Ways to Become a Better Runner
Running is an excellent form of functional exercise when used in moderation. It strengthens and tones your entire body, although it is better (from a health-standpoint) to combine it with other functional exercises.
It provides strength and capacity to your overall cardiovascular endurance. When done properly, it speeds up your metabolism, and it also improves your posture. Once you start working on it, you should make sure that you take steps to ensure you are becoming a better runner.
Ways To Become A Better Runner:
Hydrate Before and After
Few things are more important in running than drinking enough water. Being properly hydrated means that your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Failure to drink enough will cause all kinds of problems during the run. In addition to making it harder to maintain a proper form, lack of hydration will result in headaches, muscle cramps, and increased exhaustion.
According to “Hydration and Running – How to Stay Hydrated Before, During, and After Your Runs,” proper hydration begins even before the day of the run.
The best way to make sure that you are well hydrated is to check your urine. Your urine should be a pale yellow. Anything darker indicates that you are becoming dehydrated. You will be in the best condition to run if you have consistent pale urine for the few days before your run.
Make sure that you keep drinking plenty of water. If you need to add something to change the flavor, then consider adding in cucumbers. It adds a faint zing to the water, and it is a little different from traditional lemon and lime.
A common misconception about running is that you need carb loaded entrees to make it through a run. Carbs are a fast energy source. They turn into sugar in the blood, but the subsequent crashes are dangerous in more ways than just to your blood sugar. They can deplete your energy levels when the sugar high fails, and they can also make you more prone to headaches and common infections like yeast infections and athlete’s foot.
That’s why it should go without saying that you should avoid high sugar foods like candy bars. But bear in mind that your body can’t tell the difference between unhealthy sugars and supposedly healthy sugars like the ones found in orange juice.
In fact, there are certain supposed health foods that you should cut from your diet if you want any hope of losing weight and maintaining that weight loss.
Going low carb though will improve your run in more ways than improving your overall health. In Runner’s World, “Running Low on Fuel, on Purpose,” Jackie Dikos encourages runners who want to push themselves to the next level to rely on high protein and low carb offerings.
High protein meals and snacks allow your body to tap into fat reserves faster. It also increases your focus in the run. Jackie Dikos warns that the run will feel more uncomfortable, but it can be done even for a full marathon. For the best fat burning results though, it should be done on an empty stomach.
To be safe, make sure that you take high protein bars and plenty of water along with you. It’s going to be challenging, and you will feel the run more. However, with time, you will get used to it, and you will be able to run farther and longer with greater focus and better form. The results come around much faster as well.
Some runners like to go at it every day. They get addicted to the runner’s high or they just don’t want to risk losing their momentum. However, it is vital that you give your body time to rest. Otherwise, you will wind up slowing your progress. The muscles need time to repair. Otherwise, you greatly increase the likelihood of injury and burnout.
Ideally, your runs should be kept below 5K. Chronic running can result in a number of health issues, particularly on a regular basis. Occasionally running a 10K is not a bad thing. But in general, it’s better to use running as a strong supplement to your overall exercise regimen rather than the core focus. This is also a great way to get going since most people tend to hate running.
Christine Luff, “Hydration and Running – How to Stay Hydrated Before, During, and After Your Runs,” About.com Running & Jogging, http://running.about.com/od/nutritionandhydration/a/hydration101.htm (2012).
Jackie Dikos, R.D., “Running Low on Fuel, on Purpose,” Runners World, http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/running-low-fuel-purpose (2010).