Is running a sport or a lifestyle? Depends who you ask and what your goals are. For most of us, running is an escape; something we look forward to all day and leaves us feeling less stressed out from our daily lives. How many of us can confess to reconfiguring an entire day just to schedule a run? I’m guessing quite a few… In this regard, it is a lifestyle. But, one thing is for sure, if we aren’t careful, this lifestyle can take a heavy toll on our bodies. So, if we intend to sustain this lifestyle for as long as possible we need to ensure we maintain running health.
In this vein, we’ve put together our top 4 tips to help sustain a runner’s long term running health lifestyle. Follow them now before any issues start and you’ll be running strong for many years to come… You can thank us later.
Tip 1 – Maintain Your Form For Long Term Running Health
First and foremost, your form will help your running longevity the most. While there’s no perfect form and over time you’ll likely come into your own form naturally, there are a few things to consider while running:
- Lean forward at the waist to make your quads work harder.
- Hold your head slightly in front of your center of gravity, which forces your neck and upper back to hold your head from falling forward.
- Have a light, rapid cadence.
- Maintain minimal lateral rotation.
Despite the fact that most of us have been running since we learned to walk, if your form is just slightly off, the repetitive nature of running can lead to injuries down the line .
Tip 2 – Avoid Muscle Imbalances
Your body’s ability to be efficient can be a big problem in the long run (pun intended). After years of running, your body will require less muscle fibers to accomplish the same exercise. Over time this invariably makes you become slightly weaker and weaker. As this continues, you’ll be ultimately over-stressing the reduced in-use muscle fibers to perform the same exercises. This is called muscle imbalance. And, that’s where pain and injuries like calf strains and hamstring pulls start becoming more regular.
So, what’s the solution for long term running health? Add various resistance training exercises and/or post run exercises like side leg lifts, foot orbits, and step ups to your routine. This will help retrain your muscles and rebuild strength.
Tip 3 – Recovery
How do we ensure we’re actually setting ourselves up for long term running health? Recover correctly… There’s a few important tactics when it comes to recovering
The most important part of recovery is actually the first 15 minutes after your run. During this time you should ensure that your glycogen levels are returning to normal by re-hydrating and also by integrating post run static stretches and exercises.
Lessen overuse inflammation after runs – After a run, inflammation sets into your joints and eats into your cartilage. When the inflammation goes away the damage to your cartilage remains. Certain vitamins and minerals such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM have been found to help with this; in addition, ice your joints occasionally after runs.
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep – Studies have found that sleep helps to repair cell damage, strengthens our immunity, lowers stress, and increases flexibility.
Recovery days in between hard work out days – Allows our bodies to adapt and improve. During these days, try to undertake easier runs. This allows for long term healthy running by repairing damaged muscle fibers and connective tissue.
Tip 4 – Maintain Your Health And Nutrition
Last but certainly not least, your health is the foundation from which every step comes. As we run, we drain our bodies of certain vitamins and minerals that are necessary to prevent injury and maintain performance. Critical vitamins like vitamin E, all the B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D to list just a few. Not to mention the benefits from green tea extract, Bromelain, Quercetin, Co-Q 10 and more.
It’s true that a well balanced diet goes a long way in helping you get to where you need to be; however, in the long term, this can be very difficult and expensive to sustain. This is especially true for runners who tax their bodies much more than the average person. By adding vitamin supplements to your diet, you will stack the performance and injury preventing odds in your favor. To learn more about which vitamins and minerals are especially beneficial for runners, check out our Ingredient Research Center.
To Your Running Health,