Starting a running routine can be a relatively simple process — just slip on the right pair of shoes and out you go. But if you want to make your run work for you, make sure you keep these five must dos in mind.
- Warm up: Prepping your muscles for a run helps you feel your best throughout your workout. Make sure you start each run with a dynamic warmup or a slow jog before you go intense.
- Add strength training: Adding a few strength-training moves after your run saves you time, since you've already warmed up, and is great to do if you find that your workouts are more about cardio than toning. Even just five minutes of simple moves like planks, push-ups, and lunges will help you tone muscles and see results in just a few weeks.
- Have a goal: Whether it's to become a faster runner or to make it farther than your last run, each workout should have a specific goal. But you don't always have to push yourself; even your easy jog can have a specific goal, like to help stretch out your muscles or relieve stress. Think about why you're running and what you hope to accomplish before you head out.
- Switch it up: You may have your favorite route or treadmill pace, but you won't see results as fast — whether you're trying to become a better runner or looking to lose weight — if you stick to the same workout. And doing the same routine won't help you motivate to get out of bed if you're sick of your workout. Instead, switch up your routine regularly so you are keeping your body guessing and your mind invested in your workout.
- Cool down: Don't go straight from the treadmill to the locker room; a few minutes of stretching will help you build muscle, increase flexibility, and become a better runner. These postrun stretches should become part of every run.