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Switch things up and see improvement when you vary your running routine

Everything can feel out of balance when you initially vary your running routine. Have you added new workouts? Are you getting up earlier than normal? Is your distance progressively increasing? Will you accrue some of your miles on a trail? All of these changes can impact your schedule and how your body feels after. This is much better than running the same route and distance every time. You’ll eventually adjust to your new routine and begin to see improvements! However you vary your running routine, don’t skip the warm-up.

How can you vary your running routine?

Switch up your running routine to see improvements.

There are many ways to add some spice and excitement to your routine. Below are 5 different ways you can change things up. You can mix and match several of them to work in concert with one another. Make sure you’re adjusting your routine to fit your schedule and your goals.

  1. Frequency

Increase or decrease in the number of days you run. This will fluctuate depending on your goals, the number of rest days, and how often you cross-train (workout, swim, yoga, cycle, etc.). 

  1. Intensity

Adjust your intensity to coincide with the distance of your run.

Use your heart rate to change this variable. If you prefer to run for long distances at a steady pace, consider adding a workout with shorter distances with more intense efforts. If you normally run just a few miles at a fast pace, you’ll need to dial your effort back if you begin to increase your mileage. Do you want to take your kids with you on your run? Learn how to run with a stroller and know that you’ll have to adjust the intensity of your run.

  1. Length

This is dependent on your goals and the training plan you’re following. If you’re running to stay healthy, perhaps you stay in the 10-20-mile range every week, but you adjust the intensity and change your routes. If you’re training for a half marathon, then you’ll need to increase your weekly mileage as you get closer to race day. Pro tip: as you’re increasing your mileage, this advice can help you prevent and cure shin splints.

  1. Type

Include staircase runs and hill repeats to get stronger.

You can adjust how you run based on your smaller weekly goals that lead to your larger goal. If you want to get faster, include track workouts or interval training. Include hill repeats or staircase runs to strengthen your lower body and improve your breathing ability. These 7 different types of runs will help you switch things up.

  1. Location

Don’t just run the same one or two routes all the time. Switch it up! If you run the same thing all the time, your body will become accustomed to that route. Whether you add hills to your route or take it to the trails, you’ll become stronger when you change your route. Add some track workouts to increase your speed.

How often should you vary your running routine?

The answer to this question depends on what you want from running. If you’re after general fitness, then consider changing it up every 4 to 6 weeks. If you’re planning to run a half marathon, then you’ll want to vary your running routine for the 3 to 4 months you’re training. Even small, weekly changes help because you’re giving your body a new set of challenges. They’ll help you reach your ultimate goal.

Whatever your goals are, you can become a better runner when you vary your running routine. Remember to change things up based on how they help you reach your goals. There might be some growing pains and slight changes to your schedule, but you’ll eventually settle in! Don’t forget to adjust your nutrition too. These 4 taco recipes are delicious and a great place to start!

Runners can complete these 6 beneficial exercises anytime, anywhere

More and more people are joining the running community. People are attracted by running’s simplicity and numerous health benefits. The best part is, you don’t need fancy equipment, weights, or elaborate training to get into the groove of running. All you need is a pair of shoes. Running is great, but you need to complement it with beneficial exercises that will help you get stronger and reduce the chance of injury. Check out our list of 6 beneficial exercises that will optimize your running workout and prevent injuries. You can do these exercises anywhere, anytime. Pro tip: complement all your exercising with a healthy diet. These 10 delicious recipes are ideal for busy runners.

6 beneficial exercises

  1. Squats

Squats strengthen your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. This will help your running form, especially if you recently started running.

How to do them

Stand up straight and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body while bending your knees. You can use your arms to balance your body. Or you can place your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers. This will make your core work harder. Make sure that your chest is lifted and you’re looking up. Try to go as low as possible and then rise up slowly, while keeping your back straight the entire time. Place your feet side-by-side if you want to increase the level of difficulty. 

  1. Lunges

Lunges are great for making your quads, hamstrings, and glutes stronger. They also help with flexibility and improving your range of motion which is important for long-distance running.

How to do them

Stand straight and take a step forward with one leg while bending both knees. The knee of the leg that took the step should bend at a 90-degree angle and your other knee should barely touch or hover just above the ground. You can then push back up, take another step with the opposite leg, and complete the entire process. If you don’t have much space, just return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. 

  1. Single-leg deadlifts

One-legged deadlifts help with balance and strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. These are also great if you’re looking for a quick and effective pre-run warm-up.

How to do them

Stand straight keeping your body weight focused on one leg. Hold your core tight and lift one leg behind you, while pushing your upper body forward. Lower your body as far as you can, while keeping your back straight. Slowly return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg.

  1. Pushups

Pushups are great for working all upper body muscles and your core.

