muscles and hamstrings would often be tight after running, so best to help it relax and recover.
Hydrate – Remember to keep yourself hydrated while you’re running too. Use those as your “breaks”, which is what I do. These are quick breaks from running while you hydrate your body.
Those are just some of the tips I’ve picked up so far and they have helped improve the way I run as well as the recovery my body needs afterwards. I am still learning how to breathe properly and slowing down my pace to last the longer distance, without stopping to walk. It’s getting better, and I know I”ll get there.
Are you a runner too? Or have you started running as part of your exercise routine? Would love to hear about your journey and if you have any tips that you’d like to share.