Health (things to know)

Happy National Running Day! Products to Improve your Cardio Fitness

To be honest, I never knew there was a National Running Day until this year. Sure there are marathons, triathlons, 5Ks, Turkey Trots, and the like, but what is national running day? Well, turns out it is designated to be a day of celebration among all those who share a passion for running. On the first Wednesday in June all running enthusiasts can cover ground and rejoice in their free outdoor epic workouts 🙂

I could probably write an entire book about running: benefits, form, running outdoors, etc. But much of that information is already very accessible to most. If you’re not sure where to find it, here are some of my suggestions.

Katherine at FitBodyNow has great instructional videos about form and technique when running.

The benefits of running are cited in numerous places, including RunnersWorld, and are backed by scientific evidence.

Running is a free activity! There are many (free) apps to help determine good running routes. One that I’ve used is MapMyRun which allows you to view running routes in your area and also map your own. WalkJogRun is similar, but allows you to “draw” your running route on a map (you can check my twitter feed for the run I just mapped- 3.25 miles, pictured below). The routes that others create are public, so there are bound to be new ideas available.

I’ve also been recently intrigued by the FitBit. It’s a small device that can track your steps, distance covered, sleep, and calories burned as long as you wear it. You can upload all of your data and actually see how much you’re moving during the day and sleeping at night. Maybe it’s because I’m secretly a Statistics Nerd, but I think that’s so cool! With my birthday around the corner, I think I have something to add to my list 🙂

But, like any physically demanding activity, there are also some issues that can accompany it. While I do absolutely love running, I’ve also had terrible shin splints in the past from running too often (and likely also from not stretching enough… I was one naive 18 year old). Since then, there are two pieces of wisdom I’ve gained that have helped tremendously.

1.) My mom told me about a great place to get custom insoles for my sneakers. Despite the fact that they are a bit pricey (mine were somewhere between $50-$100, if I recall correctly), they are the best solution to permit running without pain. I’ve had them now for 5 or 6 years, which means that I’ve spent about $0.03 per day to own them. Based on the durability and reliability of my insoles, I’d bet it eventually ends up being less than one cent per day. Worth it! Mine are from Aline, and the idea is that they force your feet to do more of the work to lessen the impact going through your shins. It took a few days to get used to them, but I absolutely love these now.

2.) Good running sneakers. Now this is kind of the bad news, because good running shoes are expensive and also wear out relatively quickly depending on how much you run. I should probably replace mine every year, but being a student doesn’t really permit me to indulge in that kind of extravagance, so I settle for every 2-3 years (I know- shame, shame on me).

My favorite running sneakers are from Asics. Their Gel Nimbus is supposed to be the king of running shoes, and I was lucky enough to find these on sale once back in the day…but typically I stick to the Gel Pulse, because it’s about 33% cheaper yet still has the structural and cushion benefits of the more expensive ones.

I also like New Balance 940, but have worn these mostly for teaching fitness and less frequently for running. The most important thing I look at is the bottom of the shoe- it needs to have a small indent for my arch and good grip for traction.

In sum, footwear is critical. Between running, plyometrics, and general fitness enthusiasm, I don’t know where I’d be without good sneakers and my insoles.

Hopefully this post has given you some good resources and food for thought! Happy National Running Day 🙂

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