Running. It’s one of the best and most effective ways to keep fit and get your body moving. It can also be super difficult to get into. That’s mostly because when you first start out it can genuinely feel as if you’re torturing yourself.
Your legs feel heavy, your muscles ache, it’s cold outside – it’s a nightmare (or is that just me?). It can be really difficult to stick to a running schedule, and sometimes even harder to know if you’re running in the right way.
This article is going to help you understand first of all what the benefits are to running, how to run properly, and also how to keep yourself motivated to keep running.
What Benefits Does Running Have for Your Body?
Running is a fantastic exercise that engages practically your entire body. There are so many health benefits to a regular jog that it’s no wonder that so many people consider it a must on their daily to-do list.
Running can help you lose weight, strengthen your muscles, and even prevent the occurrence of certain diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Running can also reinforce your immune response, therefore boosting your immune system because it basically gets your body working overtime.
Running engages a bunch of muscles all around your body, so it’s really effective for losing weight and building muscles, particularly in your legs, tummy, and arms. Because it gets you moving so much, running is also great for your overall fitness including resistance and stamina.
Running also builds and tones your muscles, like in your arms and in your butt.
Although, if you’re wanting to make your butt bigger you’ll need to focus on explosive running like sprinting or running uphill, rather than distance, as that will effectively deflate your butt instead.
The average person can run about 7mph, however, this needn’t be your goal right from the beginning, this can absolutely be something that you can work your way up to.
How to Run Properly
Now it might feel as though there’s only one way to run, but in reality, it can be easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to posture or placement of your feet.
Bad posture or placement can lead to injuries that would make it difficult to continue your running schedule – or turn you off the exercise for good. In order to ensure that you’re able to run properly and for an extended period of time, then you need to make sure you’re following these instructions:
First of all, you need to make sure that you’ve warmed up properly. Whilst you may think that all you need to do is just stand still and do a few stretches, but actually stretching like this can actually cause you to do more damage.
What you need to do is a dynamic warm-up, which might involve low-impact cardio like speed walking, or using a cycle machine at the gym. There are loads of great warm-up videos that you’ll be able to follow online if you need help figuring out the best way to warm up your body for running.
Once you’ve warmed up, keep these instructions in mind in order to ensure that you stay healthy and able to run. You want to make sure that you’re leaning from your ankles. Keep a straight line from your ankles all the way to your butt.
You also want to shorten your stride, which will increase your cadence and decrease the impact that you’re putting on your ligaments and muscles.
Next, when your foot comes down, it should be landing underneath you, not in front of you – if you’re leaning slightly forward, then this should be easy to get. As well as this, you should be landing on your mid-foot, not your toes or your heels.
You should also be swinging your arms at 90 degrees and a front-to-back swing.
Some final things that you want to keep in mind are to try and run lightly, rather than stomping, which would increase the difficulty because you’re putting more pressure on your ankles and knees.
You also want to keep your back and chest upright and straight, rather than slouching. And keep your head up, not only will this posture improve your form, but it will also keep you safe and you can concentrate on what’s happening around you.
Improving Your Mindset
Knowing the correct technique and posture will help make the physical aspects of running easier and hurt less. Then all that’s left is to work on your mindset.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to pick yourself up and actually go for a run, whether outside or at a gym. So here are some things that you can do to improve your mindset.
First of all, try to forget all the other goals that you see influencers or your more sporty friends boast about. Set a realistic goal that works for you. If on your first run you can barely make it a mile, then you might want to reconsider your 5mile a-day expectations.
It’s important to remember that this is okay! You’re allowed to be flexible and work with a routine that works the best for you. Running is hard! Even professional athletes who run for a living admit that it’s difficult, especially when you’re just getting started.
If it helps, you could also invest in your new athleticism. Pick up a new comfy outfit that makes you feel confident and cool, get some new equipment like a water bottle or an armband to hold your phone.
If you’ve put money into this you’re more likely to feel good about what you’re doing, but also feel more compelled to continue with it.
Making Running Easier
If you combine the improvements to your posture and technique with working on your mindset, then you’ll find that the next time you set off on a run you’ll find that running is much easier.