Running outside is an easy and flexible exercise to incorporate into your routine without a huge amount of effort. Once you’ve found your rhythm and preferences, it is incredibly satisfying, endorphin releasing, and a good way to get fresh air. It is my own main form of exercise, as I can always rely on it to give me a boost of motivation when I’m in a sloth rut, and keep me trim.
It wasn’t easy at the beginning. But I got into the swing after just a few runs. Now, after three years of experimenting, I can share with you my best, and random, tips:
- Don’t set goals
Going against most advice here, but I find setting goals can set you up for failure (unrealistic ones, anyway). Telling yourself you want to reach a certain amount of miles in a few months can be achievable and capable of working towards. However, setting off with an aim of 3 miles in mind for example, can only leave you feeling disappointed when your body is suffering after just one.
- Always wear sunglasses
Even when its cloudy. If youre straining your eyes from the light, or even worse the sun, you tend to drop your head slightly which will cause back pain. I personally find sunglasses in general give me a unexplainable motivation. Anyone else?
- Sexy playlist
When youre running, you don’t want to be reminded that youre running. The outside is good for this as there is much more scenery and distraction compared to running on a treadmill. But if youre struggling to take your mind of the long path ahead, play songs about sex or songs with strong memories. Before you know it, you’ve ran another 4 minutes without even realising.
- Be comfortable
This seems obvious, but is so important. How can you stay focused if your leggings keep slipping down? Or your hairband keeps getting loose? Or you need to keep changing the song on your phone? Make sure you’re completely ready for a long run, as any attention given to something like this is wasted energy and can throw you off track.
- Wait at least 2 hours after eating
I don’t think there is anything much worse than constantly having to stop for the sake of a stitch in your tummy. Make sure you leave a long break after eating or run just before eating a large meal to save discomfort.
- Start on soft ground
If you’re a beginner, and you go sprinting down the main road, high chances are you will get shin splints or other injuries. Your body won’t be used to taking the impact, and your body can suffer all sorts of injuries. Stick to woodland or nature paths before taking on the concrete.
- It’s a lot warmer out than you think
90% of the time, you’ll think its cold outside because it was when you took the bin out. Wrong! Well, right. But you will regret putting on two layers and a hoodie once you’re running. You’re body temperature will rise very quickly, and you’ll soon be sweating. Stick to a tshirt and the breeze will be a godsend. (Note: I have never ran outside in the hard-core winter months, probably best to invest in some proper outdoor running gear if you plan to do this)
- Get some proper shoes
Im no expert, but I am willing to pay a little more money for the advice of one. Try and get shoes at a trusted running shop with experienced workers. The guy in the one I go to was able to tell me I had one leg shorter than the other just by watching me walk (?!) and was able to give me the best supportive shoes for that. This saved me from continuous pain in my knees.
- Track your runs
I use the free version of Runtastic. It can become quite exciting to track your routes and pace, and look back at your progress. It also gives you a little competition with yourself.
- Be careful with weights
I went running with 1kg weights in each hand once and my arms were in agony the next day. Be careful when running with a little weight because it’s kind of annoying when you get half way through a run and think ‘oh god, I’m either going to have to leave these in a bush or hobble home carrying them’. Go very light to start with and see how you get on.
- Build leg muscle
Add some squats and lunges into your exercise routine as strength training, simple really!
- You’re just out of breath
Sometimes the feeling of being out of breath can be mistaken for being worn out. Slow down, get a steady and slow place, and wait till your body actually aches before quitting.
- Don’t give up!
Some of these tips won’t work for you, and it’s important to keep trying different exercises until you find what you enjoy, and therefore continue to do regularly.
Lastly, here are some of my fave and most inspiring tracks on my playlist:
- No Problem and Eastern Jam- Chase and Status
- Hopelessly Coping- Wilkinson
- LRAD- Knife Party
- Breakin’ A Sweat- Skrillex
- Bass Canon- Flux Pavillion
- Me Against The Music- Britney Spears
- Promiscuous- Nelly Furtado
- Darlin’- Tom Zanetti
- Can’t Hold Us- Macklemore
- Black Skinhead- Kanye West