Every sport needs golden rules, and running is no exception. Getting involved in the running game, whether you’re a beginner looking to take up this popular sport, or an experienced runner returning after some time out, or maybe from injury, should take heed of these golden rules of running.
The Golden Rules of Running
Rule 1 – Warm up and cool down
The more I run, the more I realise how vital it is to warm up and cool down. I’ve always been one for stretching, ever since we got taught to warm up back at school. I could always see sense in it, especially before playing football on a cold Sunday morning.
Once I seriously pulled my thigh muscle playing football because I hadn’t stretched. I was gutted because I was out of action for ages. Since then I’ve always warmed up and cooled down.
It’s best to warm up your quads, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and also your groin area. I always stretch my upper body too, especially as my back is prone to injury. I usually have a slow jog and then spend a good 5 to 10 minutes stretching before running. Never warm up cold muscles, that’s even worse than not doing it at all. Then spend about 5 or 10 minutes stretching down the same muscles as well, or you’ll likely be stiff the next day.
Rule 2 – Find the perfect place to run
Some places are better to run than others. I try to find a route where I won’t have to stop and start as I hate waiting at traffic lights or when there are crowds of people, as they are just a pain in the backside. I used to run in the city centre, but people, cars, and even dogs got in my way.
Find a park, a stretch along a river, or a path in the countryside to run. That way you get no distractions and can focus on your time and distance without worrying about obstacles. There’s nothing better than a long stretch to run without disturbances, but in most places in the world, this can be tricky. Spend some time finding the best route for you.
Rule 3 – Take on plenty of fluid
Have you ever ran with a hangover? Then you’ll know what I mean. Running with a headache is a killer. You tend to feel better afterwards, but still, as your body is dehydrated, you’ll more than likely be pushing your boundaries.
Make sure you are adequately hydrated before running, especially in hot weather. I’d recommend taking a bottle of water when running. This will help your muscles and vital organs function much better. I prefer small sips rather than long glugs, especially when running. I usually end up with half the bottle over my face or down my shirt anyway.
Rule 4 – Slow and Steady
If you’re starting out, and want to avoid injury, take it easy to start with. Set a goal of say 5 minutes running, five walking, and then gradually build up the distance, time, and speed.
You can choose whether to increase the time or distance, it’s up to you, but some increments are necessary to push your body. There’s no point in running the same length and time week after week. You’ll get bored, and your body will get too accustomed to the routine so you won’t build muscles, speed, or even burn fat.
You don’t need to increase the time and distance every run (in fact you should have days where you’re not pushing your body too much), but at least every week. By making slow, but steady changes your body will be pushed further each time.
Rule 5 – Set clear objectives and map your progress
The last of our golden rules of running, whether you’re training for a marathon, or want to get in shape, by recording and tracking your runs, both speed and distance, you’ll stay motivated.
There are plenty of apps out there where you can keep track of your running. You could do it the old fashion way of writing it in a notebook. Whatever you fancy, try to keep a record so you can see your progress.
Running is a great sport, and can keep you fit and healthy. Participating in organised runs and races is a fantastic feeling as well. By following these golden rules above, you’ll likely to heighten your experience. Best of luck.