Running is a popular and fun sport that almost everyone has at least once participated in. As a man running behind a missed bus or a professional athlete running towards the finish line; running is built into us and we need to experience the thrill of it every once in a while.
In this article, we will discuss all aspects of running and address a few questions related to it as well as review the important apps and equipment needed for a runner in their endeavors. At last, we drop in a few tips and advice that would be helpful for those starting in the upcoming days.
What is Running?
Ever since the advent of mankind, humans, and animals have been known to run, for a variety of different purposes; either to get somewhere in a hurry or to get away from something with a chance of danger. In any case, running is a natural process that apart from making commuting faster, happens to be a coordinated exercise that involves the entire body. It is the easiest and cheapest way to stay fit and healthy and fight off countless diseases while keeping a lean and well-maintained body.
Besides physical well-being, running also improves psychological health and gives you a boost of energy by keeping your mind and body busy.
Why Do We Run?
The thrill of running is addictive. This addiction leads to significant health benefits such as a greater increase in HDL cholesterol and reduction of triglyceride levels, risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, plasma cholesterol levels, and overall body fat.
As a cardiovascular sport, running improves the ability of your heart to pump strongly and more efficiently, thus eliminating the risk of countless heart diseases. Fortunately, you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits of running as even thirty minutes of this exercise will do the job.
How Is Running Different From Other Cardio Workouts For Burning Fat?
Although all cardio exercises involve the entire body workout, running turns out to be the most effective and efficient in working your body out while training you for strength and endurance. When it comes to burning off fat and calories, there is no evidence to support that runners lose more weight, but running does burn off a remarkable amount of fat and calories if you do it regularly. The deal with losing weight is that you have to control your food intake in addition to regularly doing the exercise of your choice. You should eat fewer calories than you burn off, else the workouts won’t be as effective as you think they’d be.
Compared with walking, running burns an average of 30% more calories, regardless of whether you run outside or on a treadmill. Additionally, if you decide to run uphill, that would be more effective for weight loss and fitness training than cycling on the same route.
Treadmill Running or Outdoor Running?
When it comes to running, you get the choice of either running outdoor on the road with a scenic view and different routes or you can stay at home or go to the gym and run on a treadmill at your desired speed. The best part is that both these options are equally fit and effective for your running endeavors, except for the minor difference that running outdoor burns a little more fat and calories than a treadmill, due to the lack of air resistance present inside the room.
One way to mimic the outdoor exercise setting is to set your treadmill at 1% elevation and run on it at your own pace and speed as you would on the track outside. In a nutshell, it’s all good as long as you’re running, regardless of where and how.
Who Might It Suit Best?
Becoming a runner depends on what you aim to achieve from it and what benefits you’re looking for. Running is most suitable for those who are looking to burn off overall fat and stay physically fit through a lot of cardio. Running is also ideal for those who want to work out and fix their posture but can’t afford the gym and cardio machines. Additionally, if you are running to train for a marathon, it’s best that you do it outdoors.
Types of Runners
A beginner runner is a person who has only recently considered the idea of running. These runners don’t know much about the world of running and training, but even if we consider that they research and figure out most of the things, they still will lack a key feature essential for running i.e. experience and actually going out and taking in the thrill of a run.
Since beginners are new runners, they also lack consistency and have trouble adapting to schedules and sticking to those. Consistency is essential so their bodies and mind can adapt to the physical stress and muscle aches as they start to run regularly.
This doesn’t mean that you ought to go out and run every single day to reach an intermediate level. Instead, you can start with running twice or thrice a week to get used to the experience until you develop a sense of consistency and can stick to running every day after a few months.
The good thing about beginners is that they have a lot of room to learn, train, and improve. Just like every other sport, running also needs a lot of effort and training to reach a certain level and it also needs a lot of time to achieve your goals.
An intermediate runner, as the name suggests, is the one who has transcended the state of a beginner but is still a few steps away from entering the advanced runners’ category. These are the kinds of runners who eventually realize that there is more to running than they had considered and that they don’t know as much as they thought they did a while ago. These runners have a clear idea about how much their body allows them to work out and the recovery period they require to move on to more runs. They have a keen sense of workouts and have a developed running consistency through planning and execution of different training schedules.
