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Do This, Not That for Runners

important tips for runnersAs a runner, you’ve probably learned a lot about how to get the most out of your workout, avoid injury, and make the experience enjoyable. However, many runners still make mistakes when heading out for a jog – errors that can lead to aches and pains, injuries, or other issues that take the fun out of the sport. Fine-tune your running routine with a few “Do This, Not That” tips developed especially for runners.

Instead of fretting about the cost of running shoes, Do This:

The next time you buy running shoes, shell out the extra money for two pairs. Research has shown that “runners who had greater variability in their foot strike were less likely to be injured.”  Make sure to check local and online ads for specials – especially a buy-one-get-one-free sale. It’s recommended that you replace shoes for every 500 miles that you run or walk. This is one of those important tips for runners that many forget about.

Instead of clock-watching on a cardio machine as you trudge at the same pace, Do This:

Try interval training or varying your workout every few minutes. On the treadmill, raise and lower the incline level; on an elliptical, reverse your stride or focus on arms vs. legs every so often. Mentally, it will help you get through your workout, and it’s great from the physical side as well.

Instead of burning out by starting your run too fast, Do This:

Plan your workout so that it’s split into equal intervals of heavy and light. You sabotage your endurance if you start off blazing out, even if you’re caught up in an adrenaline rush. Your body runs more efficiently when you allow slower periods, so avoid outpacing yourself early.

Instead of separating your workout into stretching and running, Do This:

It’s absolutely necessary to get your muscles ready for a run, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a half hour stretching beforehand. Use 5-10 minutes of your run to warm up your muscles with an easy pace that doesn’t get you too winded; then, speed up for your normal routine. Not only do you save valuable time, but it’s better to stretch your muscles after they’ve warmed up. Use the time after your workout to focus on flexibility and core work.

Instead of dragging yourself to the couch after a long run, Do This:

Your body needs time to recover after a strenuous run for two reasons:

  1. To fuel up on lost nutrients
  2. To circulate oxygen around muscles and tissues

As such, make sure to get proper nutrition after a run, including the right mix of carbs and protein. Of course, you also need to drink plenty of water – before, during and after a run. Also, you need to cool down to allow muscles to recover. Stretching and light cardio will often do the trick because these activities deliver essential oxygen and carry waste away from muscle tissue.

So there you go, a few important tips for runners that can make a big impact, right away.