Whether you are new to running, have been running forever but can’t seem to improve your time, or are a veteran runner who is just looking for some reminders, you’ve come to the right place. At R3 Recovery Lab, Dr. Carmen Romano makes sure that everyone who comes through his door is educated on how to unlock their better selves -- in life and in physical activity.
Below is a list of 15 tips & tricks to help you run for a longer period of time. Run longer, stronger and faster with these tips in mind!
1. Warm Up
Running is no different than any workout or physical athletic activity -- It begins with a proper warm-up. A successful warm-up will expand your range of motion, increase the blood flow to your major muscle groups, and decrease the likelihood of injury.
2. Hydration + Nutrition = Preparation
When you get thirsty mid-run, it’s already too late to quench that thirst. You need to be drinking plenty of fluids over a day before a big run -- this accounts for training runs too, so your best bet is to make a habit out of proper hydration. A balanced diet and sufficient hydration are the foundation of proper training preparation.
3. Keep it Exciting - Run Outside!
Treadmills are great tools, but can get boring and stagnant after awhile. Keep your brain cells stimulated and your endorphins high by running outside in the fresh air! If you already are a consistent outdoor runner, switch up your path to keep things interesting. Find that road less traveled and make it yours with every run.
4. Treadmill Fun
If you get bored easily when running on the treadmill, try occupying yourself -- switch on the TV and catch up on the news, or turn on your favorite Netflix episode. Prop up an iPad to play some games, read a book, or browse your favorite online magazine.
5. Run With Friends
Sometimes you need that extra push to help you run longer. Join a running club, or link up with a friend to run together. Not only does running with company provide moral support, and generally encourages you mentally to keep a good pace going -- beyond one you would keep if running alone.
6. Start Slow
As with anything, building up your running endurance takes time. Be patient with yourself, and start slow. Pace yourself so that you don’t burn out within the first 2 minutes of your run!
7. Mix in Some Weight Training
If you want to start running longer, don’t just stick to running. By incorporating some weight training on a regular basis, you will activate the muscles that you do are not activating through running. These muscles complement, and offer support and stability to the muscle groups that are constantly being torn down through running.
8. Improve Your Mental Strength
When it comes to running, it often comes down to mind over matter. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone, and try to run that extra 500 metres, that extra half mile, that extra minute. Use positive self-talk and self-motivation to keep your legs moving, but make sure to stay within your threshold -- there is no need for overuse injuries.
9. Fuel Up On-The-Go When Necessary
As you begin to run longer distances, you may feel the need to fuel up mid-run. Go ahead! Pack a supplemental snack intended for in-workout fuel in your pocket, lace up your shoes and go.
10. Slow Your Breathing Pattern
In order to speed up, slow down -- your breathing, that is! Improper breathing technique is common among beginner and intermediate runners. When you breathe too quickly, you are actually not exhaling all of the CO2 out of your lungs, and in doing so you are not allowing yourself to inhale enough oxygen. When you start feeling your breath get heavy, force yourself to slow down your breathing pattern and breathing with a purpose.
11. Check Your Posture
Proper posture allows you to run most efficiently, and by opening up your chest, you are enabling yourself to breathe more effortlessly. Win-win!
12. Small Goals = Big Victories!
Set small goals for yourself, and reward yourself when you achieve them. Increase your goals as you improve your running. Celebrate the little things in life, and before you know it, you will be celebrating the big things (like your first 5k… or your second marathon!).
13. Pamper Your Feet
Take care of your feet just like you take care of the rest of your body. A great way to break up the tight and stressed tissues in your feet, try rolling them on a massage ball for a couple of minutes every day, or as a part of your warm-up and cool down routine.
14. Cool Down
What warms up must cool down -- a cool down is a crucial step to kickstart the recovery process prior to your next run. A proper cool down encourages your blood flow to efficiently return to its resting state pattern, and incorporating a stretching routine will keep your muscles limber.
15. Reset, Repair, Recover
Take care of your body after your workout in order to come back stronger. This means proper nutrition, including supplementation where necessary (see our post on the health benefits of juicing), and taking the initiative to engage in recovery protocols specific to your goals. For best results, discuss your training and recovery regimen with a professional.