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10 Ways to Be a Strong and Motivated Runner

10 Ways to Keep Your Running — and Your Motivation — Strong

We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Shape here on FitSugar.

  1. Sign Up for a Race — Nothing gets you motivated like a deadline. Some favorite races: Skirt Chasers, in which women get a 3-minute head start before the men are let loose; New York's Fun Run and Happy Hour, which features post-race drink specials; and the Zooma Half Marathon & 10K series, which includes post-race shopping, massages, and wine. Check out active.com for races near you.
  2. Hit the Bars — Pre-run: Grab an energy bar (we've picked the tastiest) so you have the fuel to run your best. Post-run: Toss back a beer. Research conducted at Granada University in Spain shows that a pint of beer, post-workout, rehydrates the body better than water. The carbs replace lost calories and researchers believe the sugars and salts may help the body absorb fluids more quickly.
  3. Get Your Perfect Training Plan (Free!) — The right training plan helps you feel ready at the start and lets you finish strong. Go the distance — happily — with our 12-week, 5K training plan for beginners.
  4. Ease Your Knees — Runners have a decreased risk of osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. Running increases oxygen flow and flushes out toxins resulting in healthier cartilage and stronger ligaments around the knee. Already have knee pain? Find out how to nix it with these three moves.

See more tips after the break!

  1. Get New Shoes — Over time (as little as six months) running shoes lose traction and their cushioning breaks down, making you more prone to aches. Which to choose? Check out our top picks (narrowed down from 44 shoes tested by 275 women). Still some life in your old pair? Donate them to soles4souls.org, which provides shoes, free of charge, to those in need.
  2. Live Longer and Better — Beyond helping you manage your weight, running has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health — all of which helps you live longer and better. Running is also a weight-bearing exercise, which can help prevent disabling osteoporosis.
  3. Think About Potato Chips — Good form makes you more efficient, which means you can go longer and stronger without using up more energy. Aim to maintain an even stride, with your feet under your body as you run, and keep your shoulders loose. Our favorite form tip: Nix the tension in your arms and hands by pretending you're holding a potato chip in each hand.
  4. Join the Six-Legged Race — When you run with your four-legged friend, he gets just as many health benefits as you do. What's more, running with your dog is a great way for you to bond and an easy way to stay safe on the road.
  5. Lose Track of Time — If you're a data fanatic, try leaving the watch at home. "Training without a watch lets you run with a greater sense of comfort," says Frank Webbe, Ph.D., a sports psychologist who works with runners at the Florida Institute of Technology. "It helps your performance because you're paying attention to your body rather than to the watch itself."
  6. Eat Dessert! — The average woman can burn 345 calories in just 30 minutes of running. That means you can have a 16-oz. milkshake, a two-inch brownie with two tablespoons of real whipped cream, a 1/2-cup of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, or (sorry, that's "or," not "and"!) three Godiva truffles, guilt-free. Find out how many calories you can torch with our Calorie Burn Tool.

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Source: Thinkstock
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