Top 5 Benefits of Running plus tips for beginners!

Are you a runner? Running is one of those things where you either love it or hate it. Some people tolerate it just to get their cardio in, but for the most part I can split my friends and family up into one of two categories: runners vs. non-runners. I consider myself a runner (many…

Top 5 Benefits of Running plus tips for beginners! was originally published on Self Evolve

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Are you a runner?

Running is one of those things where you either love it or hate it. Some people tolerate it just to get their cardio in, but for the most part I can split my friends and family up into one of two categories: runners vs. non-runners. I consider myself a runner (many people tell me I look like a runner too) so needless to say I tend to find myself hanging around more runners than non-runners. But I have nothing against non-runners, I used to be a non-runner myself and can completely understand. Today I’m going to go over the top 5 benefits of running and throw in some tips for beginner runners.

Top 5 benefits of running

  1. Improves cardiovascular health. There’s a reason we call it cardio. Not only are you improving your fitness, you’re also improving your heart, veins, arteries, and blood. As your cardio health improves, your overall health increases. Blood is the main life source that carries everything your organs need.
  2. Improves your mood. There is a thing such as a runner’s high, and it’s real. This runner’s high is thanks to the rush of feel-good hormones called endocannabinoids. No matter what mood you begin with, after running it’s hard to not feel better. This study showed that even walking for 30 minutes lifts the mood of patients suffering from major depressive disorder.
  3. Strengthens your core and joints. You don’t only use your legs when running, you also use your core. Thanks to this, your core will be strengthened by running. Additionally, many studies (1, 2) show that running improves your bone and joint health, especially in youth. 
  4. Burns calories. Cardio is a great way to burn calories and help aid in your weight loss goals. Whenever I feel extra-sluggish, I go for a quick 2 to 3 mile run to burn those extra holiday calories. It may be easier to just avoid the cookies, but I have terrible habits during the holiday season.
  5. Boosts energy. Whether you’re healthy or not, running can help anyone have more energy. Studies show that even if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, exercise can help improve energy levels.

For more benefits of running, check out this article here. While most of these benefits are true, I would recommend doing more than just running for leg workouts. Running is good for your legs, but it doesn’t work all your leg muscles. Strength training is a must for all runners.

Tips for beginners

  • Plan ahead: plan your runs strategically to avoid burnout.top 5 running benefits
  • Run with a group: running with friends keeps you accountable.
  • Get the right gear: running in the right shoes and using a good run tracker helps immensely.
  • Pick up the pace: start out slow but gradually pick up the pace utilizing different warm ups.
  • Cross train: don’t just run! Be sure to include strength training and other forms of cardio.
  • Rest up: be sure to not over-train! Rest and recovery are needed when working out regularly.
  • Fuel properly: eat healthy and smart. Runners need a health diet high in good protein, fat and fiber.

Why do you run? What are your top 5 benefits of running?

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Top 5 Benefits of Running plus tips for beginners! was originally published on Self Evolve

Layer up: What to wear for your winter run

 Are you crazy?! This is the typical response I get when I tell people I went for a run outside, in the dead of winter in Chicago. Lately, the temperatures have been well below zero and running outside has been kept to a minimum (treadmill, anyone?). But for some of us, there’s nothing better than…

Layer up: What to wear for your winter run was originally published on Self Evolve

 Are you crazy?!

This is the typical response I get when I tell people I went for a run outside, in the dead of winter in Chicago. Lately, the temperatures have been well below zero and running outside has been kept to a minimum (treadmill, anyone?). But for some of us, there’s nothing better than a nice run outside. And if you’re crazy like me, you’ll need to know how to layer up for your next winter run.

Baby it’s cold outside

winter runKeep in mind that once you’re moving, your body heats up fast. Don’t overdress when you think it feels cold. The opposite is true as well: once you stop moving you’ll cool down quickly. Be sure to plan ahead to get out of your workout clothes as soon as you can after your run. Dressing in layers is key for winter running. They will keep you warm at the start, then you can shed some as you warm up. See below for a chart on how to dress according to the temperature outside.

50–59 degrees: short sleeve tech shirt and shorts (feels like 6079 degrees)

40–49 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) (feels like 5069 degrees)

30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears (feels like 4059 degrees)

20–29 degrees: two shirts layered—a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt or, long sleeve shirt and jacket—tights, gloves, and headband or hat to cover ears (feels like 3049 degrees)

10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants (feels like 2039 degrees)

0–9 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, windbreaker jacket/pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask to cover face (feels like 1029 degrees)

Once we get below zero like in Chicago, be sure to pay attention to your local weather information and warnings. Use your best judgment to determine whether you should run outside or hit the gym instead. Also, beware of ice and be sure that you’re visible if running in the dark!

How do you dress for your winter run?

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Layer up: What to wear for your winter run was originally published on Self Evolve

Shoes matter: Why you should change your shoe game up

How many pairs of gym shoes do you have? Many people have a favorite pair or two of gym shoes that they always wear to the gym or while running. Especially once you’ve been fit for running shoes, it’s hard to venture out of your comfort zone. But I’m here to tell you that it’s…

Shoes matter: Why you should change your shoe game up was originally published on Self Evolve

How many pairs of gym shoes do you have?

shoe gameMany people have a favorite pair or two of gym shoes that they always wear to the gym or while running. Especially once you’ve been fit for running shoes, it’s hard to venture out of your comfort zone. But I’m here to tell you that it’s a good idea to change your shoe game up for several reasons.

