Running is a great pass time and an ideal way to improve your fitness, your weight and your physical prowess. However while there are many upshots to running, it can also cause you damage and be a difficult way to lose weight if you don’t know precisely what you are doing and if you should make some of the mistakes that other people commonly make. Here we will look at some tips that can help you to get more from your running and avoid causing any damage to your joints or getting generally just bored.
Choose Minimalistic Shoes
Minimalistic shoes are those that don’t have huge heels. The most famous minimalistic shoes are without a doubt the Vibram Five Fingers, which are shoes that look like ‘gloves’ for the feet complete with toe holes and a complete lack of any sole. You don’t have to go that far though, as you can get something similar with Brooks Free Flow or any number of other ‘minimalistic’ shoes – just as the guy in your shoe shop.
Run on the Balls of Your Feet
And this is the reason you want those minimalistic shoes – they encourage you to run on the balls of your feet which is essentially how we are designed to run, how we evolved, and the best way to avoid getting knee pains or shin splints as a result.
Run on Grass
If you are still struggling with various pains when going for runs, then try spending some time off of the tarmac and more time on the grass. Doing this will enable you to get more natural padding and again it’s more similar to the way we used to run in the wild.
Make it Fun
Your chances of going regularly for runs is directly related to how fun you make running and how interesting. In short if you are running on the treadmill for an hour at a time then you’re sure to get bored and it will be hard to motivate yourself. Better then is to run outdoors – and to explore your local area, give yourself a challenge, or set out with a purpose (such as visiting a friend or buying something). This way you can make running much more interesting.
If you are struggling to carry on, using visualization can help. This way you can imagine for instance that you’re being chased by a lion, or that you’re having to chase after a car or generally that something more interesting is going on that can help to motivate you.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress is important as a way to encourage yourself to continue to improve. One of the best ways to do this is by using an app on your phone – consider using Endomondo for instance which will track your progress on a map as well as allowing you measure your time, calories burned and average pace.
Manage Your Energy
You need to think of yourself as similar to a car, and as having to run in an ‘eco friendly’ manner that conserves energy. This means making sure you top up at the right points – with good quality fuel (complex carbs) and that you run faster downhill than up etc.
Mark Taylor specializes in fitness training, exercise modality and flexibility training. He shares his fitness advice on Bikes.org.uk. You can also follow him on twitter @ukbikes or Google+