The 5 Building Blocks of Running
Some of the most popular toys on the market for children are Legos, and for good reason! Whether you’re following a set of dictated instructions or letting your imagination run wild, these tiny blocks can be used to create structures of different patterns and colors. They can be incredibly fun and entertaining, but I think they’re also educational because of a specific lesson that can be garnered from them.
That lesson is If you have the right building blocks, things can come to be!
This detail can be applied to numerous aspects of life, including running. There are plenty of layers and factors involved with running, but some are more imperative than others. These aspects are what we’ll refer to as the Building Blocks of Running, and they are important for a positive and successful run.
Before you can commit to any exercise regimen, you have to first make the decision to do so, and excelling at any type of routine could require determination that will push you through your beginning days. Most things in life, you might find, require time and effort to perfect, so you shouldn’t expect to dive into a fitness plan that you master at first try. You might struggle. You might completely fail. And you’ll need determination to push through to reach a level of success with your chosen strategy.
since each exercise style varies, this building block requires its own unique research —maybe in books—to uncover the right knowledge to best pursue it. For running, this particular building block takes the shape of knowing the right running form—from how high to lift your head to how to far apart your steps should be—as well as understanding how any particular health issue you have should consider before beginning. Your doctor should be consulted for any concerns you have about what you can and can’t handle, and you should apply that knowledge to your running plan to add this block to your running masterpiece!
The next level would be to make sure you’re taking that knowledge and using it to prepare in the most basic of ways, whether that’s realizing you’ll need to ease into your running goals or working on physical details about yourself that need to be catered to before you begin that first run.
This can be limited to having a certain health condition that merits attention, but you can also expand it to include basic strategies that will improve your running capabilities. There are plenty of exercises that you can do to better your stamina, muscle strength, and general fluidity to see to this preparation—like specific squats, planks, and box jumps. Clearly, you don’t have to do these exercises to start running, but if you realize you could use physical preparation to be ready to undertake a serious run, they’re good Lego blocks to apply!
Tailoring Your Habits
The next layer of blocks would be habits in your life that, if you alter them appropriately, can better you as a runner. One of those habits is your sleeping pattern. Running can be taxing, so a good night’s sleep before the planned run is one of the best advantages you can give yourself. Sleep is a space of time that allows the opportunity for muscle recovery and growth, bone building and fat burning. Not getting enough sleep can lead to irritability, hunger and inability to concentrate. Insufficient sleep has also been labeled as a culprit for causing a not-so-grand sensation of being bloated during a run. There truly is no way to overstate how important a good night’s rest is to tackle a day—or run—at your best! So be sure you’re getting the necessary amount – 7.5 hours is the recommendation – though a bit more is certainly a good option as well!
The amount of water you take in is also a habit that can be adjusted for the sake of running better. If you’re preparing for a race, for example, one source says you should “start hydrating four days before [it].” This links with the knowledge Lego layer since too much water can be problematic for a runner. It’s important to do your research to figure out how much you should drink for your run, and how soon you should start doing so for your intended goal. By making sure you’re getting the right amount, you can help to prevent unpleasant things like dehydration and a stroke from too little water, and something as the horrible and potentially fatal hyponatremia brought on by too much water. Along a similar train of thought, understanding what your diet should look like for the best running potential can benefit you. There’s no question that water and food are building blocks in being a successful runner given the physical exertion your body is enduring, but they need to be put in just the right places for best results!
Now that you’re prepped with the right knowledge in regard to how you should run, you’ve tended to your health needs, you’re well-rested, and you’re sufficiently hydrated and fed, you’re ready for your run! And yet, you could argue that there’s one more building block layer to consider—incentives! It could be that fitness is your only goal, and if that’s the case, you could set a specific target to aim for. Once you reach it, your reward is knowing that you accomplished it. If you find you need a little extra incentive though, think about treating yourself in other ways—maybe promise to buy yourself something you really want, like a new electronic, should you manage to finish that marathon you’re working toward. You might find that with this extra layer of Lego blocks, you’re more inclined to push yourself to fulfill your goals!
If you follow these guidelines, you could have a solid structure for your exercise plan—like a Lego Masterpiece of Running!