Running is one of the best exercises that you can do. It’s a great cardio exercise that helps you burn calories, strengthen joints and muscles, help you stay fit, and can also reduce the side effects of aging. It’s a hard exercise to excel at, so we’re here to help. There are a few things you can do to become a better runner:

Couch to 5K ProgramStart slow

If you’re new to running, you should start from the bottom. Walk a few laps, work your way up to a slow jog, then into a faster paced run. This will ease the stress on your joints and give your muscles time to adjust. Mix up your routine. Walk for ten minutes, jog for ten minutes, walk for ten minutes, jog for ten minutes. Then, as your body gets used to the jogging, you can add running to your routine. Moving slowly will help you in the long run.

Stretch

Stretching out your muscles before and after each run will help you get started and cool down quicker. You’re less likely to strain a muscle if you stretch properly the first time around. The better your stretching routine, the less likely you are to endure an injury during your exercise.

Dress properly

Nothing helps you run better than wearing the proper pair of shoes. One running shoe does not fit all. Some people prefer form fitting shoes, while others need more arch support. The shoe can make all the difference, so be sure to pick the one that suits you.

Stay hydrated

Cardio exercises cause you to produce a lot of sweat. Sweat is great. It means you’re working hard and detoxifying your body. But you have to replace the electrolytes you’re losing during the workout. Hydration is key. While you’re training, there won’t be a fan on the sidelines passing out cups of water, so staying hydrated is your responsibility.

Set goals

Sign yourself up to run in a 5K or other marathon. That way, you’ll have a long-term goal to shoot for. If you’re not up for a long distance run, set weekly goals. Try and beat your one-mile time each week. Goals will help you continue to improve.

Track your progress

If you’re tech savvy, use your Fitbit to track your steps or download an app on your phone that helps you track your mileage, time, and calories. This can be extremely beneficial in your training routine.

dem_1035Learn proper form

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to run. Improper form can hurt your back, hips, or legs. To avoid injury, be sure to run properly.

Run with a group

Find a running buddy or join one of our Couch to 5K programs and become a better runner with like-minded people. Here, you will learn proper form and work with coaches to ease your way into long distance running.

Switch up your routine

Let’s face it, running can be boring. To spice it up, take different outdoor routes, or run various intervals. Try to break up the monotony every once in a while, or you could lose your motivation.

Practice strength training

Running isn’t all about cardio. Working on improving your leg, hip, arm, and back strength will help you become a better runner. It will help with your form and help you progress faster.