Ready to dust off your sneakers and hit the road? Here’s what you need to get the most out of your training in 2019.
With a new year, comes a new chance to live a healthy and happy life. Gyms become busier and salads fly off the grocery store shelves, as people everywhere try to make healthy changes to their lives. Running is an easy way to fit in some cardio everyday (as well as burn calories and build muscle).
The benefits of running
When you run regularly (four to five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes), you’ll enjoy (among other things) the following three benefits:
- Running, being an aerobic exercise, is a fantastic way to burn those Winter calories. By making running a regular part of your weekly routine, you’ll also boost your “afterburn” effect (calories that are burnt after you’ve stopped exercising).
- You’ll experience a boost in energy. Regular running will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day, keeping you alert and avoiding the mid-afternoon slump. This is because exercise releases endorphins, and improves your cardiovascular health as well as your insulin control. This impacts how your body utilises carbohydrates throughout the day preventing spikes and dips which cause fatigue.
- Regular running protects your brain from the harmful effects of stress, helping you improve your resilience. It boosts your mood and helps combat depression and anxiety. It has also been linked with other positive effects on the brain, such as lowering your risk of developing degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's.
Here are some useful running essentials to help you start the new year the healthy way!
A comfortable, purpose-built pair of running shoes
We wouldn’t be able to run well without proper footwear. Do your research and try on sneakers that are specifically made for runners. Look for proper arch support and a pair that feel comfortable and not too tight in the heel or the front of the toes. Some runners prefer no lace sneakers, which is another option to decrease any injuries while running. Find a local sporting goods store to try on running shoes, walk around in them, and make sure they fit your feet properly. Keep sneakers in your gym/exercise bag so you never forget them on your way out for a run or to the gym!
A running pace calculator
Running can be measured in several ways. It’s important to pay attention to distance and time if you plan on competing in races and achieving a personal best. Tracking your pace can be done with a running pace calculator. This helps prevent burnout and keep you on the right track while training for big races. Once you determine a running pace, you’ll see your endurance increase with every run. Having a pacing strategy can positively impact performance.
A solid fitness plan
While starting a new fitness routine, it’s essential to make sure you have the right equipment or plan in mind. Find a gym you feel comfortable at, that has treadmills or a track you’re able to run on. If running outside is more your forte, find a path, trail, or park that’s the correct length you’re looking for while training or exercising. Create a routine for yourself that starts out slow and builds up as you become more aware of your body’s abilities.
You can learn more about your body with Body Fit - a simple, personalised and easy to follow plan for those trying to improve their fitness.
A smart phone holder
If you’re the type of person who needs to listen to music while running, find a phone holder that will strap your phone to your arm. Cords can easily get wrapped around you which could cause injury. A holder keeps your phone out of the way while moving your arms and legs during a workout (and avoids having an annoying bulge in your pants or jacket pocket). Music has proven to have ergogenic effects on the body. Listening to music can also decrease and delay fatigue, which helps you run faster and longer. Wireless/bluetooth headphones are another great investment if you’re a music lover and an everyday runner.
Wear the right activewear
Before you go for a run, make sure you have the right clothing on to be comfortable during your workout. Moisture wicking material will prevent sweat from soaking into the fabrics and making you feel hot, gross, and weighed down. Look for spandex material that is breathable and moves with your body. If you prefer shorts, make sure they are the appropriate length and material to prevent chafing during a run (especially during extreme cold or heat). Hats are also helpful while running outside. They prevent any sun damage to the face as well as block the sun and sweat during a long run. The smarter you dress, the better the workout will be.
A water bottle
Staying hydrated during any exercise is crucial. Dehydration can cause a decrease in physical and mental capabilities; two aspects that are very important during a workout. Director of performance nutrition for Athletes’ Performance, Amanda Carlson says “Just losing 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%.” So buy yourself a new water bottle and keep it with you when you plan on exercising. Stainless steel bottles tend to keep water cold over a long period of time, and don’t run too expensive. Make sure to drink before, during, and after exercising; your body needs it. If you’re participating in long distance running, think about carrying a small backpack where you can store a water bottle, snacks, and any other items you might need.
Goals are essential when focusing on living a healthy lifestyle. Setting goals for yourself can boost confidence and keep you motivated to continue healthy habits. These can be simple or difficult, but they should always be tailored to you personally - so set goals that you believe are genuinely attainable. Try writing your goals down and hang them in a spot where you can see them everyday to keep you motivated!
To help you along the way, we’ve put together a handy checklist that teaches you how to set realistic goals.
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