Whether you love it or hate it, the human body has evolved to be good at running. Our bodies have developed the ability to sweat to keep us cool, minimal body hair for the same reason, spring-like muscles and tendons in our legs and many more.
Nowadays, we don’t need to be good at running to be effective hunters. Instead, running should be used as a form of exercise to keep our body and mind healthy. Check out our comprehensive guide so that you can get the most out of your running sessions.
The benefits of running
It’s no secret that there are a lot of health benefits to running, both for your physical and mental health. These articles take a deep dive into the ins and outs of how running can be a great resource for you.
Running is an excellent method to improve and maintain your cardiovascular fitness. It gets your heart pumping more efficiently and ultimately improves the effectiveness of your cardiovascular system. All of this burns a lot of energy, so running can also be a great method (along with an appropriate nutritional programme) to help you manipulate your body composition.
The load from your body also acts as a form of resistance training for your legs and bones, meaning that you’ll increase the strength of the muscles in your legs whilst also increasing your bone density – which is key for managing and preventing the risk of fractures from falling in older populations.
Running can provide an outlet for meditation and mindfulness – practices that are proven to help with managing negative emotions. It also facilitates mental wellbeing through various physiological pathways – like increasing the output of endorphins that make you feel good, improving the quality of your sleep, and managing your body’s response to stress hormones.
Running can also indirectly contribute to a more positive mindset, as improving your body composition can often have positive effects on your self-esteem.
Aside from the multitude of physiological and psychological benefits of running, many of us do it simply because we enjoy it. A few things that may help you to enjoy your running career a bit more include things like; getting inspired by the efforts of other athletes or like-minded runners and acknowledging that you’ll have bad sessions once in a while that you won’t enjoy. As the saying goes – ‘variety is the spice of life’, this is true for running too. Keep your runs fun by introducing different training styles (more frequent sessions, variable intensity, different terrains), listening to music or podcasts or even run with a friend.
Make Sure Your Nutrition Is On-Point
When you’re gearing up for a run, you should first consider the distance and duration of your run as you plan your nutrition. Generally, high protein foods are a smart place to start. On shorter runs (<3km), your nutrition is unlikely to influence your run too much, but something high in protein is always a good choice.
On middle distance runs (3-10km), consuming carbohydrates prior to your run will help ensure that your muscles are full of glycogen – energy stored in the muscles, which is what will keep you going. On long-distance runs (10km+), a tactic known as carbohydrate loading can be used. This will require a bit more preparation, but if you’re following a structured running programme (i.e. training for a marathon), then chances are you have your long runs scheduled.
While a balanced diet should form the foundation of your nutrition, ergogenic aids such as nutritional supplements can provide a necessary boost to help keep you fuelled throughout your runs. Loading up on simple carbohydrate sources (like supplement powders) prior to a run can ensure that your energy stores are topped up prior to setting off. For longer runs, energy gels provide a portable and convenient mode for you to top your energy up as your glycogen stores are depleted during a long run (e.g. around mile 15 of a 20-mile-long run). Finally, electrolyte supplements help to restore electrolytes lost through sweat when running.
Get The Right Gear
The right gear won’t necessarily make you a better runner, but it can certainly make the process more comfortable. Being comfortable and well equipped allows you to focus solely on the activity of running.
The Velocity collection offers everything you need in running gear. It’s breathable, lightweight, community-based, practical and allows you to remain fully mobile without restriction. All of these features act to ensure your run is not hindered by unsuitable clothing, so you can just focus on hitting PB’s.
Proper warm-ups are notoriously under-utilised amongst amateur athletes, and yet they are one of the most effective tools to set you up for a great session. Proper warm-ups increase blood flow, heart rate and muscle temperature – all of which are known to contribute greatly to increased performance (think of it like this – without a proper warm-up, your body is only able to perform at around 60-70% of its capacity, whereas with a proper warm-up, your body is prepared to give maximal effort).
Proper warm-ups can help to reduce the risk of certain musculoskeletal injuries, improve flexibility and generally improve your performance for the session.
This pre-run pilates warm-um will help to get your core muscles and glutes engaged before you hit the road, giving you the best chance of hitting a fresh PB.
Specific strength is essential for runners to maintain injury-free bodies and it also boosts your performance (stronger legs = more ground reaction forces which = faster and more efficient running). This brief bodyweight session will set you up with everything you need for a successful session.
Run like a pro
We’ve prepared 3 different articles to help get you prepared for different distances, depending on your goals. Written by Jonny Mellor, we’ve got a 5km, 10km and half marathon training programme prepared for you, so all you need to do is get out and run. Each of these has a beginner, intermediate and advanced option, so you can get involved no matter where you’re starting from.
This programme has all the tools you need to get from complete beginner to your first 5km race. It’s also suitable for more advanced runners who want to develop their speed and technique using a structured programme.
This programme has everything you need to get to your first 10km race. Using hills, intervals and tempo runs, it’s also suitable for more advanced runners who want to develop their speed and technique using a structured programme.
This programme seeks to set you up for your first half marathon by using a structured and periodised programme over the course of 8 weeks of training.
Running doesn’t always have to involve putting on your trainers and heading out on the same 10km route every session. Speed and power work are key to improving your lower limb strength, power and efficiency. This speed and power-based workout may be the secret to your next PB over a long distance.
Myprotein Run Club
Looking for a challenge? Or maybe you’re just looking for someone to lean on for support in your fitness journey? Our Strava group is the place for you.
The Myprotein Run Club is a place to share your running journey, no matter where you are at. This is your community.