Whether you're just starting out, or you're a seasoned runner - you can never have enough running tips. From warming up, to cooling down - we've got you covered with tips for runners!
Prepping Your Gear
Take the first step (pun absolutely intended) by preparing for your new hobby with the right gear! The right products can make a big difference in your performance, recovery time, and prevent accidental injury. For example, the wrong pair of running shoes can cause injuries from blisters or shin splints, to more serious injuries like a sprain or fracture. If possible, find a local running store and have a professional help you find the perfect pair of running shoes for your terrain, skill level, and gait. If you can’t make it into a running store, check out this article to learn about why different aspects of running shoes are important, and how to choose the right pair for your needs!
While we're talking about gear for your feet, we had to add a shameless plug for our favorite running socks - of course they're Stegos! The type of socks you’re wearing while running can impact your performance just as much as your shoes do. By running in socks that are not optimized for the activity, you can cause issues like Athlete’s foot, blisters, and more. We recommend running in socks that are a synthetic or Merino wool blend. These fibers will help wick moisture away from your feet, prevent bacteria build up and keep any moist fabric from rubbing against your skin and causing blistering. By choosing socks that are made for running, you’ll get added benefits of features made to support runners like reinforced landing area, arch support, and rear-tab cuffs.
Now that your feet are covered, let’s talk about the rest of your body! Depending on if you’re running indoors or outdoors, and depending on your climate, what you wear while running may be different from what other runners are sporting. Similar to your socks, we recommend that you run in garments made with performance materials, like a synthetic or wool-blend fabric. This will help you keep cool and comfortable while you're working up a sweat. If you’re running in direct sunlight or if it’s hot outside, remember that more coverage can sometimes work in your favor! By running in a lightweight, long-sleeved performance top, the moisture wicking-fabric will help keep your upper body cool and you'll get more protection from the sun’s harmful rays. You’ll also want some head, neck, and eye protection while running outside on a sunny day. For running in cooler weather or indoors, dress for your temperature once you start running (probably hotter than you are while getting dressed). Outdoor cold-weather runners need more specific garments to protect themselves from the elements – check out this guide!
Don’t forget the technology! Tracking your distance and pace can tell you a lot about your progress (plus, you can’t forget the running tunes!) If you're just starting out on a budget, you can download an app on your smartphone for running. Or, if you’re willing to spend a little more on running gear, you can use a smartwatch to track your progress, heart rate, and even GPS location!
Setting Your Schedule
The best way to get better at running is to set a schedule and stick to it. By establishing a habit and routine, you’ll find it easier to get out for a run (even when you’d rather be lounging around instead). Routines will differ based on your fitness and experience level. For those new to running, set your schedule to something a bit easier, like a 20 minute run, four days a week. From there, you can slowly work your way up to a longer distance or more frequent runs. When you’re ready for more, increase your distance or time, not both at the same time! This will help your body to adjust as you change your schedule.
If you’re a beginner, it’s important to take it slow at first - running too long or fast when you’re starting out can lead to over-exertion or injury. Your body needs time to adjust to this new habit that you’re forming. Check out this running program that provides a great guide for beginners. Remember, it’s okay to set small goals for yourself when you begin - as your body gets used to running, you can set larger goals!
A good place to start is with a walk/run interval routine – no need to strictly run while you’re out there getting your stamina up! An example of a beginner’s interval routine could be running for 1 - 2 minutes, then walking for 2 – 3 minutes, and repeat! Over time, once you get more comfortable running, you can increase the running interval, and decrease the walking interval. Keep this up until you can run for 20 – 30 minutes at a time without walking. Need help managing these intervals? There are some great apps that will queue you to run or walk!
Warming Up & Cooling Down
Warmup and cool down are just as important as the run itself! It’s important to prep and care for your muscles and joints when doing a higher intensity workout like running. By properly warming up and cooling down, you can prevent injury and even promote muscle growth!
Start your warmup with gentle leg stretches. Once you’re geared up, take a few moments to reach down toward your toes while standing with your legs hip-width apart - this will help your hamstrings loosen up. You can also do quad stretches with each leg by standing on one leg and pulling the opposite heel toward your glute (repeat on each side). Lunges, squats, and side lunges are also great for warm up stretches! Be sure to hold each stretch for a few seconds.
Once you’ve stretched, it’s time to get that heart rate up and ready for the workout! A few rounds of high knees, jumping jacks, or side to sides will help get your blood pumping. From there, you should do 2 – 3 minutes of walking. From walking, you can work up to a jog, and then into your run!
After your run, it’s important to cool down and stretch. This routine will help to improve your flexibility, decrease soreness, and prevent injury. One great way to cool down is to do your warmup routine, just in reverse! Slow your walk to a jog, then walk for 2 –3 minutes. Then you’re ready for post-run stretches! Foam rolling is also a great way to get a deeper stretch, recover, and prevent injuries. Check out these easy instructions on how to foam roll your legs.
Don't be intimidated by running! If you're interested in running, give it a try. As long as you’re prepared and follow the right training steps, running can be a healthy and rewarding activity!
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