Enjoy and Improve Running

01 May

nike-running-and-sunrise-hd-wallpaperEveryone has their own perspective on going out for a casual jog. Some welcome the thought as they lace up and grab their headphones while others cringe at the thought. The question is, why is it some people shy away from the thought of anything faster than a brisk walk? Is it the rumored health cons (bad for your knees, hips, etc)? Is it that they don’t want to be seen jogging in the public’s eye?

The truth is, some people just don’t like running. Period. Although it does yield several health benefits, people seem to always find reasons not to do it. That being said, I’ve consolidated the most popular reasons why opt out of it, how to reap the most benefits, and learn to like it.

Stay Hydrated waterintake

This cannot be said enough. Keep a steady intake of water throughout the day. The last thing you need is to cramp up or suffer from heat exhaustion when you’re a few miles from your house because of dehydration.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Sip on water throughout the day to allow absorption. A good tip is to try and drink a 16 oz bottle of water every hour.

Don’t Get Cheap with Shoes

Some people don’t give much thought as to what shoes they run in. Some people have worn basketball shoes to run a few miles and complain how their feet feel afterwards. The truth is, if you want quality gear, you won’t find good running shoes at the Dollar Store. There are a lot of popular brands out there, Asics being one of the most popular. Below are other good quality brands:

  • Brooks
  • Saucony
  • New Balance
  • Nike
  • Under Armour

Everyone has their own preference to a brand or insole that works best for them. While you may pay a pretty for each pair, if you take care of them, you’ll get some serious mileage.

Keep an Updated Playlist

We all have our own music selection that gets our adrenaline pumping. Keeping an updated playlist on your iPod/MP3 can keep your mind off your side-stitch and keep you from hearing yourself panting. Take a few minutes and compile a good heart-pounding playlist.

Audio books are also a good way to take your mind off your route. Catch up on that good book you’ve been hearing about.

Keep Track of your Progress

This is a given for anyone striving for their goals. Consistency and recording is important when showing progress. Keeping tabs on lap time, distance ran, your mile time,  and resting heart rate is a great way to see your stamina and heart health improving.

There are several apps to use that help you keep track of your progress.



RunKeeper – Everything from GPS, goal tracking, workout reminders, and weekly updates telling me how many miles I’ve ran. There is also a setting that tells you your time and distance ran in 5 minute periods. It’s also a free download.



map my run


MapMyRun – A great way to keep track of your mileage. It provides a visual GPS of where you’re running. It also includes feedback of your time you run each mile, and it even has the option to automatically play your favorite songs if it notices your split time slowing down.




hr appHeartRate – This app works great if you don’t have a chest strap or wrist watch heart monitor. Simply putting your finger over the camera lens will read your heart rate and record it. It provides options for you to say if you’re exercising, just waking up, just finished your workout, etc. Much easer than feeling your pulse and counting (although it’s wise to know how to do).




Find a Friend to Tag AlongJohnnie_Running

Asking others to get involved benefits both of you. One can motivate the other and hold them accountable. Catch up on your recent life events. Try and maintain a pace where you can converse, maybe talk about where you want to eat afterwards.

If you and / or your friend has a dog, grab the leases and take them out with you. Chances are you’ll find yourself doing more because of them.



Warm up

It’s not the greatest idea to go from sitting to jogging. Getting your heart rate elevated and your muscles warm prior to a workout will help you maximize muscular endurance, efficiency, and prevent injuries. A light sweat is the best sign of being ready to undertake a workout.

Prior to running, perform a few dynamic movements. Dynamic movement is a type of stretch that helps warm up muscles through movement, not stretch and hold (static stretching).

Common dynamic stretches include:

  • Hip swings / circles
  • Air squats (varying stances)
  • High-knees
  • Lunges

Static stretching is said to expend more energy, making them best for post workout.

Stretch Afterwards

Performing static stretches after a workout is optimal. The muscles are warm, your heart rate is elevated, and blood’s flowing rapidly. Static stretching helps increase joint flexibility, decrease muscle tightness, and improve blood flow when relaxed.

Common static stretches include, but are not limited to:

  • Hamstring stretches
  • Quad stretches
  • Calf
  • Piriformis (shown below)
Lay on your back, cross your legs so your ankle is on the opposite knee. Grab your hands together under your knee and pull back on it. You should feel a stretch around your butt.

When it comes to static stretches, cycle each stretch for 10-15 seconds each. For example, quad stretch for :15, hamstring for :15, piriformis for :15, and calf for :15 and repeat four times.


There are a plethora of reasons why people opt out of running, but try and find the optimistic aspect in it. You never know, what you dread doing now might end up being a great hobby of yours.

Find your weak spot, work on that, and make it enjoyable.

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