You just started running or are planning on it? Today, I’m sharing 12 essential running tips with you, that I wish I had known when I first started running a few years ago. What I really love about running, is the quick success. It’s so motivating to see how you can improve your performance from week to week and it’s super fun to go to your limits. The nice side effect: a free head and a healthy mind! Yep, you heard right: running is not only great for our bodies, it also has an amazing impact on our mind and mental health. Especially after a stressful and intense day, running is the perfect balance for me. So, for all of you who want to start running or already do, here are 12 important tips and tricks that have helped me and still do:
1. Use a running app
To track and analyze your runs exactly, I recommend using a running app. There are plenty of free apps. Personally, I use Runtastic, since it’s easy, has a nice design and great tracking tools. Especially when you’re working towards a goal like improving your pace etc., running apps are very useful. It’s like a running diary with statistics. You can see all your activities of the week or month and see how much you improved.
2. Set a goal
When I started with running a few years ago, I set 5 km as my first goal and I worked weeks on that. Today, 5 km doesn’t sound so much, but when you start running, you first have to find your own rhythm and running style, which needs time and endurance. But even when I hit the 5 km mark – I never stopped setting new goals. Currently, my goal is to run a total of 25 km each week (100 km) per month. And after that? Who knows, maybe I’m going to sign up for a half marathon. Never stop setting goals! Challenges are a great motivation.
3. Do not save on the equipment
The right equipment is essential to your running success. Particular attention should be paid on your running shoes. When I started with running a few years ago, I had some bad experiences with running shoes. Each foot has different needs and requires individual advice from an expert. The best way to find out which running shoe you need is to go to a sports store and ask for help. Many sports stores even offer a running analysis, which is very useful. The most important thing is definitely the grip in your running shoes, as well as good suspensions to protect your joints. Regarding sportswear, you should make sure that the fabric is not too tight but also not too loosely. I prefer to work out in running leggings and cotton shirt. When it’s a little chilly outside I always take a light jacket with me, like the one is the pictures from Ivy Park.
4. Find out what running atmosphere works best for you
This is especially important when you just started with running. You have to find out which running atmosphere you like best. Do you like to run in company or alone? Do you prefer running in a park or on the streets? Do you like to listen to music, audio books or nothing at all? Try everything out once and see what works best for you and your performance. Personally, I like to run with music, especially when it’s all about speed. But when I work on my basic endurance I also like to listen to audio books or podcast. I love running in the park, but I don’t mind to run on streets every now and then. What about you?
5. The right nutrition before and after running
The number one rule is: don’t ever eat a heavy meal before you go for a run. The result will be abdominal cramps and stitches because you’re body is busy with digestion. In addition, it can quickly cause nausea, which of course is very uncomfortable during a run.
Our body can easily handle a 40-60 minute run without hydration in between. However, it is super important that you hydrate before and after your run. Avoid soft drinks, ice cold water or anything with gas before your workout.
7. Run regularly
As a beginner, you should try to run two or three times a week. You will see, how fast your performance gets better and how you’ll improve your runing level every single week. Make running your routine and do it regularly. The more regular you run, the smaller becomes your inner bitch.
8. Distract yourself with imaginary planning
You know that feeling when time just won’t pass by and you want to give up, right? Me, too! Especially on days, where I have to kick my ass to go for a run. But what I do to stick to running is super simple: I’m planning things in my head. That can be the next vacation, your grocery shopping list, gift ideas for upcoming birthdays, blog articles or recipes that I want to cook. It’s amazing, how fast time passes when you have a topic to think about.
9. Let your body regenerate
Even if you have the power and stamina to run 10 km 7 days a week, you should definitely keep in mind, that your body needs breaks in order to regenerate. Without regeneration, your body is much more susceptible to injuries and heavy legs. Always keep in mind: regeneration is an equally important part of your training, like the running is. One builds on the other.
10. Listen to your body
Even if you want to push yourself further and further to run all that extra miles and to improve your performance from run to run, you should never forget to listen to your body. If you have muscle or joint pain persistent stitch or anything that doesn’t feel normal and hurts, you should definitely rest. Trust your gut and allow your body to take a break when it needs it. You don’t have to do nothing. If walking feels better that day, then take a nice long walk instead of a run.
11. Have fun while running
Even if you exercise for a race or to improve your pace or for weight loss: don’t forget to have fun while running. Learn to love running and enjoy every single second of it. Go out, breath in the fresh air, smile and look forward to your run – irrespective of your performance. Have fun – it will positively affect your results!
12. Take your time after a run
Don’t end your run abruptly. Stroll for two minutes to reach your normal pulse, stretch and take some deep breaths. Meditation and Yoga are also great to come down after an intense workout.