Top Reasons to Start Running: From Feeling Your Best to Looking Your Best

Running Protects Your Heart

Runners have a much lower chance of developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack or stroke. This is because running is a cardiovascular exercise that efficiently pumps the blood through the body and gives strength to the heart. It also burns a lot of calories and enhances the metabolism, which allows more consumed calories to be burned for energy. This contributes to the next reason to start running on this list, but it also protects the heart.

Running Is Excellent for Weight Management

If you need to lose weight, running is definitely going to be a challenge. It is also going to be the best thing you ever do for your weight loss efforts. You can start out with doing run/walk intervals and gradually increase the periods of time that you are able to run. Do not worry about speed. A light jog is more than enough when you are getting started. You will find that consistent runs increase your calorie burn on a daily basis and thus make it much easier to lose weight without depriving yourself with food.

Running Is a Challenge worth Taking

Who says challenges have to be a bad thing? Many people find that the most motivating reason to start running is the fact that it is a challenge. If there were no challenge they would get bored and quit too easily. When there is something to strive for and you really have to push yourself, it isn’t as easy to get bored. Are you mentally strong enough to rise up to the challenge? Just start running slowly and you may surprise yourself how strong you actually are!

Running Is Excellent for Your Social Life

You can join a local running club or connect with other runners online to compare times and training schedules. When you sign up for races, you can spend entire weekends in the company of other athletes who see the value in running.

Running Is an Excuse to Spend Time Alone

Maybe you don’t want to improve your social life through running. Maybe for you the best reason to start running is having an excuse to spend time alone. Perhaps you spent time all alone before having children and settling down with someone special, but now that alone time is only in your dreams. You can make your dreams come by telling your family you are going for a run a few day s a week.

Running Will Lift Your Mood

Running will lift your spirits and release the happy hormone that puts a smile on your face. It is an excellent way to burn off stress and tension in the body, and gives you time to think through problems and relief mental stress. Others will find you more pleasant to be around once you adjust to going on runs and start to enjoy it. You may even start to depend on that run to keep your spirits up.

Running for Charity Can Save Lives

One way to remain motivated in your running schedule is to sign up for a race. You can start with a one mile race and then progress to a 5K, 10K, and eventually a half marathon and marathon if you are really ambitious. When you sign up for these races, your entry fees will benefit a charity you believe in. In some cases, you may even be able to fundraise for additional funds to benefit that charity. You could literally help save lives just by getting healthy and feeling better through running.

Running Gives You a Goal

You have something to strive for when you start running. You will find yourself competing with yourself in terms of distance, speed and race finish times. You will set new goals and challenge yourself to meet them. This means you are more likely to stay motivated in the long term, since you always have a new goal to strive toward.

Running Makes Everyday Life Easier

Imagine being able to get down on the ground and stand back up without struggling. Imagine leaning over and standing up straight without aches and snaps in your joints. Imagine slipping into the clothes you find attractive without worrying your fat rolls show too much. Simply imagine feeling better and looking better in every way. How much easier would your daily life become?

 

Perfect Running Form, Perfect Race

Everyone dreams of running the perfect race but not everyone has the drive to work on their running form. That’s a shame, because when it comes to marathon running, form is incredibly important. If you can perfect your form then you have a much better chance of getting the time you want at your next marathon.

To help you along, consider five effective tips for improving your running form: 

#1: Stay off your heels.

Never extend your leg out so far that your foot lands on the heel. Many beginner and casual runners do this and they end up with shin splints, back pain and a whole host of other problems. When you are training longer distances for marathon running, you have to make sure you are not landing on your heel. This will not only make your running stronger, but it will make training more comfortable on your body and reduce your chances of injury.

Aim to bring your foot down on the front ball or land flat-footed. This will give you the strongest spring off for smoother run and will protect your joints and muscles from strain.

#2: You are not a kid hopping puddles.