Since they’ve been running for quite some time, intermediate runners might have had a number of injuries along the way and ended up learning a thing or two about what to do and what to avoid during running. This also goes if they’ve shown up in any race and couldn’t win but had a remarkable learning experience of a race and where they need to improve for better performance in the future. Even though races don’t determine the position of a runner, they’re still pretty good at helping understand the current running state of any individual and the amount of potential they have as a runner.
Advanced runners, as one would expect, would be the ones who win and conquer any race they step into, but that’s not always the case. An advanced runner is a type of runner that knows the most about running, the impact on his/her body, the shifts in training, and has a straight goal with a good knowledge of how to achieve it.
These runners know the subtle differences in their body and any changes that occur within their bones and muscles, whether it is soreness or an injury, they know when and how to spot one and deal with it. They know about when to push their body outside the expectations while running through discomfort and when they should stop and catch a breath without exceeding limitations. These runners are ready to take up more difficult challenges and train harder than most to become esteemed athletes.
Once you’re an advanced runner, improvement gets extremely challenging. It is easier for a beginner to go from level 1 to level 5 but a level-8 runner will find it difficult to jump to level 9 without months of consistent training, dedicating a lot of time, and undivided attention and effort into achieving that goal. These achievements are little but mean the world to an advanced runner.
How Much Should An Individual Run?
The American College of Sports Medicine Position Statement on Exercise recommends that a healthy adult should train between three to five days a week, have 55/65% – 90% of maximum heart rate, and spend nearly 20-60 minutes of aerobic activity, which fits the perfect criteria of running. (Carol Ewing Garber 2011)
What Result Can You Expect From Running?
- Running extends your life expectancy; you have a high chance of living a longer life than people who don’t run.
- Running improves your cardiovascular health as well as strengthens your bones to make you stronger.
- Your knees and joints strengthen from consistent running as the flow of nutrients in your body is increased through it.
- Running can help you reach places in a healthy way and cut the costs of commuting.
- If you choose to run outside instead of a treadmill, your daily dose of Vitamin D can be absorbed by being under the sun.
- A runner doesn’t get sick usually and has a much reduced risk of catching a common cold, as running improves immunity.
- Running is a natural method of cardio and fitness training and doesn’t require almost any equipment if done outdoors.
- Running keeps your eyes healthy and provides improved vision over time.
- You can run anytime you want to and anywhere you want to, which is not the case with gyms.
- Not only running is peaceful and meditative and provides time for thoughts and self-reflection, but it also allows you to let go of those emotions quickly.
- Running boosts your mood and energizes your body and mind like no other activity, thus keeping you fresh and making you feel at your best for an entire day.
Best Running Apps
As we move into the era of technological advancements and addiction to smartphones and gadgets, it is observed that we’ve been losing our connection with nature and physical activities and that is having a bad impact on our health, both physical and mental. However, if one is smart enough, they can easily draw the line between the two worlds and utilize technology to keep themselves fit and healthy. Such is the case when it comes to running as there are numerous apps that are perfect for tracking your distance, suggesting routes, counting calories, measuring heart rates, and motivating you through audio lessons to keep you running.
After the pandemic, more people are now familiar with how to manage workout routines and track progress through apps but here we’ll discuss the five specific apps that are ideal for you. We are going to describe them and list down their pros and cons. Offering several features, these apps work best to accompany you in your running endeavors while being nearly as effective as an actual trainer.
So go through the list and find your running partner.
Nike Run Club
As one would expect something amazing from the brand name behind this app, the Nike Run Club does live up to its expectations. Being not only a tracking running app, but it also offers an audio-based system that is tailored to your running needs with pep talks, speed guidance, and when to rest, to ensure that you get the most out of your run with a little push. Do you know who records these impeccable audios to accompany you in your running? It’s none other than the running masters and professional athletes who guide you, motivate you, and also share their experiences to keep you going with every run.
The app offers you three types of runs; quick run for a quick distance, measure guided run for short runs, treadmill runs, mindful runs, speed runs, and beginner tracks, and lastly, coached run for you to customize a plan according to your preferences that adapts to your progress. This is done by answering a few simple questions about your goals and parameters etc. to create a personalized plan for you. what makes this app stand out is the fact that even after offering numerous benefits, such as GPS tracking, Spotify connection, run and rest time, professional coaches, logs and stats of your progress, and challenges with friends, the app is entirely free, simply waiting for you to download and get running.
