"No matter where you fall on the running spectrum, there's always room for improvement," says Rebekah Mayer, National Run Training Manager for Life Time Fitness - The Healthy Way of Life Company. "If you're striving to become a better runner, you might need to make some changes or switch up your routine."
Below are five tips from Mayer to help amp up your run so you can feel great while making each workout count:
Ease into your outdoor runs
If you've been hitting the treadmill all winter and are just beginning to run outdoors, take it slow. Pavement is harder on your knees and joints than a treadmill belt, and your running form is a little different when you're outside on the ground. Start by taking some easy workouts outdoors, and then progress into harder workouts. By then, all the trails will be fully clear and your legs will have a chance to adapt.
Ditch the background noise
Consider leaving your headphones at home. While music is essential to beat boredom on a treadmill, many runners come to enjoy the quiet solitude or group chatter when running outdoors, especially when you run with a friend. Without headphones, it's also easier to hear traffic, animals or approaching pedestrians. If music is absolutely necessary, try running with only one ear bud in.
Make it memorable
Take the time to make some of your runs a little more interesting. Is there a trail system a short drive from your home or nearest health club? Even if it doesn't fit into your daily routine, doing some runs at a more scenic location every so often can make the miles much more enjoyable. Changing up your routine also helps keep your body challenged so you can continue to build strength and endurance.
Gather your running buddies
Running with friends is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Running with a buddy on a treadmill is fun as well, but an outdoor running pal or group can help the time and miles pass more quickly. Life Time destinations nationwide host Tuesday Night Social Runs with varying distances and they're complimentary for members and non-members. There's nothing like good conversation to keep you entertained during your workout. Running partners can be good pace setters as well and might even suggest some new running routes or trails you've never tried before.
Dress the part
If you run in the dark, choose reflective clothing and a headlamp for safety. On rainy days, add a water resistant jacket and a cap to keep water out of your eyes. This will make the weather more tolerable. If temperatures are cool, choose an outer layer you can easily remove if you get too warm. Life Time is a firm believer that the right pair of shoes can help prevent injury, so make sure you find a pair that works for your running style.
Use these tips to make the most of each run or if you're one of the thousands of Americans who's currently training for a marathon, check out lifetimerun.com to sign up for a virtual or in-person run training plan.