A consistent warm up routine will do wonders for improving your runs. Seasoned runners will know the importance of warming up before a run for maximum results and benefits. However, warming up for an effective run includes more than just stretching. You need to think about it as getting ready to use your whole body – and not just your legs. For instance, you need to fuel your body with nutritious food, wear the right gear to run in comfort, and perform the right exercises so you don’t accidentally increase your chances of getting injured. With that said, let’s take a look at how to get ready for a great run.
Runners, like most other athletes, need to maintain their energy levels by eating nutritious, whole food whenever possible. You need to consume extra calories daily to make up for those spent during a run and when you are working out. Let’s say you are gearing up to run a whopping 24km. During that run, you will burn about 6,275 kilojoules and will need to be prepared. On average, during practice running days, male runners need about 10460 kilojoules a day, while women a little less calories at 8,370 kilojoules daily. And while tempting, you should try to avoid low-nutrient snacks and alcohol that can cause more damage than good.
2. Mid-run Nutrition
Not to carry on about the same thing, but we can’t stress enough the importance of good nutrition. When you are halfway through a long run, you often feel less energetic and in need of a quick pick-me-up. This boost can come in the form of a handy energy gel. They are a concentrated energy source that help replenish glycogen which your body can quickly and easily absorb, so you can keep running at a great pace for longer.
3. Plan the route
Whether you have a big run the next week, or you’re heading into another day of training, it pays to be prepared. Think about what the weather forecast is and bring apparel to keep you dry, warm, or cool as well as safe on different terrains. And if you are going to run a route you have never been on before, you could head onto Google maps’ street view option to get a virtual “run” of the path and its surrounds.
4. Dress for comfort and practicality
Speaking of being prepared, wearing comfortable and high quality running apparel can have a positive impact on your performance. Wearing well-fitted and padded running shoes can provide more comfort as well as stability to your feet and ankles, minimising your risk of getting a running injury.
Additionally, investing in some of the best running sunglasses on the market can protect your eyes from harsh UV rays, glare and bright conditions, as well as debris that flies up from the path. In essence, always dress for the weather and the terrain, and be prepared for mishaps by packing energy gels, cash, your phone, and first aid items in a trusty running belt.
5. Get enough sleep
You can’t underestimate the power of getting enough sleep. As our modern lifestyles often demand for us to stay up longer in front of the TV, our bodies often suffer from sleep deprivation. If you stay up late very often, or get very little sleep in general, this can result in a dip in your running performance in the short term, and more detrimental health side effects later on. On average, a healthy adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, whereas athletes and people who workout more need 8 to 10 hours for the energy and alertness you need to run. Avoid too much caffeine (especially late in the day) and try to keep your stress levels low. Running in itself is already great for reducing stress so there’s all the more reason to keep going
6. Apply Body Glide
While running is an enjoyable and very healthy sport, like any other sport, it can cause soreness and aches that put some people off. Runners who forget to apply an anti-chafe balm like Body Glide know the sting of a sore, raw spot caused by friction. You just apply it to areas on your body where your clothes or shoes constantly rub against during a run. This invisible barrier prevents clothes from chafing and irritating your skin. You can pack a stick of the balm in your sports bag or even running belt or pouch, so you never leave home without it.
7. Do dynamic stretching and exercises
Dynamic stretching and exercises can be done on days when you are not running, or earlier in the day before a run, or after you’ve just finished a run. You want to make sure everything is functioning well before your feet hit the pavement. Dynamic stretching involves active movements where your body goes through a whole range of actions that remove force. Over time, dynamic stretching and exercises will improve your agility, speed, mobility, and acceleration during each run. As it also helps to increase joint and muscle mobility, you will have fewer chances of getting a running related injury.
With these handy tips on how to get prepped for your next run, you’re sure to be a more confident runner. Still, you could have all the knowledge in the world about running and fall short when you don’t practice good advice (especially with lack of sleep!). So find ways to stay motivated, set a routine, and go kick those goals.