Even though the app is remarkable and extremely beneficial, it often glitches and causes frustration among the users. This is followed by the fact that the app doesn’t define the suitability level for each run and the measurements are not entirely accurate.
For a deeper analysis and review of this app, you can check this article on our website.
Strava is a noteworthy workout app that is ideal for tracking any GPS-based activity, which is mainly running, swimming, and cycling, but not limited to only these disciplines. The app offers both paid and free versions, but if you can’t get your hands on the paid app, know that you won’t be missing out much on the free app as it covers tracking, challenges, social networking, and clubs feature.
You can also follow your friends through the app and stay updated with their progress as well. You can have friendly challenges with them and earn rewards and ranks as the days go by. If you need new friends or want to explore the running community, you can use the ‘join a club’ feature to find new events and activities in your area and maybe organize one as well. The app is user-friendly with simple navigation and also works offline in case you face trouble with the internet. Since most of the good features are available for free, there isn’t much benefit from buying the premium version. You can read more about the app and weigh the pros and cons here.
A name that is known and recognized by many is Runtastic, which has made its mark in the world of running apps. This is because of the brilliant features of real-time tracking with pace, duration, speed, distance, and calories at your hand, along with exposure to a wide community of like-minded people who share the same goals as you. these people range from trainers to the ones getting trained and are very motivated and fit and can keep you going in your run for fitness without many setbacks. These people share their experiences and tell you stories to help you and it works for almost all users in having a good time while running.
The free version of the app offers a few story runs from the library, a basic report of your running stats, the ability to join challenges as well as access to join community and blog posts. The premium version offers an upgrade with in-depth stats that even include your personal best, give you access to all story runs, and create targeted training plans that cater to your running requirements.
Though the app helps a lot, it also demands a lot of battery power and drains it quicker than usual, which is annoying for most runners unless they have a power bank with them.
For more information and review on Runtastic, you can give this article a read.
Jillian Michaels Fitness App
This fitness app is created to take into account the needs of the users in achieving their fitness goals by suggesting a workout plan for them with a meal plan included. When we say it considers your goals, it also considers the working equipment you have at your home. For instance, if you own dumbbells, the plan would then include more exercises that include dumbbells. If you don’t have any equipment available, the plan would then be focused on your body weight to suggest a plan.
The good part is that the user doesn’t have to necessarily stick to the plan offered to them. They are free to switch between plans to figure out which suits them the most. They can also create their own plan based on their workout length and fitness level as well as the muscle group they aim to target.
When it comes to running, the app does a good job at keeping track of progress for your runs and suggests meals to keep you fit. Since the app is from Jillian Michaels, you can expect to see her following the plans with you and guiding you on how to do a great job at it. Apart from Jillian, you can also interact with other members on a forum to stay motivated. The app costs $14.99 a month and/or $89.99 a year. You can read more about the Jillian Michaels Fitness App in this review article.
Aaptiv is an all-in-one interactive fitness app that offers workout sessions and guides from boxing to mediation and yoga to running. The user gets to choose the workout they intend on doing along with their fitness level, duration, and the trainer they need for it.
The fitness app offers both audio and video workout sessions that also include music-driven workouts. For beginners, it is recommended that they opt for video lessons at first and eventually head for audio sessions once they’re familiar with the terms and movements being told. But if we’re concerned with running, audio is the only option we need with a trainer to help us with our tracks.
Aaptiv consists of certified fitness trainers, personalized fitness plans, custom tracking, and reporting, a variety of fitness classes, and regular updates for your progress. The app is also very interactive and has a premium version available for those who need more features and classes. The app costs $14.99 a month, $99.99 a year, or a lifetime membership for $399.99.
For a more detailed review and the pros and cons of Aaptive, you can read this article.
Best Running Equipment
When you decide to start running, most people believe it’s just heading out of your house and start running on the road. While that is mostly what happens, this is not the ideal way to do it. Running does require a few things to invest in at first, if not many, to run effectively and make the most out of your runs. For starters, the most important gear for running is shoes.