Why you should change up your shoe game

There are many reasons to venture outside of your favorite pair of running shoes.

  • Injury prevention. Running in different types of running shoes will help you prevent injury. When you have to run in a different pair of shoes than the one pair you run in, you may injure yourself since your body is used to only running in specific shoes. 
  • Changing conditions. Do you always run on the same surface in the same exact weather conditions? If so, then continue on wearing your own pair of shoes. But if you’re like me, you’re out there running in the rain, snow, or sunshine. You’re also running on streets, trails, treadmills and tracks. These are all different conditions so you should be running in different shoes depending on the surface and weather conditions.
  • Versatility. When you rotate through different shoes, you will build up your running versatility. You’ll be able to run in almost any pair of shoes since your body will know how to adjust in order to run well.
  • Run efficiently. Your form will improve over time if you rotate through shoes since your body will be forced to adjust to each type of shoe. This way, your body won’t get lazy and you will keep your body guessing each time you lace up.

For me, I currently have 3 pairs of running shoes that I rotate through. I love my Brooks, but also run in Skechers and 361 Degrees.

Do you change up your shoes? Or are you the type to only run in one pair?

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Shoes matter: Why you should change your shoe game up was originally published on Self Evolve

Running and keeping track: Maps and more

Map Your Run As a new or seasoned runner alike, it’s important to map out your runs so that you know how far you’re running. You can simply look at a map or utilize a device to keep track of your distance. No matter how you do it, running and keeping track of your distance is…

Running and keeping track: Maps and more was originally published on Self Evolve

Map Your Run

As a new or seasoned runner alike, it’s important to map out your runs so that you know how far you’re running. You can simply look at a map or utilize a device to keep track of your distance. No matter how you do it, running and keeping track of your distance is a good idea.

Running and keeping track

Back before there were smart phones or wearable GPS devices, runners were forced to use a paper map of where they were going to run in order to know the distance of their runs. If you didn’t plan ahead, you risked the chance of getting lost unless you were running a known trail or track loop distance multiple times. Being a runner meant that you had to know the areas where you ran pretty well. Over time, you learn how many blocks equates to a certain distance. For example, that two mile loop around your neighborhood that you run consistently.

Tracking devices

running and keeping trackNow that there are many different types of smart devices and running apps, you have more running freedom. Freedom to set out and run until you hit your distance (or rather half so you can run an out & back). Also, with technology, you have instant feedback in regards to your pace and timing. And sometimes, even heart rate. I wrote about tracking your fitness, but running is an exercise that you can improve upon with a proper tracking device.

The consistent and instantaneous feedback can help you learn how and when to change your pace and/or distance. Some runners focus on increasing their distance whereas other runners focus on increasing their speed. It’s important to choose either distance or speed to focus on since it’s difficult to work on both simultaneously.

Devices that help me run better

These are the devices and apps that I use to track my runs in order to run further. They also helped me get through Chicago Marathon training.
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What do you use to keep track of your runs? I also use the Nike running app in addition to the Garmin app to track my runs.

Running and keeping track: Maps and more was originally published on Self Evolve

Breaking 2: Superhuman Speed

Last weekend Nike attempted to break 2 hours for the world record of fastest Marathon time. They took the world’s fastest runners (Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese, and Lelisa Desisa) and had them run at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Milan, Italy. Many years of planning went into this pursuit of breaking the 2014 world record of 2:02:57 for fastest…

Breaking 2: Superhuman Speed was originally published on Self Evolve

Last weekend Nike attempted to break 2 hours for the world record of fastest Marathon time. They took the world’s fastest runners (Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese, and Lelisa Desisa) and had them run at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Milan, Italy. Many years of planning went into this pursuit of breaking the 2014 world record of 2:02:57 for fastest marathon (Dennis Kimetto). No detail was left out, including flying in a hand-picked group of 11 Kenyan and Ethiopian runners for the sole purpose of setting the pace and blocking the wind for the chosen three runners.

breaking-2-final-nike-_the_pack_all_togetehr

 

Over the past few years, these three runners trained to run 26.2 miles at a superhuman pace of just under four minutes and 35 seconds per mile. This raises questions regarding testing the limits of the human heart and can be seen as a Holy Grail barrier. While the record of fastest marathon has been getting closer to 2 hours over the last ten plus years, 2 minutes and 57 seconds is 2.4 percent away from the barrier of 2 hours. Which is quite a barrier to overcome. But last weekend, Eliud got close. He came in at 2:00:25, 26 seconds over the goal time of 1:59:59. Despite not quite making the goal, the fact that Eliud took 2 minutes and 32 seconds off the world record is amazing. While not 2.4 percent, 2.16 percent is still a huge jump. Of course, this is only one of the first attempts at sub-2 hour marathon, and there are other attempts being planned for the near future.

breaking-2-final-nike-_thefinishkipchoge

What are your thoughts on this pursuit? Are these runners really superhuman? I look forward to seeing what other records we can break, not just in running but in other avenues as well. What’s your favorite sport to watch? Did anyone watch this attempt and think that these runners make running that fast look natural? These men were born to run, there’s no doubt about that.

 

Breaking 2: Superhuman Speed was originally published on Self Evolve