Running is one of the easiest ways to get a good cardio workout (and it's an important skill for when the Zombie Apocalypse hits). Whether you're just getting started running or have already run a marathon, here are some tips and tricks to make the most of your running sessions.
10. Get the Right Running Shoes
You can run without shoes, with strange glove-like minimalist shoes, or with any of many different types of running shoes. Find what's most comfortable for you. Buy the right shoes for your environment and feet or, if you're going the barefoot route, try to ease into it.
9. Lace Your Shoes for Better Comfort
Who knew there were so many ways to lace your running shoes? Different techniques can make your shoes feel less tight, accommodate wide feet and more. Comfort is key when it comes to injury protection.
8. Make a Smooth Transition from Walking or Jogging to Running
Few of us can go from hardly ever moving around to being a regular 10km-a-day runner. You have to ease into it. Our own Thorin Klosowski shared how he started regularly jogging -- from getting the right gear (shoes, see above, and a good shirt) to learning the correct form and setting a running schedule. Slowly graduate from walking to running in intervals (e.g., one minute of running for every four minutes of walking, per Runner's World).
7. Let Zombies Train You
OK, so zombies are slow (at least in most film and TV portrayals), but facing a horde of zombies sure can get your adrenaline up and keep you moving. Zombie Apocalypse workouts and apps like Zombies, Run! are effective because they add a narrative to your exercise and, perhaps, fun.
It doesn't have to be zombies either. There are other ways to incorporate more entertainment into or gamify your runs.
6. Track Your Progress
Keep tabs on your running (and other health actions and goals) and you're more likely to stick to your plan and get better. Besides the plethora of smartwatches and fitness trackers on the market now, your smartphone can track your running habits to see how you're doing. Tracking and analysing your runs could also help you prevent injuries in the future.
5. Set Goals
Just having a goal can help you go from jogging to running 150km a month. The goal can be as simple as "don't quit" (running every day for at least a mile or making sure you don't go three days between runs) or as motivating as participating in an organised event, like a charity run. When you're starting out, speed or distance might not matter as much as just showing up.
4. Get into Proper Form
Good running form makes you run more efficiently, so you're not wasting movements and energy while you're running. It also helps prevent injuries and helps you run faster. Your breath and your gaze can correct your running posture, as can this claymation video.
3. Create the Perfect Running Playlist
Depending on the type of runner you are, music could boost your running performance by 15 per cent. The speed of the music you listen to (songs' beats per minute or BMP) also affect how your runs might go. Here's a chart for figuring out the right BPM for your ideal running playlist.
2. Switch Up Your Routine
Running the same roads, in the same way, at the same time day after day can become monotonous. If your runs have become a bit boring, switch them up with some hilly runs, a change of scenery or different route, splitting your workouts into different paces, or adding in different types of exercises on other days.
1. Motivate Yourself to Stay on Track
Pun not intended. You probably already know the benefits of running (even just five minutes a day could improve your health) as well as the downsides (how easy it is to injure yourself and how much patience it takes to increase your distance running). Whether you're doing this competitively or just on your own, developing a running practice or habit takes perseverance, especially on those days when it's too hot to run or too cold or you'd just rather sleep in. Refresh your run with a running buddy and a reminder of the reasons why you run, and reward yourself for keeping at it.