Quick Tips to Hone Your Runner’s Zone
When you’re just starting out as a runner, it’s always a good idea to get to know the pros, the long-timers who’ve picked up all the useful knowledge. They can tell you all the wheres, whys and hows, what gear to buy and how to train to achieve your goals.
In this excerpt from “15 Running Tips You Need to Know”, originally published on Health magazine, Alyssa Shaffer gives the top tips to help you run like a pro. Here are eight.
8 Running Tips to Make it More Fun and More Effective
Hang around serious runners enough and you’ll pick up a few tidbits – how to pace yourself, which routes have the cleanest bathrooms, what to wear when the weather is changing more rapidly than a Twitter feed. We asked coaches, trainers, nutritionists and veteran runners to share their strategies. Steal them to run longer, feel lighter and stay injury-free.
1. Run Every Day
Consistency is key to a successful program. A daily run helps improve your body’s ability to burn fat, along with your biomechanics. It also teaches your mind to blast through any challenge, whether it’s physical or mental.
2. Stay Positive
Finish runs feeling strong and happy, not worn out. It’ll keep you coming back for more and help you reduce injury risk.
3. Find Your Sweet Spot
Write down your workouts, then color-code how they made you feel: yellow for amazing, orange for just OK and red for total crap. It’s a visual way of seeing how your body responds and will help you pick up patterns. Here are a couple runner’s journals to check out:
Gaiam Fit Plan for Running
Believe Training Journal
Runner’s World Training Journal
Or, use one of the fitness apps to help you easily track your progress. Life Hacker lists their top five best smartphone running apps.
4. Layer Less
Always dress to run like it’s 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it is. As soon as you get out there and get moving, you’ll warm up and be glad you didn’t put on so many layers.
5. Forget the speedsters
Compare yourself with yourself. There will always be someone faster and leaner and who looks more like a runner than you do. Focus on the improvements you want to make for yourself.
6. Down a cup of coffee
For seasoned runners, having caffeine before running has been shown to make workouts seem easier – and help the body burn calories more efficiently. Aim for about 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight: For a 150-pound woman, that’s about the amount in a 16-ounce coffee.
7. Mind that Incline
Never accelerate down a hill. The braking forces on your body can destroy your knees. BUT… always run uphill! See every hill as an opportunity to sprint for high intensity interval (HIIT) benefit.
8. Be a Social Runner
Running can be such a solitary pursuit, but there is a real benefit to making a connection with others – and no better way to do that than by running together. Websites like meetup.com can help you find local groups. Or you can just stop in at your local running store and ask.
Just Race Already
If you’re just getting started, work toward a 3k. Do several. Work on improving your timing before expanding to longer races. Faster paces and shorter distances improve fitness more quickly than slower speeds and longer distances.
The crossing of the finish will change your life!