If running is for you, keep the following tips in mind. This advice is meant to prevent injury, keep you safe, and competitive.
1. Suitable footwear
ALWAYS wear suitable footwear. You are supposed to change your shoes every six months. I’m sure many- including myself- do not follow this advice. However, keep an eye on your trainers. Are they worn? If so, don’t be cheap by keeping them. Throw them out and invest in a new pair. You deserve them for working so hard.
When you buy another pair, do not be surprised if you need a smaller size. You might have lost weight, so your feet got thinner.
2. Soft ground
When you land on one foot, that foot must withstand double the body weight it usually does. This will put it under pressure over time. To combat this, run on soft ground, like grass or dirt. Even better, jog on a trampoline.
3. Interval training
HIIT-High intensity interval training. This involves varying your running session to confuse your body. This confusion causes major fat burning. Combine walking, jogging, running and sprinting into a 20min session. For example: 1min walking, 2mins jogging, 3mins running, 1min sprinting, 2mins jogging, 1min sprinting, etc. The walking and jogging portions give you time to recover from the very intense running and sprinting segments. HIIT is very effective!
Competition brings out the best in us. It is not until you are pushed to the extreme that you realise your truest potential. Join forces with a friend, preferably one with a similar fitness level, and enjoy some friendly competition. Winning is great, but motivating each other feels even better. If you like to exercise alone, compete with yourself. Get a stopwatch, wristwatch or use your mobile phone to track each lap. Try and beat your personal record, but do not be downhearted if you don’t. As long as you are exercising, progress is being made.
5. Always keep safe
The most important of them all- keep safe whilst running.
The first way to keep safe is by being aware at all times. Music helps to pass the time whilst exercising, but when you exercise in public, keep the music level as low as possible, or, even better, turn it off completely. If you are busy singing along to your favourite songs, you will not notice unsavoury characters or groups close by.
Do not run like a horse with blinkers. Look over your shoulder on a regular basis, so you quickly realise if anyone is following you. Always keep an eye on your surroundings, so you know when a bad situation might arise. Most importantly, watch out for traffic on and off road. It may seem obvious how to avoid trucks, buses and cars on the roads, but remember that bicycles, scooters, and other transport used on the pavement can be dangerous. Do not assume that they will see you. Use your common sense and take responsibility for your own safety.
Another major point is that you MUST STOP when injured. If you continue, you risk permanent injury, which will require you to modify every routine you do for life. Exercising through pain is not worth it, so never take such a silly risk.
Keep those tips in mind the next time you go jogging or running. Even if you’re a veteran, it helps to have a friendly reminder from time to time, so revisit this article on a regular basis. Keep safe and you’ll be running marathons for charity, races for money, and laps for pleasure for decades to come.