If you’re one of those individuals who took up running at the height of lockdown and are still continuing to do so, then give yourself a massive pat on the back for maintaining a regular fitness regime even during the dark & cold days that now occupy November.
However, is running really all we need to do to stay in shape or is there more we should be doing to challenge our bodies and get better results?
Can you stay fit by just running?
Running is one of the most easily accessible forms of Heart & Cardiovascular exercise a person can do. There’s no need to go to a gym, you don’t require any extra equipment, apart from a good pair of supportive trainers, and by choosing to run regularly you should eventually notice that your leg muscles are stronger - this means they should be better adapted at absorbing the impact or your run. In fact, running should work to improve the strength of your entire musculoskeletal system over time.
It is also believed that the Body burns approximately 100 calories for every mile that you run. However, while running will help you burn those calories, it won't improve your shape & fitness if you're simply burning foods from a poor & unhealthy diet. Regardless of diet, it’s important to mix things up a bit in your workout. A regular strength training session should provide you with the stability and strength you require to avoid a running related injury - something I myself have since learned to do the hard way.
Is it OK to run every day?
No, not really! Remember you don't need to train like an elite athlete to keep yourself in good shape. Running every day can actually be bad for your health as it may increase the risk of overuse injuries like muscle tears or stress fractures.
I can actually speak from experience here. At the beginning of lockdown I was cycling or running for at least 45 minutes to an hour everyday. And while I consume a healthy diet and am in relatively good shape for a man in his late 30's, I soon suffered. Constant cycling soon left me with an arm injury that took almost a year to heal, while in a separate incident, running left me an injury to my hip/lower groin area, for which I am still waiting on a scan to confirm whether or not I actually suffered a hernia.
Depending on your overall level of fitness, you should look to run between 2-4 days a week so that on the days you don't run, you're giving your body sufficient time to rest and repair itself.
What will give me energy before a run?
Light Snacks or Protein Snacks, such as a piece of fruit or small protein bar or ball should provide you with enough Energy to get you through your run. And when you get home it's essential to rehydrate yourself with Mineral Water and a light meal like Porridge with a banana, a bagel with Peanut Butter or toast with natural Honey.
What supplements should I be taking as a runner?
As we now know running isn’t just about muscle, but about the health of our Joints & Bones too! Vitamin D is the ideal supplement to strengthen your teeth and bones. It also boosts your Immune System (essential for winter time runs) and helps improve Heart Health.
Magnesium (which is something that is lacking in today’s modern diet) may support your running performance because it has the ability to reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which forms during a run when the body burns glycogen without oxygen.
What are good drinks for runners?
Apart from the performance-boosting caffeine jolt a cup of Tea or Coffee can provide you with, water and Coconut Water are good drinks for runners. And if you want to go that little bit further, then our selection of Cherry and Beetroot Sport drinks from Active Edge and Beet It Sport are certainly worth your consideration.
Conclusion: Should I workout during Christmas?
Committing to your regular runs over the festive period may prove difficult due to time spent with the family but it’s important to maintain some sort of physical activity, so be sure to set aside some time for training. After all, we all like to indulge a little at Christmas time but even 15 minutes of running, walking or yoga will not only reduce your chances of gaining weight but also reduce your levels of Stress too!
Written by our content writer, Mark @wellfedseasider on Instagram.