May 22, 2020
OVER THE LAST few weeks, the large number of people out running has been very noticeable. I guess this is all down to the fact we have no access to gyms and unfortunately this is going be the case for the next few weeks – at least.
I am a big advocate of bringing exercise outdoors. The benefits are endless and it really does give you a boost when you can get outside and enjoy a jog.
Running will build and strengthen your aerobic base, burn plenty of calories and overall it’s just a good way to get outside, get some fresh air and clear the head.
In this week’s article, I’m going to look at areas you can concentrate on to complement your running routine.
Footwear and clothing:
This is vital. It’s pretty common sense but the key here is comfort. As someone who has been running quite a long time, the running gear you decide to wear is key to keeping your runs enjoyable and also to avoid picking up some silly injuries.
You don’t want to be wearing any heavy clothes. Training in the summer months can be tough work and you don’t want to make it any harder on yourself so wear training gear which is light, easy and comfortable to wear. A training vest or t-shirt, shorts, hat, sunglasses and a dollop of sun cream is also important if you’re out in the sun for long periods.
The key factors to consider when buying yourself the right pair of running shoes should be everything from the shape of your foot, the extent of your foot’s movement in running motion, your weight and, of course, your budget.
My best advice here is to seek out advice from people working in this area. Your local sports or running store is a good start and some may even have a machine to track your gait analysis, listen to your goals, running level and suggest what is the best shoe for you.
Nutrition and hydration:
Fueling your body the right way is important both before and after each run.
No matter what distance you’re about to undertake, a sufficient level of carbohydrates is key before any activity.If I find myself running later in the day I like to fuel up with a moderate to light meal 2 hours before. On early mornings I like to go with something very light and not too heavy on the body.
As well as that, keeping yourself well hydrated is important especially on warm days. If you are unsure then you could use a simple urine chart to measure what level you are at. Sometimes water isn’t sufficient enough for performance on warm days and you need to bring in some electrolytes. Some sports drinks are a good option, or even adding sachets of dioralyte or salt to your water works well for pre or post session.
After your run it is important to measure your weight and sweat loss especially if you are finding yourself training often on warm days. The simplest way to know how much you need to drink to recover is to weigh yourself before and after your session. 1 litre of sweat is roughly the equivalent to 1kg of body-weight loss. You need to drink 1.2 – 1.5 litres for each kg of weight lost during exercise.
Warming up is important. A structured warm up plan will go a long way over time and is sure to lessen the risk of niggles or injury. A good 10-15 minute plan of getting the body warm, loose, activated and stretched is what I generally stick with.
In and around my running sessions I like to stick lots of activation drills and core work. Below you can find a quick clip of some running activation drills I like to incorporate into my week.
Source: David Last/YouTube
Bring in some variance:
Variance is key so keep changing it up. If you are someone who is running at least three times per week then change up the stimulus of your run. My best advice is to avoid sticking to the same track, time, distance and intensity. Keep it varied and bring in sessions where you are doing some long, slow distances but then the next session increase the intensity by cutting the distance and increasing your speed or totally changing it up by bringing in some interval running like hill sprints or timed sprints.
Look after your body:
Running will take its toll on our body and that is just something we have to accept.
However, it doesn’t mean every time you step out with the trainers on you should be struggling with shin splints, muscle pain or overall fatigue as the sessions go on.
When you train it’s pretty normal to be sore every now and then with some delayed onset of muscle soreness but it’s how you manage it that can make things a little easier.
Simple things like drinking adequate fluids, fueling your body the right way and getting enough recovery in is what is best.
If you are someone who is constantly tight and sore then you should look at incorporating some basic stretches, Epsom salt baths, recovery walks, yoga or even a simple body maintenance plan just like the video below.
Source: David Last/YouTube
These are not essential, but I find them useful especially if you are someone running at least 3 times per week.
Having a fitness watch is great for logging and keeping track of your training and recovery data. My top brands to consider are Garmin and Polar or Fitbit. As well as that I find the app Strava really enjoyable. Strava is a fitness tracking application that enables you to use the built-in GPS of your mobile device to track all of your fitness activities. Record your workout details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route traveled. As well as that its a good place to stay connected and engaged with friends or running partners.
Most of all, enjoy it!
Like what I say in a lot of my articles whatever exercise path you go down make sure its something that you actually enjoy and isn’t always a chore. For me, running is something I have always loved and the benefits it has given me both physically and mentally even more so the last few weeks has been amazing. During this time of limited movement and extra time working from home we only really have a certain amount of time to get outside and enjoy ourselves so most of all have fun and enjoy your runs.
Thanks for reading and happy running!