n this week’s blog, we have a very special guest blogger, Akesha Smith, a track and field athlete, who answers all our common running questions!
Are you a Runner Lover or Hater? Or maybe, like me, it’s a bittersweet bond. Running is like a relationship. You have good days and bad ones! Who knew when you started running, you’d be forging such a commitment! I bet no one warned you about that, haha! A bond that is so strong that if you’re like me, your bank account suffers daily due to your impulsive and obsessive buying of sportswear! Do any other runners out there have an unhealthy obsession with sportswear? They really come hand in hand; I can’t run in anything. I need about 50 leggings with a healthy rotation of different running shoes to match!
Alas, I digress. We’re not here to discuss my never-ending sportswear collection! You’re here to get some answers. Don’t worry, I am here to give them to you, so sit back with a cuppa and let’s get started!
Does Running Get Any Easier?
Haha, I love this question. Short answer, yes and no. Probably not the answer you were looking for, but it is my honest answer. Yes, running will get easier as you get stronger, but in turn, it will get harder. As you’re getting stronger, naturally, you’ll begin to push yourself. It can become quite addicting. You can feel yourself constantly getting stronger and faster, and you’ll want to continue with this running streak before your legs give out on you!
Just remember, though, rest is also just as important. You can’t possibly continue to grow if you don’t allow your body to have the rest it needs. Don’t go overboard and overdo it! Nothing good comes from forcing something too much. You can avoid a lot of silly injuries if you listen to your body.
Do I Need to Do Some Sort of Warm-up or Stretches Before I Run?
I always do a warm-up before I set out for a run. Think of it like this, would you pour the milk first before the cereal- wait on, second thought, never mind, that can spark up a whole debate that is not what you’re here for! What I’m getting at is, our bodies are like machines. Without a bit of oil to help it along the way, it gets rusty! The oil in this instance is the warm-up you do before your runs. Let’s face it. We don’t have the same spring in our step, like when we were 12year old—know I don’t! Doing a warm-up helps the body prepare itself for the activity ahead. It reduces the risk of injuries and prepares you mentally for what you are about to do. Dynamic stretches like lunges, high knees, skips are all good dynamic stretches you can do to help get the blood flowing in your muscles.
Does Running Burn a Lot of Calories?
I get asked this question a lot due to my current physique, and I always give the same answer. It depends. Yes, running and cardio, in general, does burn the calories and fat but maybe not as quickly as people think. In terms of running, there are many factors to take into why some people lose calories quickly than others. You need to consider a person’s gender, age, ability, health, weight, body composition and numerous other variables.
I personally do various workouts that have given me the body that I have now; I find adding variety to your workouts keeps you entertained and motivated and helps sculpt your body. However, if you are a stickler when it comes to counting calories and wanting to know how much you burn, I would highly recommend getting a sports watch. Smartwatches will take your physical and health details into account and, in turn, be able to give you an accurate number of how much you’re burning and in some. Cases how much you should be putting into your body.
Do I Need to Buy a Lot of Fancy Gear to Be a Runner?
No! One of the best things about running is that you can do it anywhere, either alone or with some friends. All you need to do is get up and go! I love how accessible running is. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do; you can just wake up one day and go out for a run. It doesn’t have to be fast or really long, it’s your run, and it can be anything you want it to be. You can mix it up a bit and do a jog/walk or throw in some skips along the way, whatever you fancy! There are no rules when it comes to running. The most important thing is you have fun. It is very easy for people to get caught up in the hype and start to be something or someone their not.
Now I’m not saying, don’t buy any fancy gear or clothing. I am in no position to tell you not to buy what you want, but don’t feel like you have to buy it to start running.
Top Tips for First-Time Buyers for Runners
- Running shoes, do some research! It’s not always about the latest and most expensive trainers. Get a proper fitting and find what is right for you and the current level you are at.
- Go to actual running stores where you can get on hand expert advise. Ask a load of questions; trust me, we love it! Runners love talking about running and everything to do with it. We’re a friendly bunch, trust me!
- When looking at sportswear, look at the feature of the material. Is it flexible, breathable? Is the material durable? Can it be worn for exercise? Don’t be fooled. Due to fashion trends now, there are many sport-styled products out there that are more for lifestyle and not actual workouts.
Should I Eat Before I Run? if Yes, How Long Before the Run?
Definitely eat something! If you want to run well and consistently, you need to fuel your body with food. Depending on the run I am doing, I personally like to eat something minimum 2hrs before I run. If I eat something with less than 2hrs to my run, it’s something very light like some fruit or an energy bar. The last thing you want on your run is a stitch because you ate too heavy or close to the time!
Should I Run Everyday?
If you are not yet an experienced runner, I would highly recommend not rushing into running every day. You could inflict unwanted niggles and injuries that could have easily been avoided. When starting something new, especially when it comes to physical exercises, it will take some time for the body to adjust and adapt to the new changes. Your body will undergo new feelings, which I won’t lie to you may hurt. You’ll feel aches and pains you may not have felt before. Remember, there’s no rush, so take your time and enjoy the process and allow your body to naturally adjust to the new changes you’re incorporating into your lifestyle.
Akesha Smith is a track and field athlete specialising in 400m hurdles and competes competitively around England. She began her love for running thanks to her older sister. From a young age, she admired her sister and so started her first steps into the running world when she joined a running group at eleven. She currently trains six days a week, with the sport now becoming second nature to her.
You can continue following Akesha’s story and finding out more about her by following her on Instagram.