Runners can complete these 6 beneficial exercises anytime, anywhere

More and more people are joining the running community. People are attracted by running’s simplicity and numerous health benefits. The best part is, you don’t need fancy equipment, weights, or elaborate training to get into the groove of running. All you need is a pair of shoes. Running is great, but you need to complement it with beneficial exercises that will help you get stronger and reduce the chance of injury. Check out our list of 6 beneficial exercises that will optimize your running workout and prevent injuries. You can do these exercises anywhere, anytime. Pro tip: complement all your exercising with a healthy diet. These 10 delicious recipes are ideal for busy runners.

6 beneficial exercises

  1. Squats

Squats strengthen your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. This will help your running form, especially if you recently started running.

How to do them

Stand up straight and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body while bending your knees. You can use your arms to balance your body. Or you can place your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers. This will make your core work harder. Make sure that your chest is lifted and you’re looking up. Try to go as low as possible and then rise up slowly, while keeping your back straight the entire time. Place your feet side-by-side if you want to increase the level of difficulty. 

  1. Lunges

Lunges are great for making your quads, hamstrings, and glutes stronger. They also help with flexibility and improving your range of motion which is important for long-distance running.

How to do them

Stand straight and take a step forward with one leg while bending both knees. The knee of the leg that took the step should bend at a 90-degree angle and your other knee should barely touch or hover just above the ground. You can then push back up, take another step with the opposite leg, and complete the entire process. If you don’t have much space, just return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. 

  1. Single-leg deadlifts

One-legged deadlifts help with balance and strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. These are also great if you’re looking for a quick and effective pre-run warm-up.

How to do them

Stand straight keeping your body weight focused on one leg. Hold your core tight and lift one leg behind you, while pushing your upper body forward. Lower your body as far as you can, while keeping your back straight. Slowly return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg.

  1. Pushups

Pushups are great for working all upper body muscles and your core.

How to do them

Get down on all fours, while keeping your hands and toes wider than your shoulders. Move your legs back from this position so that your body weight is balanced on your hands and toes. Keep your back straight, hold your abs tight and engaged, and slowly lower yourself while bending your elbows. Push yourself back up, while straightening your elbows. 

  1. Planks

Planks help strengthen your core.

How to do them

First, enter a pushup position. Focus on keeping your core tight while bending your elbows. Lower your body from this position so that your weight is balanced on your forearms and toes. Try to keep your back straight without sinking. Engage your abs and hold this position for as long as possible. For beginners, 30 seconds is a great start.

  1. Burpees

Burpees help increase endurance and build aerobic capacity. They will work out your entire body. 

How to do them

Begin standing up, then squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you. From this position, kick your feet back to a pushup position. Keep your back straight, complete a pushup, and jump back into a squat by kicking your feet forward. Stand up straight and repeat the process. 

As you get stronger and become more comfortable with these beneficial exercises, try to increase the difficulty level. You can do more reps, more sets, or increase the amount of time spent doing an exercise. By adding these exercises to your routine, you reduce the chance you experience runner burnout.

5 tips to inspire yourself, boost your motivation, and become a better runner

Let’s face it, there are days when you don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn for a run. Similarly, no one really wants to leave work, get home, and head out for a run. No matter how much you love running there are going to be days when you don’t feel like it. This happens to all runners. There’s a secret ingredient that can help you overcome this: inspire yourself. This is helpful for every runner, especially if you’re training for your first half marathon.

Set smaller goals that lead to your large goal, like the finish line.

Inspiring yourself is easier said than done. The difference between those who give up and those who keep running is motivation. Running provides amazing benefits, but you can’t take advantage of them if you don’t run. There are many ways to inspire yourself no matter what level of runner you are. Even the most experienced runners will revert back to what they first learned when they started running. Whether you just started running or need a refresher, the 5 tips below will help you inspire yourself.

  1. Start small

The easiest way to scare yourself away from running daily is to choose large goals that you can’t yet reach. You can’t run ten miles on your first day, much less at the end of your first week. Creating larger long-term goals and smaller short-term goals is the key to success. 

You need to understand your body and your limits. How much are you comfortable with running in a day? Start small and when you get used to that, increase the distance. Eventually, you’ll reach your goal of running ten miles a day. You can inspire yourself along the journey by setting small, accomplishable goals and achieving them.

  1. Mix it up

Mixing it up can help you keep it fresh and avoid runner burnout.

Running along the same route can become boring and routine. Mix it up and change your routes every few days. You can explore new areas (just make sure they’re safe places to run), enjoy new parts of your city, and most importantly, find reasons to keep running. You could even meet other runners and make new friends along the way. Allow yourself to use running as a way to unwind and explore, instead of seeing it as a chore. This strategy will also help you avoid runner burnout.

