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Outdoor Running Essentials

by on April 7, 2014
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Fast Track To Fit With Stef Stefani Pappas

Forget the gym, and breath in that spring air. With the weather starting to warm up, running outside might be something you want to add to your fitness routine. Whether you’re a new runner or looking to improve your running techniques, you can follow these simple tips to add some spring in your step.

 

Look The Part

Outdoor RunningInvest in flattering and functional running gear; countless athletic brands make pieces with special wick power that helps to absorb sweat and prevent chafing. Trust me when I say that old t-shirts and worn sweat pants will not boost your confidence or help make your run any easier. If you plan on running outside, look for reflective or bright gear that will make you seen to traffic and other people on the road. Even if the temperature drops, remember that your body warms up when you run. I recommend wearing layers and dressing for about 10 degrees hotter than the weather is.

 

Make Things Interesting

On the wrong day, running can seem like forever if you don’t have the proper distraction. Create a special playlist, or download a podcast or audiobook. You would be surprised how much quicker your run will go by if you enlist these tools and overcome boredom.

 

Incorporate Strength Training

After your run, your muscles are all warmed up, take advantage of this and add some strength-training moves after your run. Even if you can’t get to the gym, try doing some steps or lunges on an outdoor bench. Strength-training after you run is a great strategy for building muscle.

 

Watch Your Form

Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle and have your arms pumping back and forth with them close to the sides of your body. Avoid clenching your fists, but rather keep your hands loose and relaxed. In terms of your lower body, train yourself to land in the middle of your foot instead of your heel; hitting the ground with your heel first can lead to injury. Think about keeping a shorter length stride, which will make your run feel easier. Taking the time to find the best running shoes for you is also very beneficial.

 

Recover Efficiently

Finish your run with a slow jog and then stretching; going straight from high-intensity running to immediately laying down does not give your body proper time to slowly recover. Gradually decrease your pace, then end with a walk and stretching. Stretch and strengthen your toes with toe lifts or scrunches to help avoid issues like shin splints. Foam roll to avoid injury and loosen any knots you may have. Lastly, don’t neglect your rest days: sometimes, the best thing for your body is to conserve its energy and not do anything at all.

 

Stefani Pappas

Stefani Pappas is the author of Gamer Fit Nation’s Biweekly Column entitled, “Fast Track To Fit With Stef!” She is a college student majoring in Nutritional Sciences and hopes to become a Registered Dietitian. As a Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor, Stefani is dedicated to leading a healthy and active lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. Follow her on Twitter @stefhealthtips for more nutrition and fitness tips!

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 Edited by: Erika Kime