Did you ever try to jump over large rain puddles when you were a kid? When you try to leap over a large area and make it fully to the other side before you hit ground, it is natural to stretch your front leg out as far as possible. You are reaching.

Proper running form does not reach like that. You are not trying to make it over the puddle and there is no reward for taking the longest strides. Your strides must be adequate to keep your body propelling forward with consistent speed and grace, but you don’t want to look like a ballet dancer leaping through the air.

If you are over reaching in stride you will be forced to land on your heels. That is one way of determining if your stride is adequate or beyond what is necessary.

#3: You are not a camel.

You can’t go back to hopping puddles and you can’t act like a camel in marathon running, either. Some runners want to hunch forward too much when they run, creating an unnatural posture and throwing the body off-balance. This can be bad for your back and very bad for your time.

While focusing on your running form, try to stay as upright as possible. You can lean just a little forward if it helps you feel centered and balanced, but this should not be a hunched position. Keep the bumps out of your back and shoulders!

#4: Don’t bounce your way through training.

Next time you head out for a run, pay attention to the amount of bounce you have in your stride. If you feel you are bopping up and down just as much as you are propelling your body forward, then you are too much like the Easter bunny and not enough like a successful marathon runner.

All that extra bounce is going to do is eat up your energy so you have less to give to your training. Marathon running is incredibly demanding on your energy, so this is a very important aspect of running form to correct if you feel it applies to you.

#5: Keep your body strong and lean.

It is very difficult to perfect your running form if you don’t have the lean muscle to sustain that perfect posture. Similarly, if you are eating the wrong foods or packing on the pounds you won’t have the energy needed to sustain marathon running with proper running form.

Besides getting out there for your training sessions, you have to cross train. Add in some strength training for your upper body so your arms and chest balance out the muscle that naturally develops in your legs, buttocks and hips. Do other forms of cardio exercise that burn fat and keep your body tone, limber and ready for the road.

When you run short distances, you might do fairly well without focusing on running form. Once you cross into the longer distance and take up marathon running that form becomes far more important. It can control the impact felt on your joints and muscles and give you a smoother stride. In the end you will find it easier to keep to your marathon pace and make your goal time in an upcoming race.

 

5 Long Distance Running Tips for Beginners

Long distance running is a very challenging thing to take up. Most successful long distance runners have a real passion for training and are mentally able to push through physical discomfort to hit their mile goals. If you think you have what it takes to become one of these elite runners, these long distance running tips for beginners will help you get started. 

#1: Make sure your expectations of your body are realistic.

The first thing you have to do when you decide to become a long distance runner is take stock of where you are as a runner today. If you are not already running shorter distances on a routine basis, then you will realistically take longer to hit the long miles than someone who has already completed at few 5Ks and runs a few times a week.

If you expect too much of yourself in the beginning, you will feel disappointed with your progress. That disappointment can easily feel like failure which leads to quitting. It is much better to start out with reasonable expectations so you feel successful and powerful as you progress.

#2: Your toes need room to breathe.

It is very common for long distance runners to have black and blue toes that are quite painful. This isn’t just the demand and strain of an intense training schedule. It is also a matter of finding running shoes with the proper fit.

Make sure there is ¾” to 1″ of space between the top of your big toe and the end of your shoe. This may feel too big when you first try it on, but you need the extra space around the toes so they are not rubbing into the shoe and being pressed into one another. That is what causes a lot of the bruised toes experienced by runners who pound the pavement for many hours at a time.

You can wear thicker socks or put moleskin the back heel of your shoes if it slips off your heel due to the extra room in the toe.

Also pay attention to your clothing and make sure you are dressed for the weather.

#3: Pay attention to your body and listen if it needs to slow down.

Training pace is not a one-size-fits-all issue. If you are following a training plan or someone else’s guidelines don’t be afraid to make modifications if your body needs to slow down at times. If you are doing your own thing then make sure to listen to your body and give yourself rests when it is needed.

