No trip the gym feels complete without a good run (and subsequent sweat) on the treadmill. I’ve been running for more than a decade – in fact, I first started running for my high school’s indoor track team – and I’ve learned a few tips from coaches and experts along the way.
Here are 7 of my absolute favorite running tips and tricks:
- Reduce stiffness. Feelings of tightness are common for runners, but a simple warmup strategy can help reduce stiffness. I jog for 3 minutes before my run; the jog heats up my muscles. Muscles stretch best when they’re warmed up – so immediately following my jog, I engage in some stretching. Then, I’m ready for my run!
- Eliminate blisters. Blisters are likely the result of loose shoes or bad socks. Ensure that your sneakers fit tightly and that the laces go through every eyelet. If your heel is moving inside the sneaker, then the sneaker is too loose. Moreover, make use of a running-specific sock. My favorite is Lululemon’s Ultimate Running Sock. They are anatomically constructed, moisture-wicking and don’t bunch up or slip while running.
- Boosting motivation. Experts often recommend creating a public goal to help boost your motivation and increase your accountability. If you announce to friends and family on Facebook, for example, that you’ll be running a 5k in 2-months, then it may help get you moving a little more often. Take it a step further and invite other people to join you at the 5k. Shorter term, a good playlist or workout buddy can help, too.
- Prevent joint pain. Many things can contribute to joint paint – but the easiest way to reduce your risk is to replace your running sneakers regularly. Running sneakers typically last 400 – 500 miles (use this formula to calculate how long your sneakers will last). When you buy a new pair of sneakers, use a magic marker to write the anticipated expiration date on the inside of the shoe.
- Stop chaffing. Many runners experience chaffing of the inner thighs due to the friction of skin-on-skin contact. To reduce chaffing, you can make use of any number of creams or powders. Even using petroleum jelly can help. If the problem persists, it may be worthwhile to invest in a pair of lycra or spandex shorts or pants to wear under your running clothes.
- Breathe properly. Most experts recommend a breathing rhythm of 3:2 wherein the runner inhales for three footstrikes and exhales for two. An easy way to remember this technique is to breathe along the five-syllable mantra, “I’m get-ting strong-er.”
- Catch your breath. Speaking of breath, if you’re having trouble breathing or catching your breath, simply slow down. You’re going too fast. Slower and steady wins the race; it’s never a good idea to start a longer run with an unsustainable sprint. Over time, you’ll build up your endurance and speed.
Those are my 7 best and favorite tips for runners – but please share your own in the comments below!