When you think about running, what comes to mind? For some of us, running doesn’t seem like there’s all that much behind it. You just have to put one foot in front of another and keep moving forward at a somewhat fast pace, right? It’s not rocket science.
For others though, running isn’t just a case of putting one foot in front of another. In fact, there’s almost a science behind running; a science which follows a strict set of rules and regulations. Those running rules are what makes sure that we don’t suffer from consistent injuries, or that we don’t give up on our great running plans after a couple of days or weeks.
To help you get involved with running yourself, I’ve put together a kind-of ABC of running rules. These are the things you – as a runner – should be keeping in mind and pay attention to when you hit the pavement.
Allow 10 Minutes of Walking
Start every run with 10 minutes of walk or slow (er) movement to help your body get warmed up. This should help stop you from getting any cramps or pains after you’ve been running for a while. It should also stop you waking up the next morning and feeling as though your body has been put through a marathon.
You should also try to do this after you’ve finished the run for another 10 minutes. If it’s a warm day, you can usually cut the time down to 8 minutes. Remember though, there’s nothing quite like a good warm-up / warm-down.
Conversation Should Be Possible
The second of our running rules is that conversation should be possible whilst you’re running. That’s right, you shouldn’t be panting and struggling to make it to the next checkpoint along your route. If you’re finding it so tough that you can’t speak, it’s time to slow down for a little while (not stop) and get your body back to normal. The exception to this is if you’re going hard runs or speed runs.
Easy Days Take the Pain Away
After each running day, one of our running rules is that we should take a break or ‘easy’ day. That doesn’t mean that we have to stop, but it does mean that we need to give our bodies time to rest and recover from what we’ve been doing to them. There are a couple of things you can still do to keep active on these days, but it’s completely your choice. What do you think your body can handle?
Headwinds Do Slow You Down
Adverse weather conditions are going to slow you down, so you should try to factor that into your running plans and approach. If there’s a particularly strong wind one day, then you shouldn’t try to fight it. Instead, accept the fact that it’s going to be a more difficult run and adjust your time and speed accordingly.
You’ll have a lot fewer injuries this way, and be able to maintain a more consistent running approach for longer.
Level Up 10% at a Time
Moving up in difficulty is something which needs to be addressed by one of the running rules. When should you do it? How much should you increase it by? What happens if it gets too difficult? All great questions, and all questions which can be answered with the 10% at a time running rule. When leveling up, try to make things harder by 10% at a time (per week). This will help to reduce injuries and keep you moving forward consistently.
Mix It Up
The mix it up running rule states that you should do more than just running. Simply running on its own will lead to an increased likelihood of injuries and it’s just pretty boring. Instead, make sure to mix it up a little bit by trying out some other sports on the side.
Cycling or swimming are both good sports to give a go. This way, you’ll be exercising more muscle in your body and strengthening it as a whole, instead of just focusing on the muscles you use when you go running.
Specificity is Key
By specificity, I mean that you should be specifying what you think you’re going to be running on any one day. You shouldn’t set out with no goal in mind or just aimlessly start running like this guy. Goals will help to keep your motivated and know what you’re doing every day. That will contribute towards your wider running plans and mean that you won’t just have a burst of energy for a couple of days, but rather sustained momentum to keep your exercises up.
Sleep is Also Key
This one’s hopefully going to resonate with a lot of your guys out there – it does with us! For each mile your run, take an extra minute of sleep that night. So, if you run for 20 miles, have an extra 20 minutes of sleep. This will help your body to recover and get back out there the next day.
Very New Shoes
The Very New Shoes Running rule is designed in order to make sure that your feet don’t have to go through the pain of breaking in a new pair of running shoes when your old pair gives up. It states that you should make sure to start breaking in a new pair of shoes before your old pair isn’t usable. This means taking them for short runs and exercise sessions at least a couple of months before you’re left shoeless. The extra time you’ve dedicated to it will go a long way to making your feet feel pampered (kind of), trust us.
Get Yourself Motivated
If you’re worried about getting yourself motivated to get out the door and start running, then worry no more! I’ve got 10 great reasons why you should start running for you to look through.
I’m sure that by the time you’ve made it through the list, you’ll be rushing to get to the door and snap your running shoes on as fast as possible!