Picture this: your motivation is high, you’ve got your joggers on, music’s blasting. But you’re still feeling anxious and a little ill-prepared for your run? You’re not alone and as much as we’d love to say “just get out there and have a crack” like pretty much the rest of adulthood, it’s easier said than done. We chatted to Men's Health Fitness Director and running guru, Todd Liubinskas, on how to create a fool-proof running routine that will help you smash out your next run.
Running is like forming a habit, you don’t have to do it every day for the next 90 days for it to stick. But having a routine will help you get fitter faster, reduce your chance of injury and you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it more.
1. Fill the tank
When it comes to getting started it’s important to fuel your body. Pre-running nutrition varies from person to person so play around and work out what suits you. As you increase your mileage be mindful of your fuel, just because you didn’t need anything before a 5km doesn’t mean you won’t need a little something for a 15km. A banana or a slice of toast is what Susan Bowerman, from UCLA Center for Human Nutrition recommends. And no matter the case make sure you stay hydrated, drink at least 350ml of fluid before your workout.
2. Get pumped
Before you hit the pavement at pace make sure you have a good warm up under your belt. Todd recommends an active warm-up of between five and eight minutes. “We have to make sure we put ourselves through an in-depth warm up so we don’t do a nasty injury,” advises Todd.
It’s really important to ensure our body is in prime condition before we run, and we show you some key warm up techniques and stretches in our video below, that you can use next time you go for a run.
3. Be prepared
There’s no quicker way to ruin a run than to be poorly prepared. Especially if you’re heading for an early morning jog make sure you prepare the night before. Running gear, headphones and a good supportive shoe. Our pick? Under Armour’s HovrTM Infinite running shoe, the UA HovrTM technology provides a ‘zero gravity feel’ which will help you maintain springy takeoffs and comfortable landings i.e it will feel like you’re running on a cloud.
4. Eye on the prize
If you don’t know where the finish line is getting moving is going to be a whole lot harder. Before you start, set yourself a goal for your run, a specific distance or time will help you hold yourself accountable. You can also track your progress each run with a fitness app like MapMyRun.
5. Cool off
Reward your muscles after your jog, no matter the distance with a cool down stretch sequence. Even if you only have a couple of minutes to stretch this will help speed up your recovery process and help prevent injuries. If you’re after a bit of extra lovin’ try a magnesium oil spray and a foam roller.
One of the most fundamental ways to boost recovery is hydration. The biggest issue? It’s so often overlooked. Our muscles are actually 75% water, which makes getting enough H2O, daily, even more vital. So make sure it’s a part of your routine.