Wednesday June 2nd, 2021, is Global Running Day. Global Running is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. The day plays an important role, to remind us of the positives that running can offer and the power of unification. According to Global Running, many people are turning to running as a solution to help release anxiety, gain perspective, cope with cabin fever and keep up well being.
If you are thinking of taking up running, we have put together some benefits of the sport and some handy tips that may help you get on the road to running.
Physical Health Benefits
Running is a great way to improve your overall cardiovascular fitness, which reduces the risk of all manner of conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running, even 5 to 10 minutes per day at slow speeds can result in a marked reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Running has also been proven to help with respiratory diseases and some cancers. Running also helps strengthen your body muscles, from your arms down to your feet. Your glutes and calves do a lot of the work but running also engages your hip flexors and hamstrings. So, it is a total body workout!
Mental Health Benefits
The Global Pandemic has had a profound effect on the number of people now running regularly. According to a report by sports brand Asics, there was a 47.3% increase in people running compared to 2019. The study also found that for the majority of people the mental health benefits of running actually outweighed the physical benefits. 67% of respondents said that running helped them cope mentally with situations such as the Covid 19 pandemic. While 79% said that running made them feel more in control.
According to David Linden, PhD., a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, running increases the levels of endocannabinoids in the bloodstream and these mood-improving neuromodulators promote short-term psychoactive effects such as reduced anxiety and feelings of calm. Dr Linden also notes that regular cardiovascular exercise can also improve working memory and focus, better task-switching ability and elevate our mood.
The Running Starter Kit
If you are thinking of giving running a go, there are some things you should keep in mind before starting.
Invest in good running shoes.
Investing in a good pair of running shoes is one of the most important things you should do before starting to run. You will be expelling a lot of force when you run, so picking a shoe that is supportive but also comfortable is very important. If you can, visit a speciality running shoe store and try on a few different pairs and brands to see which one works for you.
Pick comfortable and breathable clothes.
Invest in supportive and breathable clothes to run in. Running usually results in an increase in sweat so picking lightweight materials that wick sweat away from your body is important. Many runners will experience chafe at some point during their running journey, so clothes with freedom of movement and cooling technology can help reduce the possibility of this happening. Anti-Chafe gels such as Bodyglide can also help. If running during the night or during overcast and rainy days, ensure you are wearing bright clothing and high-visibility vests so that you are visible to cars and other road users.
Warm Up and Down
Warming up helps prepare your body for aerobic activity. During your warm-up, you preheat your body temperature and start to slowly increase blood flow to your muscles before your cardiovascular system goes into full activity.
Once you cease your running session it’s time for a cool down period. An example of a cool down for running would be slowing to a reduced pace for 3 minutes after a 25-minute run and then slowing to a walk before finishing up.
Just a few minutes of stretching your hip flexor muscles, your thighs, your hamstring, your lower back, and calves will help you keep your ‘running equipment’ in order. You can find detailed information on stretching techniques here.
Hydrate and Hydrate Some More!
It might seem like the solution for everything from getting more sleep, to achieving better skin is to stay hydrated, but that doesn’t mean it is not true. In a 5 km run you can lose 250 ml+ water from your system, depending on running conditions and your fitness. When you sweat, you also lose electrolytes through excreted salt and potassium. Adding an electrolyte such as Nuun tablets to your water can help rehydrate your body effectively.
Keep on Track!
Keep Your Goals Realistic
If you have just started running, then it is probably going to take some time to get your goal, whether this be a 5k, 10k or half marathon. Starting out you will likely encounter muscle soreness and stiffness; some runs won’t feel so great, and you may need to adapt your plan to suit your mood. Start out slow with your mileage. Apps such as Couch to 5k can help you pace your runs and keep your goals realistic.
To get to the point of being able to run regularly you need to be consistent. Starting out 2-3 sessions per week are a good place to start. Try to avoid long periods of time without running, as this will make it more difficult to reach your running goals.
Take a Rest Day
Rest is just as important as consistency, so make to take rest days. Aim to take at least 24 hours recovery between each session. It’s during the time that we’re resting when our muscles repair and grow, which means that recovery is required if you want to make improvements.
Don’t give up too easily!
Running isn’t easy and it’s one of the sports that many people give up on because the end goal can take time to achieve. Going from no running to consistent miles takes time, but it is achievable, give your body time to adjust and chances are you’ll find your running grove sooner than you think!
Take part in Global Running Day
While the physical Global Running Day events are paused, it’s important that we all keep active in a safe and responsible way. This year, Global Running Day 2021 will be digitally uniting people across the world in a global effort to encourage physical wellness and strengthen community.
Join a virtual race!
Join the free NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M Powered by Strava by running or walking 1 mile anywhere as the running community comes together on Global Running Day 2021! Between June 1 and June 6, lace up your shoes and run the world with thousands of other participants in celebration of a day that encourages everyone to stay active and healthy.
Sign up here.
Enhanced Natural Recovery
Those looking to enhance their cool down experience and transition from exercise to relaxation, will be delighted with VOYA’s active range of products that are the perfect ‘after-workout’ treat. Discover Body Oils and Feel the Heat Body Warming Gel to sooth tired muscles, our Lazy Days Seaweed Bath to help relieve lactic acid build up and body washes to invigorate and freshen your body after a workout.