If you push too hard too fast you can end up with overuse injuries that take you out of the running game for awhile or severely slow your training down. Your body will talk to you if you pay attention.

Some aches and pains are normal, but you shouldn’t feel severe pain. Also look for signs of fatigue and exhaustion which can be signs that you are pushing too hard at the moment and need to give yourself a break.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take a day or two off before a race. Rest up and restore your energy so you don’t face exhaustion on the big day.

#4: Smoother, softer surfaces are best.

It is easy to find a sidewalk or perhaps a concrete path to run on, but it is best to go for a dirt trail or some other surface that is softer. Long distance runners can develop joint and back problems over time because of the pounding their body takes during those long runs. The softer the surface, the more you spare your joints.

You can also do some of your runs indoors on a treadmill to go even lighter on your body. Just make sure outdoor running is part of the plan as well.

#5: Every workout doesn’t have to be ball-busting hardcore.

You don’t have to run your body into exhaustion every time you set out for a run. Some of your runs should be light, casual runs that work the body with less stress. You should also do some interval training that doesn’t focus directly on increasing your distance.

Long distance running is about going further, but it is also about form, speed and control. If you are just beginning as a runner you may want to do a lot of reading to learn why these other things are so important when running the distance.

It takes a lot of dedication and passion to survive in the world of long distance running. Do you still think you have what it takes?

 

Choosing your best time of day to run

Many folks enjoy running early in the morning.

I often see runners at 5 AM and 6 AM, when the air is cool and the streets are quiet, and the sun is barely blinking its eye above the horizon. I can understand the attraction of running at early dawn.

It is peaceful and quiet and serene. Arguably, as there is very little traffic to be concerned with it is also fairly safe. Additionally, running when it is cool and the sun is barely above the horizon protects you from overheating and possible heatstroke, especially in the warmer months.

However, living in Calgary up in Canada, the winters are long and harsh and it is frequently -40??C before the sun rises. This climate creates additional concerns such as frostbite and slippery, icy roads and pathways.

Running in the middle of the day much like I do also has its benefits.

I consider the middle of the day to be anywhere from 10 AM to 3 or 4 PM. As I am not a morning person, my body is stiff and takes a while to warm up once I am awake.

In the winter months with the sun shining on you it is also a beneficial way to get some vitamin D.

Also, during this time there is no peak hour traffic to contend with and so safety is not too much of a concern. In the summer months however, the middle of the day can be extremely hot, which can cause dehydration and perhaps heatstroke.

How about running in the evening or late at night?

I would suggest not running between the hours of 4 PM to 6 PM (unless you live in a rural area), because the amount of smog created as traffic congestion peaks.

From 6 PM onwards the traffic lessens and the evening is cool which allows the body to run at peak performance. Once again, running at night can have its challenges, especially if it???s dark. It is of paramount importance to wear reflectors and brightly colored clothing.

In the cold winter months however, running at night can create the same difficulties with exposure to cold and slippery conditions as can be found in the early mornings.

Whether you run the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, the choice is yours.

I don???t think there is any ???best??? time of day for every runner.

In fact, I sometimes run at different times of the day, depending on my mood and/or work and family commitments. Personally, I love to run when it is warm outside as it doesn???t affect me detrimentally. Other runners prefer to run when it???s cooler in the early mornings, or early evenings, and this is fine as well.

So, whatever time of day you choose, it???s the right time of day for you. Just be aware of some of the safety issues and any other concerns that might be particular to that time of day.

Bearing this in mind, any time of day can be a terrific time for a run.

Morning? Noon? Afternoon? Night? Just go outside and pick your best time to run. Happy running!

What happens when you wear the wrong running shoes

Finding the RIGHT running shoes for YOU can be daunting task taking into consideration the endless options you have but it is certainly worth the effort. Your running shoes play a major role diminishing the effect of the hammering of your feet when they hit the ground. In addition, your shoes absorb all kinds shearing and twisting forces generated when you run.

