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These 5 tips will help transform the quality of your

When it comes to running, making it a habit is key to ensuring you stick at it and feel the many benefits. However, you want to make sure it’s a good routine, rather than finding out a few months down the line that you’ve made some bad habits that affect the quality of your run.

Let’s take a look at some good habits you can form instead.

1. Hold your horses

Don’t take on too much too soon. Take it easy at the start — don’t overload yourself and risk an injury or burning out before you’ve even begun. Rest days are key for muscle restoration — and depending on how intensely you are training, 48 hours might be necessary to avoid stiffness or over-tiring your body.

A rest day doesn’t have to mean any activity though. You could try a brisk walk or swimming instead. For more seasoned runners, this advice also holds true for races. Slow and steady.

2. Stretch, stretch, stretch Skipping stretching would be a mistake. There are no quick fixes when it comes to fitness, so make sure you tick all the boxes before you set out. Take a few minutes before and after to warm up and down. Your muscles will thank you! Stretching is key because it lengthens muscles and tendons, which helps with flexibility.

3. Forward not downward When you’re running, it’s important to face directly in front of you. In other words, don’t look down. Focus on what’s ahead of you and this will help keep your posture and spine in the right position as opposed to hunching over. This will ensure you do your best to avoid hip and lower back pain.

4. Make sure you’re hydrated It might not be possible for you to carry much water on runs, so it’s important to ensure you’re well hydrated before you set off. On longer runs, this might involve planning to loop back and refill your bottle at home, or planning a spot to refill.

Hydration is key because blood volume is lowered when you sweat, which means your heart has to make extra effort to deliver oxygen to muscles.

5. And finally… More than likely, running is something you’re doing to feel better about yourself — not worse. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a run or if you occasionally don’t stick to all the rules. Be your own motivational coach and encourage yourself, don’t beat yourself up.

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