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Running is an obsession for many people in the Australia, with about 2 million Australians regularly taking to the streets, parks, or beaches to improve their fitness levels. However, while this is good news for their waistlines, many are not getting the most from their runs. Why is that? Because many runners make basic mistakes that can drastically reduce the benefits of their efforts.
The first thing that runners need to address is their footwear. Poorly made or ill-fitting shoes can cause discomfort and injuries, which will ultimately compromise your fitness program.
Most good running stores now feature a gait analysis tool, with which staff can analyse your stride and foot shape, finding a shoe that meets your own unique needs. This service is worth the cost for anyone who is serious about purchasing proper running shoes.
Just because you run, doesn't mean you don't have to watch what you eat. One of the worst mistakes that runners make is to indulge their appetite, feeling that their gluttony is outweighed by their work on the road.
Don't be fooled by your gut. Stick to a balanced diet that features moderate portions and steers well clear of fast food. Sure, you can enjoy a burger and fries once a week, but never entertain the thought that a few miles on the treadmill islicense to binge. If you do overeat, you'll soon find that your exercise stops having such a beneficial effect.
One good way to avoid the temptation to binge eat is to follow the dietary plan suggested by a wearable fitness tracker. Many of the latest wearable devices provide plans that are tailored to runners, so take advantage of their advice.
Forget about emulating the elites. Running is for everybody, not just world champion marathon specialists. Whether you run in the suburbs, the gym or by the beach - you will always find show-offs who love to display their prowess, shaming us mortals with their fitness chops.
Most people can't run a mile in under four minutes and never will. If you feel like you are being left behind, take heart from the vast majority of runners who struggle to better their times. But don't give up. Measure yourself against your previous efforts, and the times or distances suggested by professional exercise plans, not your local ultra-distance enthusiast.
Wherever you run and however far you like to go, hydration is absolutely essential, yet it's surprising how easy it is to forget to take enough water. You might feel that the weight of a water bottle will slow you down, but that's a mistake. It's better to take regular drinks than to speed ahead without water.
Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, and cramps. If you run in hot conditions, heat stroke can be a serious health risk. Remember to take a few sips every 15 minutes; the worst that can happen is a stitch, which is better than becoming dehydrated.
Many runners worry that eating before they jog can lead to indigestion. That's not an unreasonable fear if you down a bucket of fried chicken and then hit the road. However, you do need to eat properly before exercising.
Try eating light but calorie-dense snacks. Energy bars provide ready energy without sitting heavily in your stomach. Bananas are good too, and granola can do almost as well. Don't eat directly before running; wait for 20 to 30 minutes. The result will be a steadier release of energy and better performance, so don't starve yourself before you run.
Sometimes, runners take a casual approach to their exercise, seeing it as a hobby rather than a key element of a healthy lifestyle. In some ways, that's fine. After all, you need to enjoy running, or the whole effort will collapse at some stage. However, taking a more scientific approach can work wonders for helping you succeed.
It's a good idea to log every run, recording your time and the distance travelled. That way, you can get a feel for your progress. Heart monitors can also record your baseline heart rate, which should fall as you run more regularly; you may also want to record your diet to find a lifestyle that meets all of your personal needs.
Modern GPS Sports Watches can record all of this data and generate user-friendly tables and graphs to make sense of it all. With that information, runners can see at a glance how they are doing, and where they might be going wrong.
Before the advent of wearable devices, running the same route every day was understandable. If you varied your route too much, you couldn't be sure how far you were running, and comparisons were tough to make. Now you can tightly monitor your distance, whichever route you opt for.
By varying your routes, you can help to avoid boredom and second thoughts about the whole exercise. There may be trails nearby that offer beautiful views. There might be special running paths in the local parks or beaches that you haven't visited yet. When you vary your routes, it is less likely that running will become stale, so experiment and keep your passion for running as bright as ever.
If you run regularly, or if you plan to take it up, these mistakes are all easy to avoid, and rectifying them can vastly increase the productivity of your runs. Jogging is a rewarding, liberating activity with huge health benefits, and if you do it well, it can add years to your life. So don't short-change your body -- get it right. Faster times, more weight loss, and better endurance will surely follow.