Running for Your Life: 4 Tips to Help You Maximize Your Workout

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running shoesI started running recently. I love cardio exercise, and I never feel like I’ve truly worked out unless my heart is pounding, I’m soaked with sweat, and I’ve received that adrenaline-induced high. I’m a dancer, not a runner, so deciding to give it a try was kind of a big deal for me. I spend my days looking forward to my allotted hour I set aside just for dancing. In deciding to run, I sacrificed my dancing time to try something new. But new is good. Change is the one constant in life, and when dealing with exercise, change is best. Trying something new allows for the use of muscles that might otherwise get brushed aside.

My first run was the hardest. I chose to run outside on my street so the pavement really did a number on my feet and ankles bringing me to my of five running tips to help you get the most out of your routine:

Running Tip #1: Buy good shoes.

In all seriousness, make a trip to your local sports store and splurge on a pair of running shoes, if you don’t you might not ever run again. I can guarantee your feet and ankles and knees, pretty much your entire lower half, will thank you for it.

Running Tip #2: Vary your pace.

Actually you can burn more calories by running fast and then slowing down to walk before picking up the pace. It’s called Interval Training. By alternating your intensity level, your heart works harder to adjust. We all know what that means: Torching those calories! I got my beginner routine from this blog.

I start off my runs with stretching and then jogging in place until my heart rate picks up a little bit. I spend five minutes walking quickly before I break into a moderate jog and I time myself to jog for about 30 seconds. Then I walk for two minutes before jogging harder until another 30 seconds have passed. Rinse and repeat. I just alternate between running for 30 seconds and walking for two minutes, but each time I run I go faster and push harder until my sixth round. On my sixth round I push as hard as I can and give it my 110%, everything I have left. After the sixth go, it’s time to start slowing to a walk and cooling down a bit, giving my heart time to slowly readjust to its normal pace. The whole thing lasts about 20 minutes but I burn almost twice the calories I would have if I stayed at a steady pace.

Running Tip #3: Time yourself.

Having to time myself really helps the whole thing go faster because I’m so focused on when I need to increase my speed and when I get to slow it down and breathe, plus the fact that I only need 20 minutes to get the whole thing done means I’m not so focused on when I’m going to have a whole hour to myself. I get my adrenaline going and I feel pumped and have energy all throughout the day now that I can fit in my exercise before I go to work and my muscles feel used but not abused.

Running Tip #4: Increase your incline.

I choose to run outside, mainly due to the fact that I don’t own a treadmill and I’m terrified of the gym, but if you choose to run indoors make sure to increase the incline to work all the muscles in your legs and butt. However if you choose to run outdoors the natural lay of the land should give you enough incline and decline so don’t worry about it too much. Happy running!

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Meagan Wilson is currently working on earning her Bachelor’s Degree in English at Jefferson State Community College and loves her job copywriting. She lives in a small southern town where the weather is famously unpredictable and the people famously hospitable.

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