It’s official: running makes you happy. Of the 13,000 new runners recently studied by England Athletic, 74% said they had improved mental wellbeing after taking up the sport. It makes you fitter, obviously. Stronger as well. The trouble is, running can also become a bore if you end up in a route rut or wracked by fitness fatigue. Before you know it, your running shoes are gathering dust in a cupboard and you’ve misplaced your motivation down the back of the sofa.
Runner’s World and Under Armour are here to make sure that never happens again. With a few new tricks up your sleeve, and new kicks on your feet, you’re more likely to take running in your stride again. Put that PB in your sights. Below are the ultimate tips for upgrading your pavement pounding – from taking it off road to facing the ultimate fitness challenges. Lace up: we’ll see you on the road.
1. Run your own crew
When it comes to running, there’s strength in numbers. That England Athletic study also found that 90% of the 13,000 runners felt a significant boost after exercising as part of a group, due to increased motivation and new friendships. Rope in your friends. Join another crew. The road doesn’t have to be a solitary training ground.
2. Switch-up your surface
Running the dual carriageway isn’t the only route to fitness. Your local running track is a great place finish with speed drills and test your times with consistency. The unstable surface created by a sandy beach challenges your foot muscles in new ways. Plus, according to the University of Innsbruck, trail running – taking things off-piste – is one of the strongest exercise-induced mood boosts.
3. Reroute your running
If you’re a pavement purist, that’s fine too. But novelty is the key to longevity. Switch up your routes a couple of times each week to keep things interesting. You can either deliberately get a bit lost and then find your way home as part of your jog, or use an app like Map My Run to discover new options in your area.
4. Become a pathfinder
Why not throw caution in the bin and discover a new route entirely? Stick a pin in the map, pack your kit and jump on a train. Use Map My Run again but in this entirely novel area. You’ll turn your jog into an adventure. Combine all of the above tips by taking some mates with you and making it a trail run.
5. Change-up your gear
Maybe it’s time to throw your old kit in the bin as well. We’ve all had that feeling: you put on new running shoes and can’t wait to put them to the test. There’s a booster shot of motivation that comes from looking down and knowing your trainers are as up to the challenge as you are. Make it a pair of HOVR Phantoms for superior comfort and PB-smashing energy return. Apologise in advance before you leave your friends behind in your wake.
6. Build a DIY duathlon
To finish your run strong, you need to warm down, cool off and take a shower. The first two are for your body’s sake, the last one’s for your colleagues’. Combine all three and make the swimming pool the endpoint of your run. Some light front crawl is a great way to gently reduce that burning lactate build up, while the water cools you off.
7. Be a nocturnal animal
While the twilight hours might not be the best time for intense interval sprints (ever tried sleeping straight after those?), a leisurely late night 5K might be the new running experience your body needs. There’s a serene pleasure to running through near-empty streets or parks with some friends at night, and your usual route looks completely different. Best wear some reflective gear, mind you.
8. Set loftier goals
Exercise psychologists have proven, in study after study, that having a clear goal to work towards is like having a drill sergeant at your back. You remain motivated. You work harder. You get more from your run. Make your next goal a little loftier: overcoming what you perceive to be a great challenge increases your pain threshold and sense of self worth. Nailed a 10K recently? Maybe it’s time for your first half-marathon.
9. Remix your playlist
Listen up: you know that a solid workout mixtape can help you ignore exercise pain and run harder and more frequently. But did you know that it can speed up your recovery, too? Research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that listening to songs at a steady 110 bpm helps your body flush lactate. That means some steady rap music is your new post-run massage.
10. Update your threads
Shaking up your workout wardrobe is good for more than just your #Fitspo Instagram posts. The theory of enclothed cognition suggests that dressing the part motivates you to act it out. Which is why when you buy a perfectly cut gym tee or pair of leggings, you’re out there using them the next day. Under Armour’s innovative apparel design doesn’t stop at shoes. Step up your gear from head-to-toe and gain the edge during your next run.
The Under Armour HOVR Phantom and the HOVR Sonic are available now to buy at underarmour.co.uk