Many students like us try to get into better shape, and the perfect way to start is by lacing up your old running shoes and heading out the front door. But if you aren’t a cross-country veteran, here are some tips to keep you happy and healthy.
Dress the part. Although running is one of the few activities that doesn’t require a bundle of expensive gear, there are a few necessities worth investing in. A good pair of shoes is a prerequisite to beginning your training regimen. Look for a thrifty pair from a reputable brand, and stay away from “minimalist” shoes because your foot muscles need to get strengthened before you are ready for those. As far as clothing goes, get light shorts and shirts that won’t chafe when you’re sweaty and are reflective for night runs.
Keep it low. If you have any experience with aerobic exercises, you probably won’t be out of breath very easily. While this gives you a head start, you may be more susceptible to overuse injuries as a result of your musculoskeletal system not being on par with your lungs. Starting out with a low weekly mileage and then slowly increasing it after your body begins to acclimate will ensure that you keep it consistent.
Do it with friends. In time, the flame of motivation wavers even for the best of us. One easy way to rekindle your passion is to meet up with friends and go run together. Be sure to have a diverse group of with all abilities represented so that you’ll be able to run with a partner regardless of what pace you’re at. It’ll make the run seem less tedious and painful since you will have company, and you might even go faster as your competitive juices get unleashed!
Go outdoors. Sure, treadmills are great. You’re significantly less likely to get mugged if it’s after dark outside, the weather will always be the same, and you can control your pace and inclination. But, you lose the visceral entwining with nature that separates the remarkably simple activity of running with the growing amount of technology involved in sport. Biomechanically, your form gains more efficiency running outdoors than in place, and this may help reduce your risk of injury.
Set a goal. While running for the pure joy of the activity is a Nobel pursuit in its own right, it may be hard to keep up the same motivation without looking backward at your achievements and then forward to a challenge. With running, there are a number of ways to make goals! Most conventionally, it could be beating a specific time (e.g., breaking 20 minutes for a 5k), running a specific distance (e.g., getting your weekly mileage up to 35 by the end of the month), or doing a specific event (e.g., running a marathon). As long as you keep your goal specific and attainable, your training will feel smoother, and you’ll experience unrivaled satisfaction after succeeding.
Keep your diet. Unless you’ve been so inspired by the recent Olympics that you suddenly find yourself topping over 50 miles a week, your diet shouldn’t change all that much. The caloric total may increase a little to compensate for the increased expenditure, but try to resist the temptation to pig out on unhealthy foods. Lastly, be sure to drink more water than before you started training to make sure your body is adequately hydrated.
And with these six simple tips, you’re ready to storm the trails, roads, and bike paths of the world and experience the untold benefits of humanity’s oldest form of exercise!
Article by Robert Potter
Feature Image Source: Greatist