Although any time of year is a great time to get healthy, January is a time that many people decide to set new fitness goals. If you’re planning to start a personal fitness challenge in the New Year that involves running, then you might want to consider these items before you tackle your dream.
- 1. Hydration belt. Yet another mistake I made when I started running was thinking that I could get by without proper hydration during my runs. I didn’t want the hassle of carrying water with me; I’d just drink a bunch before and after my workout. I learned the consequences on my first 6-mile run when I started feeling dizzy and delirious and was still miles away from home. (Aren’t you glad that you can learn from my silliness and not have to experience this for yourself?) The next day I purchased an Amphipod RunLite hydration belt and made it a habit to take a few sips every mile or so. Overnight I was able to run farther without becoming exhausted or dehydrated. It’s a simple solution that you should not overlook, no matter how warm or cold it is outside.
- 2. Heart Rate Monitor. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I got back into running was pushing myself too hard. I’d burn out, not enjoy myself and risk injury on nearly every run. I received a heart rate monitor (watch and chest strap) for Christmas and learned to calculate my target heart rate. I discovered that I had been pushing myself to the maximum far too often and spending too much time in the upper limits of my capacity. A heart rate monitor will give you the feedback you need to stay within a healthy range and you’ll probably find that you don’t have to push yourself as hard. If you enjoy your run more and don’t exhaust yourself, you’ll be much more likely to make running a habit.
- 3. Compression sleeves. These little dandies are relatively new to the market, but there are several companies (Zensah, CEP, etc.) that make them. The idea is this: you wear a compression sleeve on your legs and/or arms and you get improved circulation and support, shorter recovery, and reduced vibration and soreness. I use these on any run that is longer than a 5K and I keep an extra set at home to wear when recovering from a longer run. Zensah features wonderful information on the science behind compression if you’re interested in learning more. Sign up for a few races and you’ll be sure to see these on other runners.
- 4. App technology. It wasn’t long after I started running that I became fascinated with all the statistical data surrounding my efforts. I wanted to know my pace per mile, distance, current pace and cumulative mileage over all my workouts. There are many fitness apps out there. Some of them will even keep track of your location on a GPS map. My personal favorite is the Nike+ running app for iPhone. I strap a little chip onto the laces of my shoes and slip my iPhone into an armband. After an initial synchronization, the app will keep track of lots of great information so you can set goals and stay motivated. You’ll know your personal bests for various distances and times, and you can even join their community of runners online to share stories and do some trash talking. I was thrilled when I passed the 200 mile mark and it made me really push to meet the next goal.
- 5. If the shoe fits. If you plan on logging some serious miles next year, you’ll want to run them in properly fitting shoes. I’m a bit of tightfisted, so it was hard for me to walk away from the discount athletic shoes and get as specialty fit at my local running store. I spent about $130 on my running shoes, but the difference it has made in the condition and comfort of my feet after long runs is dramatic. Stop worrying about the cost and treat yourself to a pair of shoes that have been fitted to your feet! Save the discount athletic shoes for casual Friday.
- 6. Proper nutrition. I can’t stress this enough: what you put into your body is energy for your running. Make a plan about how you plan to fuel yourself with healthy, lean foods. Once I got serious about running, I rededicated myself to eating the best quality food possible. It just didn’t make sense to run 10 miles and then negate any good I with fast food. Best of all, as a Reliv fan you already know about great products like 24K™, Innergize!® and ProVantage® with LunaRich® that can keep you at peak performance. An investment in nutrition will pay dividends as you build stamina and avoid injury.
Taking a little time to make a fitness plan and gather all the necessary equipment will benefit you once you start moving. Many people looking to become active start by jogging because it doesn’t require a lot of gear and is an inexpensive option. Making a bit of an investment into running will motivate you to take it seriously and ensure that you’ve got what you need to keep you safe, comfortable and with plenty of data to keep your mind occupied.
Good luck and best wishes with all your fitness goals! If you have questions about running or equipment, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.