I used to really be into jogging, and I’d spend hours after school each day marathon training, most days I’d run 5-7 miles. The most I’ve ever ran non stop was 20 miles on a Saturday, and it was an awesome experiance! Pushing myself to different limits is a really empowering feeling for me, and it made me feel great about myself. I’ve compiled some of my favorite tips I’ve either learned from experience, or from respected/ experienced marathoners who I’ve ran with. Even though I signed up for several marathons, I never got my name pulled to actually participate. Maybe one day! Until then, I’ll continue enjoying casual jogs during the cold months & wait for sping to get back into more intense runs.
1) Look ahead. Have you ever tried yawning with your chin pressed against your own chest? Try it. It hurts & it’s difficult to do. Looking straight ahead & not at your feet lets you open your airways, helping you more than anything other tip on this list.
2) Take really big steps. You use the same amount of energy taking tiny steps as you do taking long ones (No really, trust me on this). Stretch out as much as you can in your stride, but don’t force yourself to feeling like you’re doing the splits. Just go to the edge of your comfort zone & try to stay there. Also, don’t slap your feet onto the ground. It’s difficult at first, but you shouldn’t hear your feet hit the ground.
3) Talk! You should be able to speak in complete, uninterrupted sentences when casually jogging/running. If you can’t, it’s okay to stop (talking) to breathe!
4) Sing! Also, if you can jog in private or on backroads, talking or singing is a great idea, it lets you use your lungs more fully, and it makes future runs so much easier.
5) Don’t fear hills. Like singing/talking while jogging, practicing jogging on them makes your flat jogs much quicker and more efficient.
6) Learn how to position your hands. Make a fist with your thumb on your pointer finger. Slide a pencil in the fist of your hand. Remove the pencil. That’s how you should hold your hands, not loose & floppy, but not too tight. And ladies- if you do races or intense exercises, trim your fingernails. I found that when I’m pushing myself to my limits, I ball my fists up a LOT. Sometimes it’s to the point I make my palms bleed & I don’t even notice it. When you jog, your arms should be at a relaxed 90 degree angle, bending at the elbow, with a relaxed swing. The longer your stride, the more swing you’ll have. Think of how a train operates using that bar to move its ‘wheels’.
7) Stretch before (& after!) each run. I used to ignore this one too until I started doing 7+ mile jogs, and then I got extremely stiff. What kind of stretches do I do?
– stand in front of stairs/curb. Put your heel 3 or so inches away from it, facing the curb or stair step. Partially step onto it, this will push your foot upwards. You should feel this on the bottom of your foot, esp. the arch. Repeat with the other foot. Alternate 2 or 3 times with each foot, about 15 seconds each.
– stand on the curb or stair step, with the arch of your foot & forward to your toes on the curb. Your heels should be hanging off the edge in the air. Stand on your tip toes with your heels above the curb. Then, put your heels down below the curb. You’ll really feel this in the back of your legs (and it feels great!).
– stand straight on a flat surface. Grab & pull one knee to your chest, hold for 15 seconds or so. Repeat with other leg.
– pull your heel up to your butt & hold it 15 seconds if you can. Repeat with other foot.
-sit flat on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Grab your ankles & hold as long as you comfortably can, and add 5 seconds to that.
8) Have good shoes. Jog 10 or more times within 1 month before you buy running shoes. They can be expensive if you never use them! When you do buy your first set of running shoes, bring about $130-$150 with you. I prefer Fleet Feet, but any store that watches you walk or jog on their treadmill to determine what type of shoes you require is a must. They’ll tell you how you run (for example: I run on the ‘outsides’ of my feet) & find shoes that fit you. They’ll also tell you how long your shoes will last. The $100-$150 range lasts about 500 miles. But you can buy shoes that last 2000 miles!
9) Listen to good music (with a fast, pace setting beat) or jog with friends. And do local races! It mixes things up, and pushes you to be a better runner. If you run on country roads like I do, only have 1 headphone in & keep your music low. You should be able to hear yourself softly clap your hands.
10) Track yourself. I personally love the “map my run” app. It tells me my speed, my pace per minute, and how far I’ve traveled in what time. And when I’m done? It’s got a map of where I’ve been! It records your total miles & improvements for years as well, and best of all? It’s free!
11) Be safe! If you jog on the roads, be aware of your surroundings. Run on the correct side of the road, and read signs. Tell a friend or family member when & where you’ll be, and keep your phone on you. You can carry pepper spray, or use jogging apparel with built in conceal carry pockets. A popular place to hold conceal carries, is the small of your back, held in place by a carry belt, under a loose t shirt. It’s easy to access, but not in the way.
12) Rest well. Don’t be afraid to take off a few days if you’re sore! You’re not going to lose progress if your break is less than 5 days. Don’t risk hurting your body for jogging. And drink lots of water, it’s important, regardless of if you’re a jogger or not.
Have fun with it!
What are your jogging tips? What helped you improve the most? Do you have any favorite products or brands to improve your run?
As always, thanks for your inputs & for reading!!