SLJ 7 - Why and how to keep running

'Why and How to keep running'
The list of reasons I could give you as to WHY you keep running is as long as my arm and many you will already know well.  We all run for a lot of the same reasons as well as some very different ones, here is a short list of those I think should cover most people.
- Live happier
- Live longer
- Sneeze less
- Strengthen your body and bones 
- Stress relief
- Improve your fitness and feel good
- Sleep better


Now a few bits of advice as to HOW to keep running - 
Progress training gradually  Set goals that are realistic and appropriate.  This makes them easier to achieve and in turn you continue to be more motivated.  Set you own pace and schedule, whilst taking into account the rest of life and how much time you can honestly set aside for your training/leisure.

- Consistency  Try to be consistent in your training.   It is better to exercise twice a week than aim for 4 times, miss sessions, stop , start, stop, start..... it is not nearly as beneficial as a consistent pattern. We all know that holidays and life sometimes get in the way of our leisure time but try to get back into your consistent pattern as soon as things settle again.

- Cross Training  If you have time in your life you will benefit from participating in some kind of exercise other than just running.  It helps to improve your overall strength and helps to reduce risk of injury.  Mixing things up means you are not constantly subjecting the same muscles and joints to impact or overuse.

- Don't Overdo Things  Follow any hard training session with an easy one, not hard followed by hard, this will increase the risk of injury.  Overdoing things can be counter-productive.  Be aware of the signs of over training - Generally feeling exhausted/ Legs feeling agitated/ Signs of being run down e.g. colds, viruses, dry skin/ coldsores/ ulcers etc.

- Running Community Running alongside others can encourage you, challenge you and help you along the way.  Its great to find others to run with who keep the same pace, both for company and so you can help them feel good about their running the same way  they will do for you.

- Fuel for running   Ensure that you have eaten sufficiently and are well hydrated before exercise, even the day before if you are a morning runner.  It is important to balance the energy that comes into and goes out of your body, too much of an imbalance could lead to poor recovery and lowering your immune system.   Although you may not feel like eating immediately after running it is important to eat and drink within the first 20 mins of exercise to re-balance sugar levels, re-fuel energy stores and repair those muscles you have been working so hard.  A small healthy post run snack will prevent your body going into overdrive later and craving the not-so-healthy alternatives (hopefully).

- Rest Days  Rest and recovery days are essential in your mission to continue running.  No matter how much you love an activity overkill can lead to boredom and injury.  Your running workouts will help you increase your fitness only if they are followed by rest and recovery promoting activities.  Ignoring your need for recovery can lead to injuries, a reduction in your performance and more than likely a loss of enjoyment.  Recovery days are the time when improvement happens and our bodies adapt after our hard work.  Walking, swimming, slow jog or any activity at a low intensity are ok on these days as they help repair muscle fibres if kept at easy/recovery level.