How to do them

Get down on all fours, while keeping your hands and toes wider than your shoulders. Move your legs back from this position so that your body weight is balanced on your hands and toes. Keep your back straight, hold your abs tight and engaged, and slowly lower yourself while bending your elbows. Push yourself back up, while straightening your elbows. 

  1. Planks

Planks help strengthen your core.

How to do them

First, enter a pushup position. Focus on keeping your core tight while bending your elbows. Lower your body from this position so that your weight is balanced on your forearms and toes. Try to keep your back straight without sinking. Engage your abs and hold this position for as long as possible. For beginners, 30 seconds is a great start.

  1. Burpees

Burpees help increase endurance and build aerobic capacity. They will work out your entire body. 

How to do them

Begin standing up, then squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you. From this position, kick your feet back to a pushup position. Keep your back straight, complete a pushup, and jump back into a squat by kicking your feet forward. Stand up straight and repeat the process. 

As you get stronger and become more comfortable with these beneficial exercises, try to increase the difficulty level. You can do more reps, more sets, or increase the amount of time spent doing an exercise. By adding these exercises to your routine, you reduce the chance you experience runner burnout.

5 tips to inspire yourself, boost your motivation, and become a better runner

Let’s face it, there are days when you don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn for a run. Similarly, no one really wants to leave work, get home, and head out for a run. No matter how much you love running there are going to be days when you don’t feel like it. This happens to all runners. There’s a secret ingredient that can help you overcome this: inspire yourself. This is helpful for every runner, especially if you’re training for your first half marathon.

Set smaller goals that lead to your large goal, like the finish line.

Inspiring yourself is easier said than done. The difference between those who give up and those who keep running is motivation. Running provides amazing benefits, but you can’t take advantage of them if you don’t run. There are many ways to inspire yourself no matter what level of runner you are. Even the most experienced runners will revert back to what they first learned when they started running. Whether you just started running or need a refresher, the 5 tips below will help you inspire yourself.

  1. Start small

The easiest way to scare yourself away from running daily is to choose large goals that you can’t yet reach. You can’t run ten miles on your first day, much less at the end of your first week. Creating larger long-term goals and smaller short-term goals is the key to success. 

You need to understand your body and your limits. How much are you comfortable with running in a day? Start small and when you get used to that, increase the distance. Eventually, you’ll reach your goal of running ten miles a day. You can inspire yourself along the journey by setting small, accomplishable goals and achieving them.

  1. Mix it up

Mixing it up can help you keep it fresh and avoid runner burnout.

Running along the same route can become boring and routine. Mix it up and change your routes every few days. You can explore new areas (just make sure they’re safe places to run), enjoy new parts of your city, and most importantly, find reasons to keep running. You could even meet other runners and make new friends along the way. Allow yourself to use running as a way to unwind and explore, instead of seeing it as a chore. This strategy will also help you avoid runner burnout.

  1. Tell your friends and family

There’s no better way to stay motivated than to tell the people you know about your running goals. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, hold yourself accountable, and you’ll have one less excuse to give up. Share photos from your run on Instagram or Twitter. Use relevant hashtags so other runners can see what you did. You can see what they’ve done and might get inspired by them. Sharing your fitness goals makes you accountable for your success. You just might inspire someone else along the way.

  1. Expect failure

Failure will help you achieve your goals.

No one has ever succeeded 100% of the time. Failure can be a key factor that demotivates people from continuing running. The secret is to know about this ahead of time so you can be prepared for it. If you miss out on a day of running, that’s fine. If you catch a cold and can’t run for a week, that’s fine. Running is all about taking care of yourself, understanding your limits, and doing your best. Not someone else’s best.

Expect to fail, and know that even if you fail to meet your goal, you will have another chance to succeed. It’s also important to learn why you failed. Were you not paying attention to your stride and did you land awkwardly? Did you not hydrate enough or eat before your run? Perhaps you started your long run too fast. Everything that could lead to failure is a teachable moment from which you can learn.

  1. Just do it

You’ve probably heard this one plenty of times before, but it works! If you’re procrastinating and don’t feel like running, just get up and run. Once you’re actually running, there’s a good chance you’ll keep going. There’s an old saying that getting your shoes on is the hardest part of the run. So lace up those shoes and go. If you need more motivation, add a small reward at the end of your run. Something that you’ll look forward to. Remember, running can reduce stress and anxiety. You’ll feel much better at the end of your run, even if it’s a short one.

There are going to be days when you don’t feel like running and there are going to be days when you fail to reach your goals. If you inspire yourself, then that’s like having a personal coach who completely understands you and is there to help you on your running journey. Stay motivated, keep running, and pretty soon you’ll reach your long-term goals.