  1. Tell your friends and family

There’s no better way to stay motivated than to tell the people you know about your running goals. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, hold yourself accountable, and you’ll have one less excuse to give up. Share photos from your run on Instagram or Twitter. Use relevant hashtags so other runners can see what you did. You can see what they’ve done and might get inspired by them. Sharing your fitness goals makes you accountable for your success. You just might inspire someone else along the way.

  1. Expect failure

Failure will help you achieve your goals.

No one has ever succeeded 100% of the time. Failure can be a key factor that demotivates people from continuing running. The secret is to know about this ahead of time so you can be prepared for it. If you miss out on a day of running, that’s fine. If you catch a cold and can’t run for a week, that’s fine. Running is all about taking care of yourself, understanding your limits, and doing your best. Not someone else’s best.

Expect to fail, and know that even if you fail to meet your goal, you will have another chance to succeed. It’s also important to learn why you failed. Were you not paying attention to your stride and did you land awkwardly? Did you not hydrate enough or eat before your run? Perhaps you started your long run too fast. Everything that could lead to failure is a teachable moment from which you can learn.

  1. Just do it

You’ve probably heard this one plenty of times before, but it works! If you’re procrastinating and don’t feel like running, just get up and run. Once you’re actually running, there’s a good chance you’ll keep going. There’s an old saying that getting your shoes on is the hardest part of the run. So lace up those shoes and go. If you need more motivation, add a small reward at the end of your run. Something that you’ll look forward to. Remember, running can reduce stress and anxiety. You’ll feel much better at the end of your run, even if it’s a short one.

There are going to be days when you don’t feel like running and there are going to be days when you fail to reach your goals. If you inspire yourself, then that’s like having a personal coach who completely understands you and is there to help you on your running journey. Stay motivated, keep running, and pretty soon you’ll reach your long-term goals.

Understand how the right amount of sleep can help you become a better runner

Sleep is a necessary part of your body’s recovery process. If you enjoy long-distance running, building up your endurance, and becoming healthier, then the right amount of sleep is paramount. People between the ages of 18 and 65 typically need six to eight hours of sleep every night. Going to bed late and waking up early could be counterintuitive to your growth as a runner. When you go to sleep, that’s when your body’s recovery really goes to work. Learn how the right amount of sleep can make you a better runner. Pro tip: make the right amount of sleep a weekly short-term goal, it’ll help you get to your larger goal!

How you become a better runner with the right amount of sleep

  • Beat fatigue

Do you sleep less so you can work more hours or run extra miles? You might do this, but you’ll definitely feel tired the next day. Running when you feel fatigued can wear down your muscles. It also increases the likelihood that you won’t perform at your normal level. Ultimately, this could wear you down or make you sick and force you to take time off to rest. Beat fatigue and be proactive when it comes to sleep. Make it a point to go to bed earlier. Follow our long-run recovery timeline and take a nap on the weekend. Making sure you sleep enough helps you stay healthy and boost your body’s immunity.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Getting enough sleep helps support your body’s immune system.

Not sleeping enough could make you feel hungrier the next day. Save time and eat healthy with these easy-to-make weeknight recipes. Without sleep, your body isn’t as effective at converting carbohydrates into glycogen. If you’re trying to lose weight, then skimping out on sleep to focus on running won’t lead to weight loss. This also prevents lean muscles from forming. Instead of waking up earlier to run longer, get some extra sleep and run a shorter distance. 

  • Repair your body

During sleep, the body synthesizes proteins, regenerates cells, and helps your body heal. And yes, every hour counts. With the right amount of sleep, your body has the time it needs to fully recover. If you don’t get enough sleep it could compromise your immune system and health. You’ll feel fatigued more often and won’t see improvement.

  • Perform better

A good night’s sleep helps your body make the necessary repairs after a run or workout.

HGH, also known as human growth hormones, are released in your body after you fall asleep. Researchers from Stanford showed that athletes who slept longer than their usual sleeping hours performed better. When you sleep, your body gets the time it needs to recover. The HGH in your body stimulates the recovery process. When you wake up feeling refreshed the next day, your body has healed itself from the previous day’s activities. 

  • Advice to sleep well

Everyone has their own tricks to falling asleep at night. Make your bed a phone-free zone. This will keep you off social media or checking email one more time. Add a fan to your bedroom. This will provide white noise and keep the air flowing. Running in the evening can also improve your quality of sleep. If you run at this time, check out these other benefits and safety tips.

Getting the right amount of sleep can make you a better runner. It allows your body to repair itself so you build strength, stamina, and endurance. Give your body the time it needs to properly heal and it can make you a better runner. The right amount of sleep is a crucial part of your body’s recovery process. Prioritize sleep just as much as you prioritize training, eating healthy, and properly hydrating.