10 Steps To Becoming A Consistent Runner

Every time you see a runner effortlessly running by you on the street, you think “I should give that running thing a try.” But you’ve attempted to pick it up in the past and you could never stick with it. The thing with running is that for most of us, it calls for strategies to ease yourself into it and keep at it. Follow these 10 tips and it won’t be long before you’re the one non-runners are envious of.

Find a running group or partner

Runners tend to fall into two camps: those who prefer to run solo and those who prefer to run with other people. If you’re a beginner, joining a running club or finding a friend to run with can be a big factor in making sure you run consistently as they will keep you accountable. It’s harder to skip a run when you’ve got Scott expecting to meet you on the corner to run 5K before work.

Use a training schedule

Loose plans to “run more often” are too easy skip. Instead, find a training regimen that outlines the distance and frequency you should run each week and put it into your calendar.

Invest in some running gear

If you’re a beginner, you’re probably going to just pull on the gym gear you own, but once you make running a habit, you’ll want to invest in some  running-specific gear so that you’re comfortable as can be. The right pair of shoes (at the store, they’ll be able to assess how your foot strikes the ground and find ones that suit you), clothing made of sweat-wicking fabric, non-cotton socks (so as to prevent blisters) are a good start, and you can add items such as a fuel belt as you progress and want to invest more into your gear.

Start at a comfortable pace

When you’re new to running, you envision setting off at a Usain Bolt pace. But to grow stronger as a distance runner, you’ll be incorporating long, slow training runs at a comfortable pace. This is why running with a friend or group can be beneficial; you can learn to pace yourself for these runs by being able to run and talk easily at the same time.

Breathe deeply

Rather than short, shallow breathes, you’ll want to try to focus on taking long deep breaths. With your long deep breaths (think of breathing into your belly rather than your chest) you’ll be filling your lungs with more oxygen to supply your muscles. Breathe from your mouth (you can take more air in from your mouth than nostrils) and have your inhales and exhales fall into sync with the rhythm of your footsteps.

Keep a log of your runs

Whether you decide to use an app or journal and pen is up to you, but maintaining a record of your runs can be both hugely motivating and will help you assess your progress and adjust accordingly. Note down the weather, what you worse, what you ate and how you felt during the run and it’ll help inform you for your training.

Hydrate your body

You’ll be sweating when you run, of course, so you need to ensure you’re hydrating your body well. For runs that are under 60 minutes, simply drinking water is fine. When your runs start lasting longer than an hour, though, you’ll want to ensure you’re replenishing your electrolytes (either with a sports drink or with a sports gel, for example).

Fuel your body with wholesome foods

Until you work your way  up to a half-marathon or marathon distance, you do not need to load up on carbohydrates. Take note, however, how different meals affect your workouts. You may find that your usual eggs and bacon for breakfast bothers your stomach during a morning run, for example, and may want to try other meals.

If you’re a treadmill runner, try running outdoors

The movement of the treadmill assists you so it’s essentially easier than running on solid ground. Also, you’ll have the added bonus of getting some fresh air, and get to enjoy changing scenery.

Change up your treadmill workouts

The treadmill can get quite boring; there’s a reason people call it the dreadmill. Make it less monotonous by incorporating some speed intervals or changing its incline throughout your run.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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