Running is one of the most popular forms of cardio because it's inexpensive, you can do it anywhere, and it burns major calories while toning your lower body. That said, if you run, here are four things you should be doing every week.
- Vary your workouts: Doing the same running workout all the time can not only be boring, but can also lead to overuse injuries in the muscles. Mix up the surface you run on, change up your pace (don't forget sprinting intervals), incorporate hills, and vary the distance you run. You'll be amazed at how strong your body becomes and how mixing it up makes you a better runner. Also be sure to incorporate other forms of exercise such as cycling, swimming, strength training, and yoga to give your body a break from the same movement.
- Stretch it out: Don't skip out on stretching after your run (and never static stretch before). It not only feels good, but stretching will also relieve soreness and increase your flexibility — supple muscles are also less prone to pain and injury. Focus on stretches that target the hips, hamstrings, lower back, and shoulders. Follow along with this video to learn a yoga series for runners. You can also use a foam roller to stretch and massage your muscles. Rolling out your IT band can prevent knee, back, or hip issues, and here are five other foam roller exercises for runners.
Keep reading for two more things runners need to do every week.
- Get strong: Aside from burning calories, an added bonus to running is how well it sculpts your legs and booty. A strong lower body is great, but not if the rest of you is weak. Doing moves that tone your core and arms not only makes you look more evenly toned, but it also prevents muscular imbalances that can lead to pain and injury. Include about three strength-training sessions throughout the week. Here is a strength-training workout you can do at home.
- Get your rest: It's important to give your muscles a break, so rest days are essential. Depending on whether you're training for a race, include one to three rest days over the course of a week. Rest days can mean doing absolutely no exercise, to doing a light workout like walking or a gentle yoga class, or getting a massage. Here are more ways to take care of your body on a rest day.