These running tips are for beginners and for seasoned pros. Find your starting line in these running tips to optimize your benefits of running.
- 1. See your doctor before you start a running program or any new workout routines, particularly if you are a smoker or overweight. Regardless of age, it is wise to get a checkup to make sure you are not at risk due to muscle, skeletal or cardiovascular problems. You may even want to get a cardiovascular stress test to establish your current fitness level.
- Transition slowly, especially if you are starting a beginner workout, have not exercised for some time or have never followed running workout routines before. Start off cautiously, with lower level exercise such as walking, before you begin to progress over a number of weeks into more running and less walking.
- Use other forms of exercise if you are prone to injury to get yourself back into the swing of regular exercise in your workout routines. Avoid injury by doing "cross-training" activities such as cycling, swimming, snowshoeing or using cardio machines in the gym such as the stationary bike, elliptical machine, rowing machine and stair-stepper.
- Benefits of running using a treadmill and/or running outside: For the average person, running 6-9 mph on a health-club-quality treadmill, the difference between running on a treadmill and running outside is slight, perhaps nonexistent. Some studies show no difference at all between treadmill and outdoor running; other research shows outdoor running burns 3 to 5 percent more calories. What accounts for the small difference? The treadmill belt does some of the work by helping pull your feet back underneath your body. When you run on a treadmill, you also don't have to overcome wind resistance.
- Put the weight on with weight lifting workout routines. Research shows that runners who don't lift weights lose muscle at the same rate as sedentary people do—about 30 percent from age 30 to 70. However, people who lift weights regularly in their workout routines can preserve most of their muscle mass throughout life. This means they maintain a higher metabolism and are less prone to weight gain.
- Increase the benefits of running with fartleks
Swedish for "speed play," fartleks are meant to be fun (remember, it's speed play). To do them, simply vary your pace based on guidelines that you make up. For example, after a warm-up, pick a tree in the distance and run fast (not all out) until you get there. Jog again until you pick out something else—yellow house or traffic light—and run fast to it. Repeat for 5 to 10 minutes, then run normally for 5 to 10 minutes and cool down. Work up to 20 to 30 minutes or longer once a week.
- Increase the benefits of running with stride drills
Most people think running is all about putting one foot in front of the other quickly; but there is technique involved—it encompasses your stride, posture, arm swing, and even how you carry your head—and simply going fast or far (or both) won't help you improve it. These drills (do them once a week) will help create a more efficient and powerful stride. After warming up, do each of the following workout routines for 30 to 60 seconds: Run while lifting your knees as high as you can. Next, exaggerate your running stride so that you bound as far as you can with each step (you'll go slower than your normal pace). Finish by running with tiny baby steps (one foot directly in front of the other). Repeat the series two or three times, then run normally for as long as you want and cool down (or just do these drills on their own).
- Increase benefits of running with long runs
Building endurance is just as important as improving your speed and technique in your workout
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