So, if you choose the wrong running shoe, you will have to deal with all these side effects. This article provides essential running shoe buying tips to help you out. Let’s get started… 

What is pronation and how does it affect your choice of a running shoe?

Pronation is the rolling motion that absorbs the effect of landing on the outside of your heel as your feet hit the ground. That’s why; pronation is essential in helping you balance your run. However, it is not uncommon for runners “overpronate” and roll their feet too far while running.

You need to find out if you are an “overpronator” or not prior to buying running shoe as there are many shoes designed to help you control your foot strike and minimize the effect of overpronation.

In order to figure out your pronation level, you can get a Gait Test – a specialized test designed to test foot pronation level.

Running Shoes Types/purposes

  • Neutral: These shoes are designed for runners who have a normal pronation and those who “underpronate”. Underpronators in particular should look for well-cushioned running shoes.
  • Support: These types of shoes offer some support for overpronation reduction but they still have the same cushioning as neutral shoes. These shoes are ideal for those who mildly overpronate.
  • Motion Control: These shoes provides excessive support for heavy overpronators.
  • Trail: If you are running off road, go for these types of shoes
  • Lightweights: These shoes can be supportive or neutral but in both cases they are designed for use in racing or fast training
  • Racers: These shoes are designed exclusively for racing or ultra-fast training. Although these shoes are very light, they offer limited protection. However, some of them include overpronation support.

General running shoe buying tips

  • Try to buy your running shoes as late in the day as possible since studies have shown feet tend to expand few millimeters up to 2 centimeters by the end of the day
  • Go to specialized running stores or go for the running shoes section in big stores. Many runners have indicated that they get a much better quality in specialized running stores compared to ordinary sports shoes
  • Here is a common sense advice: make sure to try out the shoe wearing the same sock you plan to wear when running later on
  • Make sure to change your shoes after 400 miles of usage at most. This is because by that time, the shoe heel and mid sole will start to degenerate. You can still wear the shoes causally for walking or any non-running activity if you wish.
  • Make sure to measure your feet whenever you buy a new running shoe
  • In order to protect your toes while running and allow for the swelling of your feet as you run, make sure there is a finger-width space between your great toe and the shoe box. Alternatively, you can have a thumb width at the end of the shoe. You will end up buying shoes that are bigger in size than what you normally wear but that’s perfectly OK.
  • Enough is enough! You shouldn’t exceed the finger-wide span because it is not recommended to wear very loose running shoes.
  • if your running store offers a treadmill or forceplate assessment, by all means take advantage of that. However, to ensure accuracy, make sure that the one doing the assessment is qualified
  • NEVER wear a brand new running shoe for a race; make sure you already used them for 100 miles runs at minimum
  • Another common sense advise: avoid going to running shoe stores during weekends when they are overly crowded and you might not get the assistance you need

Does that sound like a lot of work?

Well, you must take your running alongside its requirement seriously. However, you may kiss running shoes goodbye forever and try barefoot running. Most barefoot runners are so happy about the experience but the final decision is yours. Whatever you do, make sure to keep running. Have fun!

 

