Hit the ground running with the right prep.
When it comes to relationships in my life, I prefer them to be black and white. When it comes to my union with running however… well, it’s complicated. My love affair with this activity began in my teens and we have been dating on and off since. Somehow I always find myself turning to this form of cardio as it is convenient to do practically anywhere especially for those who travel like myself, it can be done indoors or outside, you only need a well fitting pair of running shoes, not to mention the many benefits that come along with doing it. Most importantly there is nothing that compares to the feeling of the “runner’s high” and the sense of accomplishment after a stellar run. While any one of these characteristics makes it an ideal exercise to turn to, finding the motivation to do it regularly is not for the faint of heart.
As much of a fit nut as I am, there are days when even I find it painstakingly hard to start. I’ve come to a point where I never actually set out to run. Why set myself up for failure, right? What always ends up happening though is that I begin to do a power walk and then something inside kicks in and I start jogging and then end up going into a full-blown run.
And then there are the times when I start, and find it incredibly difficult to want to keep going. Hence why I love running… sometimes. This is why I go through periods of running every day then we take a break for a while until I start missing it and we end up back together. I ran my first 5km last year and have done a few races since. I’m happy to say lately, I’ve been upping my running game consistently. I have yet to find another cardio workout that allows me the same experience of mindful meditation. The time I devote to running is catered to whatever I need it to be that day: my happy drug, my therapy, my boardroom, my vision board, my inspiration or my release. Running, like a good partner, always comes through.
That’s not to say like any relationship, that we haven’t had our ups and downs. Aside from the breaks, I have endured a few significant injuries along the way. Through it all, I have realized that the key to maintaining a blissful union with the sport lies in preparation. Therefore I have compiled a list for y’all of my top tips for the best run possible.
5 Tips For a Great Run
- A Good Warm-Up and Cool Down: 5 mins of a dynamic stretch like walking before hand and 5 mins of stretches afterwards should do the trick.
- Hydration and Fuel: Water and energy from food are imperative for optimal performance. A general rule of thumb is to drink about 20oz of water about 2 hours before your run. If you are running for more than 45 to 60 minutes then you will want to incorporate a drink with minerals to replenish the electrolytes you lose during exercise. I like Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator. As for food eat between 150-400 calories of complex carbs and a bit of protein about 1.5 hours prior to your run. Also, refueling afterwards is important to rebuild your tired muscles. Eating a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein within 30 – 45 mins works well. A smoothie with a plant-based protein powder is a delicious option and I am a fan of InnerJ Super Krisps and raw energy bars.
- Proper Running Shoes: This is a critical element for a comfortable workout and to avoid injuries. It is an investment worth every penny. If you are unsure of what to look for, most major athletic retailers can do an assessment with you to determine the best fit. Right now I am loving my New Balance 1500v2 for runs.
- Music: This motivator can mean the difference between that extra mile or faster pace, and giving up. I’ve tried running sans music and just don’t feel as inspired as when I do have pumping beats playing.
- Tune In: Listen to your body. Regular muscle-related soreness can occur especially if you are a beginner. However if you are experiencing severe pain, running through it is never a good idea. Go at your own pace and work your way up to longer runs. Interval training with power walks and jogs can be a beneficial solution.
And as always have fun. If you are going to run then it should be something that you love… at least sometimes.