Running is an excellent way to get into and stay in shape. It’s fun to do once you get the hang of it and can quickly improve your physical and mental health.
If you’re just starting out and experimenting with the activity then you may feel a bit anxious or intimidated. While it’s normal to feel this way initially, it’s also important you work to overcome any hesitations you’re feeling and find ways to become a better runner. The following ideas will help put you on the right track so you can meet your goals and succeed as a runner.
1. Make A Plan
Your first step if you want to become a better runner is to make a plan for what you want to achieve. Think it through and begin to set realistic and attainable goals for yourself that you can work toward accomplishing. Remind yourself that you’re not going to improve overnight and that it will take time before you feel confident and strong running. It may be that you want to run a half or full marathon or that you want to work up to running five miles at a time for starters. You may slack or miss your target if you have generic plans. Instead, record down your goals and specifics about how you’ll meet each one and then review them daily.
2. Invest in the Right Clothes & Gear
Another tip to help you become a better runner is to invest in the right clothes and gear. It’ll not only help you perform well but will also help prevent the chance for injury or aches and pains. The first item you should invest in is a good pair of running shoes. Don’t just go by the looks of them but read reviews online and figure out which shoes are best for running and the most comfortable. Set your shoes aside when you’re not using them and only wear them when you’re running or training. Go for a trial run with them when they arrive and make sure they’re a good fit. Also, confirm you have the right type of running clothes for all kinds of weather conditions and socks made for runners.
3. Boost Your Energy
If you want to become a better runner then you should know the importance of your diet and energy levels. Boost your energy, stamina, and mental focus by getting plenty of sleep, replenishing lost vitamins and electrolytes with drinks and supplements, and consuming a diet high in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. The more energy you have the better you’ll feel and the longer you’ll be able to go. Also, make sure you eat enough of the right carbohydrates to help improve your performance and ensure you can make it long distances.
4. Train & Get Stronger
You must practice and train if you’re going to become a better runner. Your goal is to get stronger and gain more muscle by shedding unwanted pounds and fat. Cross-training is an excellent way to challenge your body in new and different ways and start building more stamina. While running is your focus, it’s not the only exercise you should be doing as part of your workout routine. Incorporate weight training, playing sports and focusing on strengthening your legs and core. You’ll discover you run better, faster, and further when you take the extra weight off and have a strong and resilient body and frame.
5. Learn from & Work with Others
Consider finding a running mentor, workout buddy, or joining a club as a way to become a better runner. You can learn a lot from observing and working with others who know what they’re doing. It can be challenging to always have to push yourself and stay motivated to work out. Therefore, find someone who can act as your accountability partner and help you improve your running technique. Working out with a trainer or as part of a club will motivate you to work harder and stay focused on meeting your goals.
6. Make Time to Rest & Recover
An essential part of running is the recovery period. It’s necessary so you can perform your best and avoid injury. Your body and muscles need time to rest and recover so that when you get back out there they can function well and help you do your best. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how well you do running, recovery should always be part of your schedule. Make sure you warm-up and warm down before and after each running session or workout too. It may help to invest in a massage once in a while and to get more and better sleep.
7. Perfect Your Mental Game
Running isn’t just about physical motion and getting stronger. It’s also about your mental toughness and how you think. You can become a better runner by working on your thoughts and what’s going through your mind. You can train all you want but when it comes time to get to the finish line you’ll need your brain telling you that you can do it. You’ll need a way to persevere through the discomfort and keep your legs going when all you want to do is quit. Running well is about being in shape physically but also ensuring you have the confidence in yourself you need to get to the next level of success.
8. Know Your Limits
You can become a better runner by knowing your limits and not overdoing it. Take rest days seriously and stop exercising if you’re feeling weak or are in pain. Remind yourself that you don’t have to crush it during every run. You can and will have down and off days and that’s okay. Choose to do interval training or run faster some days and other times go at a steady pace or even include some short recovery runs where you walk and jog slowly. Getting better and improving as a runner is a process and you need to stay patient as you work toward your goals.