Don???t Be An Idiot: Running Etiquette & General Tips

The no-no’s of running

  • Lining up at the front of the race and then running slower than a baby can crawl.
  • Abruptly stopping during a race. Move to the side first!
  • Running without recovery days, and then complaining about getting injured.
  • Not returning greetings or simple nods when passing another runner.
  • Don’t bring your untrained dog to a race.
  • “I just started running. Can I run a marathon in 6 weeks?”
  • If you must spit or blow your nose please do so at the back of the pack.
  • Runners, don’t run WITH traffic. (Are you crazy?)
  • Don’t be a jerk when talking about your pace. (Check out these cartoons)
  • Cutting other runners off & slowing down.
  • Throwing drinks at the feet of the runners behind you.
    Act like a grown-up and throw it in the bin a few paces down the road.
  • Not paying attention to traffic or signals: It makes us all look bad.
  • Ignoring injuries and trying to ‘run through’ them.
  • If you use someone’s mp3-player / gps-tracker, recharge the batteries!
  • Don’t group-hog the entire road/trail width! Let others pass.
  • Being unaware of your surroundings. Does your music have to be that loud? Really?
  • Stopping IMMEDIATELY after the finish line. Keep going a few meters to get out of the way.
  • Don’t give advice without being asked. This holds true to most sports.
  • Bitching about what’s better: Minimal, barefoot or simple running shoes.
    Choose your own poison and enjoy yourself.
  • Not thanking the volunteers.
  • If you must, then at least look before you spit.
  • Don’t be an elitist *insert inappropriate word*. Whether people run 2 miles or 50 miles a week, they’re runners.
  • If the track is very busy, don’t run upstream.
  • If you have a bad case of the tummy demons, it’s nice to move to the back of the line as to not poison the rest of the group behind you.
  • Play nice. Follow the track rules, and don’t be arrogant when someone points out those rules. Crowded tracks need a set of standards to avoid injuries.
  • Don’t cheat races.
  • Inside lanes on tracks are for fast runners.
  • Don’t literally push people forward when the starting gun has fired.
  • Don’t complain about the workout of your group / partner.
  • If running with someone slower, don’t pressure them to speed up.
  • When your running on trails with your dog, clean up its mess.

All the answers above were compiled by RunAddicts from Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook

The New Year???s Resolution: Start Running! (Motivation, Tips & Tricks!)

The following is a list of great blog posts, spread over a number of running blogs, which will help, inform or motivate you as a new runner!

Tales & some tips from a formerly fat, “I’ll never run” chick

A year ago at this time, I would’ve thought that there was a better chance of going to the moon or making out with Ben Affleck (maybe making out with Ben Affleck on the moon) before I would ever, ever take up running.
2 half marathons, a running blog and a lost 30 pounds later, here I am training to run my first full marathon in June.

Read the article

7 tips for aspiring crazy runners

So you want to be a crazy runner? Maybe you already are – you just don’t know it yet!  Here are seven tips for navigating the road to running insanity.  Er – bliss.

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Less is More

It is easier to keep one New Year’s Resolution than many. Here is why you can have your cake and eat it too if you make your only New Year’s Resolution to take up running – by someone who lost 10kg / 22lbs thanks to running, while eating and drinking whatever he likes.

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New Year Equals New Runners

Meggie talks about how it takes knowledge and tenacity to become a runner. She is offering a few tips which will help you on your way!

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UNLEASHING the RUNNER WITHIN: 9 New Runner Rules

The RUNNER WITHIN is inside you. Always has been. And he/she wants to come out to play… But how to UNLEASH that runner in a smart and realistic way that won’t leave you hating it?

Below are 9 NEW RUNNER RULES to get you ready hit the road! (And coming back for more…)

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Is Running One of Your New Year’s Resolutions?
Here’s a 5-Point Plan for Success

Don’t get sucked into making a fitness resolution this year without a plan to achieve it. Use this simple 5-Point plan of attack to start running, stick to your goals, and achieve success.

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5 Beautifying Treadmill Tips

Starting to run during the cold & dark winter months can be defeating, especially if it’s done on a treadmill. Blistertoe gives 5 tips to outsmart Ol’ Jack Frost & beat the monotony of treadmill running.

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The guide to becoming a marathon runner

What to eat, a training plan, and great tips beginners may not know. Plus, the post is full of encouraging words!

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New to Running in 2011?

Hi this is Ashley from Getting Stronger, burning fat. Here are 10 tips to begin running in 2011. You can accomplish any goals you have by following these guidelines to ensure safe, fun running! This article covers proper stretching, shoes, run/walk method etc Good  luck!

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Unleash the Runner Within

No matter who you are, this article will give you some tips on how you can unleash your inner runner.

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So You Want To Run, eh?

How to start running, what time of day to run, where, gear, motivation.

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Let’s run!