The kind of shoes you wear when running determines the amount of pain and injuries that your feet or your body could be subjected to, as you run. You would need shoes that can absorb more impact and keep your feet comfortable and breathable for prolonged runs. Then come the running tops and shorts/tights you wear because they’ll ensure oxygen and blood circulation in your body as well as keep you cool and avoid rubbing of the fabric on your skin in long runs.
Similarly, there is other equipment you might need to complete your runners’ look and start running to your end goal. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most important things you’ll need for running.
Running Waist Pack with Water Bottle Holder by Oncros
When you’re running, you might find it hard to keep your phone, keys, wallet, or any other accessory in your pocket as they will keep falling out on your run, especially if you’re a fast runner. That’s where waist packs come in but not every waist pack is suitable for your running needs.
The recommended waist pack would be the nylon running waist pack with a water bottle holder that is made of high-grade diving material and is shockproof, waterproof, and highly elastic. It offers multiple pockets for storing your essentials, such as your mobile phone, keys, money, and of course, a water bottle to keep you hydrated without carrying one in your hand the entire time you are running. It can be bought for £5.59 in multiple colors for your running gear aesthetic.
The running waist pack is not like a heavy fanny pack that jumps every time you run, instead, the waist pack is fit and perfect for all kinds of outdoor sports as well as for shopping and other occasions. It’s a better choice than carrying a backpack to keep important things on you.
Aline Insoles for Running
For every runner and fitness enthusiast, it is important to consider the kinds of shoes you’re wearing as well as the insoles that come with those. In most cases, they prefer replacing the insoles with something that is more comfortable and supports their movements with little to no impact on their feet, ankle, and knees. You can’t possibly imagine going running with casual slippers or dress shoes, but even the actual running shoes often need some modifications for better performance.
Aline soles are known to help you perform better and enhance your running ability with more comfort than the usual shock-proof or foam insoles. The patented tech makes it easy for your feet to move freely as you run towards improved physical, mental, and emotional health. The gel pad keeps your heel safe from any high impact by absorbing the shock with each impact.
Getting a good pair of insoles would help align your joints and reduce stress on your feet, knees, ankles, hips, and back while maintaining the perfect balance. These can be bought within the range of $99.95 to $109.95 depending on the type of insole you deem perfect for your feet.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro
Running would be really boring without music or a podcast to listen to, or even the audio-based instructions and pep talks you need to keep yourself going on the track. The problem that comes with it is that the wired headphones tangle with the running process and the wireless often drop out mid-run. Luckily, there are a few running earphones that are perfect for your fitness routine.
The Amazfit Powerbuds Pro are ideal for running as they offer Exercise heart rate monitoring, Cervical spine posture reminders, Smart hearing protection, Active noise cancellation up to 40dB, Dust and Water resistance, and a Secure and Comfortable fit. The sensors alert you if they detect an alarmingly high rate of heartbeat, thus ensuring your health and saving you from possible incidents. You’ll also be getting numerous notifications and reminders about your progress throughout the run to keep you updated about your achievements. The best part? You don’t have to worry about the battery draining in the long run as they offer up to 30 hours of battery time. They’re available for $149.99 and are worth the investment, but the only drawback is that they might be too big for some ears.
Polar M430 Running Watch
The Polar M430 is one of the finest running watches out there that address all your running needs and can accompany you well in all your runs to ensure your health and fitness. This watch is perfect because of its feature of running training program and it plans to train you for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and a marathon. It tells you how much to run in a day depending on your goals, when to rest by considering the workout load and recovery time needed, and then tracks your progress through the days with an index and graph for your knowledge. These statistics can be shared with your coach or shared on an app, such as Nike+ Run Club, Strava, TrainingPeaks, MyFitnessPal, and several others.
The monitoring of your heart rate is continuous throughout the day and keeps you in check with your beats, which also helps in calculating the time you were active, the amount of sleep you’re getting, and the number of calories you’ve burned in a day or after a single run. It is available for $199.95 and will be worth the cost if you’re enthusiastic about running. Additionally, the watch itself is waterproof and can also be worn if you plan on going for a swim.
The only drawback of this watch is that it consists of a monochrome display (for longer battery life) which might bother some users.
Running Knee Brace Compression Sleeve
If you’re a runner who’s being held back because of your painful knee or injury recovery, you don’t have to stay at home. Instead, what you can do is get a knee brace compression sleeve that provides instant support, stability, and relief from pain, swelling, stiffness, and soreness, as well as make your knee strong even if you’re suffering from jumper’s knee, tendonitis, or arthritis.
