Running is one of the most popular and accessible forms of exercise. It can improve your physical and mental well-being, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and help you achieve your fitness goals. However, not all running is equal. How you run can make a big difference in the results you get. That’s why running better is important for your health and performance.
Running better means running with moderate intensity, good form, variety, and balance. It also means running with proper gear, such as running shoes, clothes, accessories, and a water bottle. Running better can help you avoid injuries, dehydration, boredom, and burnout. It can also help you enhance your cardiovascular health, bone strength, mood, memory, and immunity. By making running a habit and following some tips and precautions, you can run better and enjoy its benefits.
The Benefits of Running Better
Running has many health benefits that go beyond burning calories and losing weight. However, not all running is equal. How you run can make a big difference in the results you get. Here are some of the main advantages of running better:
- Better cardio health. Running better means running at a moderate intensity that challenges your heart but does not exhaust you. It also means running for at least 150 minutes per week, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Running better can strengthen your heart and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Stronger bones and muscles. Running better means running with good form and posture, which can prevent injuries and improve your efficiency. It also means running on different surfaces and terrains, which can stimulate bone formation and prevent osteoporosis. It also means running at varying speeds and distances, which can build and tone your muscles, especially in your legs, hips, and core.
- Improved mood and energy. Running better means running with a positive attitude and a clear goal, which can boost your self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. It also means running with music, podcasts, or audiobooks, which can keep you entertained and motivated. It also means running with friends, family, or a group, which can make you feel happy and relaxed. Running better can release endorphins, the natural chemicals that make you feel good. It can also help you cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Enhanced memory and cognition. Running better means running with focus and a challenge, which can enhance your memory, learning, and creativity. It also means running in the morning or afternoon, which can increase the blood flow and oxygen to your brain, which improves its function and structure. It also means running in nature or in a new environment, which can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and protect against age-related cognitive decline.
- Lower risk of infections and cancer. Running better means running with a balanced and healthy diet, which can boost your immune system and help you fight off infections and inflammation. It also means running with proper hydration and electrolyte replenishment, which can prevent dehydration, cramps, fatigue, or heatstroke. It also means running with adequate rest and recovery, which can lower your risk of developing some types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer.
How Running Can Improve Happiness
Running is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and boost mood, self-esteem, and well-being. These chemicals are produced by your brain and body when you exercise and can create a positive feeling during and after your run. This is sometimes called the “runner’s high” and can result in feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and satisfaction. Here are some of reasons why it adds happiness in your life:
- Improve your happiness by giving you a sense of accomplishment, challenge, and purpose. Setting and achieving running goals, such as running a certain distance or time, can increase your confidence and motivation.
- Provide you with a focus and a challenge, which can enhance your memory, learning, and creativity. Running can also give you a purpose and a meaning, which can make you feel happier and more fulfilled.
- Improve your happiness by connecting you with nature, yourself, and others. exposing you to natural light, fresh air, and green spaces, which can improve your mood and energy.
- Help you connect with yourself by allowing you to listen to your body, mind, and emotions.
- Help you connect with others by joining a running club, group, or community, or by running with friends, family, or a partner.
- Releasing feel-good chemicals, boosting your self-esteem, enhancing your brain function, and fostering social connections.
- Running can make you happier and healthier, both physically and mentally.
How to run better
Test out a quicker pace. One of the first steps to running better is to learn what it feels like to pick up the pace. Start with short bursts of speed work and then return to your usual pace. Keep in mind that increasing your speed might leave you more winded than usual at first, which is why it’s important to regulate your breathing.
Work on your form. Proper running form can make you a more efficient runner, which will help you go faster. Making even minor adjustments to your posture and gait helps your body move with less exertion and more ease. The result is that you have more energy available to help fuel a faster running pace.
Count your strides. Counting your strides can help increase your stride turnover, which is the number of steps you take every minute you run. Doing so will help you run faster. Run for about 30 seconds at a pace that you can sustain for three miles, and count each time your right foot hits the ground. Double the number to get your overall stride turnover rate. Many runners target a turnover rate of about 180.
Run more often. In many cases, increasing your weekly mileage will help to increase your overall speed. If you usually run once a week but participate in workout classes most other days of the week, you may notice improvements in your pace if you swap a few of those workout days with running days. If your goal is to increase your running pace, you should be running at least two or three days each week.
Try it on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill can help you improve your running performance by giving you more control and flexibility over your workouts. You can use the treadmill settings and features to customize your runs and challenge yourself.
Running better needs proper gears
To run better and more comfortably, you need some basic running gear. Here are some of the essential items you should have:
Running shoes. Running shoes are the most important piece of gear for runners. They provide cushioning, support, and stability for your feet and ankles. You should choose running shoes that fit your foot shape, size, and arch type. You should also replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles or when they show signs of wear and tear.
There are many brands that offer high-quality running shoes for different types of runners and preferences. Some of the top brands are Brooks, Hoka, New Balance, Nike, Adidas, Asics, Saucony, and On. You can find more details and reviews about each brand and model on their websites or online retailers.
Running clothes. Running clothes should be breathable, moisture-wicking, and comfortable. You should wear clothes that suit the weather and the season. For example, you should wear layers, gloves, and a hat in cold weather, and shorts, a tank top, and sunglasses in hot weather. You should also wear reflective or bright-colored clothes if you run in the dark. Some of the best brands for running clothes are Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon, Vuori, Rabbit, and Brooks. You can also check out their websites or online stores for more options and styles.
Running accessories. Running accessories can enhance your running experience and performance. Although it is not necessary, running accessories really depend on your personal needs and preferences.
- A running watch. A running watch can track your time, distance, pace, heart rate, and calories burned. It can also help you set and monitor your goals, plan your workouts, and analyze your progress. One of the best running watches for 2024 is the Garmin Forerunner 265, which has many features to help you track, optimize, and enjoy your runs. By making running a habit and following some tips and precautions, you can run better and reap its benefits.
- A running belt. A running belt can hold your essentials, such as your phone, keys, wallet, and snacks. It can also keep your hands free and your items secure while you run. The FlipBelt Classic is a versatile and durable running belt that can suit any runner’s needs and preferences.
- A water bottle. A water bottle can keep you hydrated and prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. You should drink water before, during, and after your run, especially if you run for more than an hour or in hot weather. Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra has a 20 oz. capacity, an insulated sleeve, an ergonomic design, and a zippered pocket. It fits comfortably and securely in your hand and helps you stay hydrated and perform better on your runs.
- A pair of headphones. A pair of headphones can keep you entertained and motivated while you run. Beats Powerbeats Pro Earbuds. These earbuds are wireless, water-resistant, and have an earhook design that ensures a secure and comfortable fit. They also have a long battery life, a balanced sound profile, and easy-to-use controls. They are compatible with both iOS and Android devices, and they support voice assistants.
Running is a great way to improve your health, fitness, and well-being. It has many benefits, such as better cardio health, stronger bones and muscles, improved mood and energy, enhanced memory and cognition, and a lower risk of infections and cancer. However, running better can make a big difference in the results you get. To run better and enjoy its benefits, you need some basic running gear, such as running shoes, running clothes, running accessories, and a water bottle. By making running a habit and following some tips and precautions, you can run better and reap its rewards.