Running Without Running Out of Gas

by Wellness Editor – MH

When the phrase “active lifestyle” comes up, one of the activities that may come to mind is running. To be sure, running on a regular basis can be very beneficial to the human body, helping to shed pounds and improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. For those used to a sedentary lifestyle, however, going for a run can turn into an endurance test in a matter of minutes. Even more experienced runners can struggle with tiring relatively early during their runs. If you encounter such energy problems, the following tips may help keep you up and running for a longer period of time.

Warm Up Before Running – Though you might want to jump right into a running session, an adequate warm up is necessary to get the most out of your body. A solid warm-up routine can includes such activities as leg stretches, leg lifts and some walking.

Properly Hydrate Your Body – We’d be willing to bet that, somewhere along the line, you’ve heard the “eight glasses of water” per day guideline. This sage advice takes on an even greater level of importance while performing exercises, including running. Prior to going for a run, make sure to consume at least one glass of water. If possible, try bringing a water bottle along for your run.

Get Enough Sleep The Night Before – Yes, this is another piece of advice that you can file under “blatantly obvious,” but millions of people still fail to get a good night sleep on routine basis. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this bad habit can make running more of a challenge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Refrain From Skipping Meals – While skipping breakfast can be a short-term solution to an early morning time crunch, such a decision tends to come back to haunt people later in the day. Failing to eat breakfast will cause you to feel increasingly hungry and lethargic as the day progresses. To make matters worse, people often compound this problem by overeating at lunchtime. Consequentially, these same people will still feel tired in the afternoon, albeit for a different reason (digesting a sizable meal requires a good deal of energy).

Avoid Overkill – A novice runner might attempt to run as fast as possible for the duration of their run. This would be a clear mistake, as a body unaccustomed to running will wear down fairly quickly. Instead, initially run at a jogging pace, and steadily increase your speed until you are running. When your body begins to fatigue, slow down and resume jogging.

Be Mindful of Your Breathing – It’s very easy to ignore the body’s involuntary functions (i.e. the actions the body performs without us consciously realizing it). Though you may not be used to doing it, carefully regulating your breathing while running can help prevent you from getting winded. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and exhale the breath in a steady manner through your mouth.

Remember to Cool Down – When you are finally done running, it’s important to properly cool down afterwards. Failing to do so can induce feelings of dizziness, nausea and weariness. A good post-run cool down should include a good amount of walking; aim for at least five minutes of walking for every 30 minutes spent running.

With that done, proceed to stretch your hamstrings, calf, quadriceps and groin muscles. Performing some toe-touches (with your knees slightly bent) should give your hamstrings a good stretch. Calf stretches also require little effort; simply stand about two feet from a wall, place your hands on the wall’s surface and lean forward. The quadriceps muscles can be stretched by grabbing your ankle and pulling it behind your buttocks. Lastly, you can stretch your groin muscles by sitting on the ground with the soles of your feet placed together. After assuming this position, slowly bring your feet inward. All of the stretches described above should be held for 30 to 45 seconds.

Pace Yourself – While picking up jogging and/or running is certainly a healthy lifestyle choice, too much of any type of physical activity can be harmful to the body. Your muscles, joints and bones need time to recover after an extended run; without sufficient rest, your body can quickly become sluggish and fatigued while running. Three runs per week should be enough for your body to reap the rewards of running.

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