Running can be an effective and wonderfully cheap way to get into better shape and support your mental health.  Regular exercise will pay big dividends as you get older.  Here are some ways to set yourself up for running success while making it into a long-term, even lifelong, habit that will give you joy.  


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Running is one of the most affordable forms of exercise.  All you need is space and shoes.  That being said, don’t skimp on the shoes.  Investing in good running shoes that fit well and are designed for your particular gait and stride will help to keep you injury-free so you can keep running.  

There are shoes out there for most people, but if you have foot issues, you might consider custom orthotics from a company like Healthy Steps Pedorthist.  Taking care of your feet is taking care of your whole body.  Consider it an investment that will pay itself off in years of great exercise.  


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One of the great things about running is that you can do it in so many locations.  Find a go-to route near your home that can run on autopilot when you don’t have much time.  But make sure to mix it up when you do have a little more time.  Have fun running by landmarks in your city or town.  Explore.  Run in parks, on trails in the woods, on dirt roads in the country.  Anywhere and everywhere.  Seize the opportunity to enjoy new sights and views.  


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Human running buddies are great, especially if you run at similar speeds.  But don’t limit yourself to two-legged companions.  Running with a canine running buddy is wonderfully rewarding.  Plus, your dog is always ready when you are.  Consider adopting a running buddy from your local shelter.  


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Clothing is another way you can spend money on your running habit, but you can decide to be pretty minimal or invest in the fanciest gear.  Generally, you will only need one of each clothing item since you will want to throw your sweaty clothes in the laundry right away.  One set of cold-weather gear, one pair of shorts, and a shirt with and without sleeves will be plenty for most runners.  


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One of the hardest parts of running, or any kind of exercise, can be letting yourself recover from hard workouts and injuries.  Make sure you are allowing plenty of time to bounce back from challenging runs.  The older you are, the more time you may need.  And keep your injuries minor by giving your body time to recover instead of pushing yourself too hard when you do get hurt.  Always remember to stretch.  Adding strength training to your routine can also help keep you running strong.  

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Make sure you are eating plenty of protein and generally have a healthy diet, too.  Your food fuels you and your runs.  You wouldn’t put contaminated gasoline in a car.  Don’t put bad food in your body.  And don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Keeping these things in mind will help support running as a long-term habit and give you an excellent mental and physical health tool.  

What contributes to your running success?

This is a collaborative post.

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