Although the brace itself can’t heal your knee and relieve pain, its power support technology helps in improving your blood circulation and heating your muscles, thus providing more oxygen to your knees and reducing the buildup of lactic acid. This leads to an incredible performance at running and faster recovery from painful knees as well as reduced risk of injuries mid-run.
This specific knee brace comes with a no-slip double grip mechanism that ensures that you don’t have to constantly stop to pull your sleeve back up while running as it gets frustrating and kills the purpose of supporting your knees. Additionally, the sleeves are very lightweight and breathable compared to various other compression sleeves that are either too bulky or hot for your knee. These brace sleeves will not bunch up behind your knees either and can be worn not just under shorts but easily under trousers as well.
Having said that, a few users ran into trouble with the wrong sizes and adjustment issues so make sure that you order the exact size you need or you’d end up with a sleeve that doesn’t fit your knee.
Running with a weight vest offers numerous benefits, such as improved running posture, strength gain, increased speed, additional calories burnt, and heightened endurance and agility. A study was carried out with 11 long-distance runners who showed an increase of around 2.9 percent after running with a weight vest. (Barnes. 2014)
The reason behind this is that when your body gets used to exerting a certain amount of force when you run with a weight vest, your body ends up exerting the same amount of force for when you run without any vest or additional support. This is a proven method by several runners; to cut down on their pace quickly and train the body to exert more force to improve their running capabilities.
The Aduro Sport Weighted Vest includes iron as weights instead of the smelly river sand, and these weights are distributed evenly to add extra resistance without slipping or sliding during your runs. It is made of soft neoprene material to keep your back comfortable and allow air to flow in for a lighter workout.
Additionally, it comes with a mesh pocket for you to either store your accessories or add extra weight pockets if needed. However, a few users on Amazon have reported that the vest got ripped sooner than expected and the fillings leaked out, while a small majority claimed that the structural integrity isn’t as ideal as it should’ve been.
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
No one is unfamiliar with the concept of a treadmill as it is the best alternative to running outdoors. There could be numerous reasons behind why a person would prefer staying indoors for running, such as lack of proper routes, harsh weather, or the pandemic that restricted people from going and isolated people in their houses.
Regardless of the situation, treadmills are important and a good treadmill will only make things easier and efficient. The TR150 Folding Treadmill is a brilliant option as it offers a top-notch experience of running with the flexibility of a machine that can be folded up and kept away to not take much space.
It has features such as a 5” LED screen, 12 preset workout programs, direct access speed buttons, XTRA Soft Cushioned Deck technology that provides maximum impact absorption, thus minimizing the stress on your joints and providing a more comfortable workout, and lastly the accessory holders that are integrated into the console to conveniently hold your water bottle, portable music player, remote control, phone, and more.
Although it is a recommended item for treadmill uses, some users have complained that they’ve faced deteriorating or technical issues within the first few weeks.
When you’re a beginner, it is given that your posture and way of running might not be the best and could prove to be problematic if not worked on and improved. Therefore, these are the basic things to know about your body positions for when you’re running.
- Head: When running, you should be looking toward the horizon instead of to the sky or at the ground as you’re leaning in a forward position. Keep your jaw and face relaxed.
- Shoulders: Tightening your shoulders as you run isn’t a good idea; you should keep them loose and stay relaxed as you run without creating or increasing tension in your shoulders.
- Arms: Your arms will swing as you run but it is up to you to ensure that they only swing forward and back and not any other swinging motion. These swings should also be kept below the midline of your chest and relaxed, and all the motion should be in the lower arms while the upper arms shouldn’t be moved much.
- Torso: The posture of your torso holds a lot of importance in the way you run. You should be straight up with your torso stretched without any rolls or strains to maximize breathing.
- Legs: It is advised to not lift your knees a lot when running, especially in longer distances, as this takes a lot of energy and would make running tough, instead, move your ankles quickly to move and improve speed.
- Hands: Try to cup your hands with your thumb touching the top of your index finger, but not too tight like a fist.
With this, our detailed discussion about various aspects of running and apps & equipment needed comes to an end. Now it’s up to you to do your research, give it a shot, and decide what works best for you.