Running is a fantastic exercise for your health and there are tons of benefits of running for weight loss and fit body when you do it regularly, but it can do even greater wonders for your energy levels.
The problem is that a lot of people aren’t aware of just how amazing the benefits of running are, or how to get started in a way that they’re likely to stick to and not give up on. This article should remedy both those things!
Benefits of Running For Your Energy Levels
A lot of fuss is currently being made over HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training in the fitness world. The claim is HIIT style workouts help you to get a more efficient workout regarding calories burned in a shorter amount of time and that it can also improve other things like VO2 max to a superior degree.
But while it’s true that HIIT has some valuable benefits over steady state cardio (jogging or rowing for 30+ minutes), it’s a mistake to assume that it has no benefits.
For starters, running improves your ability to sustain energy levels for the extended period. If you think about most situations in your day-to-day life, this is exactly what you need – rather than short bursts of speed. The body adheres to the law of ‘SAID’ – Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.
It just means that training works best when it mimics the task you’re trying to improve at. On the other hand, running at a steady pace will improve the strength of your left ventricle – the part of your heart responsible for pumping oxygenate blood around your body.
This ultimately means you can improve your resting heart rate, which means that you will experience a lower heart rate when you’re sleeping and resting – ultimately leading to a more restorative rest and it is something that is only running long distance can do – and it makes amazing changes to your overall health.
How to Start Running and Stick With It?
So how do you start running in a manner that you’re likely to stick with?
The first tip is to make sure that you have the best running shoes. This will help to make running less impactful on your joints, while also returning more energy from the pavement to allow you to run further and faster.
Another tip is not to start out too ambitiously. Too many people go on their first run with the aim of burning lots of calories and boosting their fitness – and they think the only way to do that is to operate at highly uncomfortable speed.
Instead, try running at a gentle pace, to begin with, and then slowly increase your exertion only as you get used to it. Your aim, to begin with, is not to get fitter – it is to learn to enjoy running. When you take this approach, you’ll have a much better chance of sticking with it.
And you should find that after just a few runs, you start to notice some real improvements. Wear a running watch to experience those benefits.
Diet For Runners
If you’re going to be as productive as possible, your diet is incredibly important to consider. Ultimately, what you eat is your primary source of fuel, and if you aren’t getting enough of it, then you’re going to feel low on energy.
This is something that a lot of people get wrong during the day: unintentionally starving themselves so that by the time they should be firing on all cylinders at work, they’re starting to flag and feel listless and drained.
But it is not as simple as just ‘eating more.’ Eat too much, and you can end up feeling exhausted too – as we all know from too many huge Christmas dinners and Sunday roasts.
Slow Release vs. Fast Release
What is important is not what you eat or when you eat it but rather how long it takes for the sugar from that food to reach your blood. All food contains energy in the form of calories.
It includes macronutrients like carbohydrates, fat, and proteins. What differs, though, is how long it takes for the calories to reach your blood stream – which is dictated by how long it takes to absorb.
When you consume a ‘simple carb,’ it mostly gets processed immediately by your body and hits your blood stream quickly. Think about white bread, white pasta, chocolate or sweets. The sweeter the food tastes, the purer the sugar is and the faster it will be absorbed.
Conversely, though, when you consume fats or ‘complex’ carbs, there is more to be processed by the body. It only means that the sugar is extracted more slowly and is released gradually into the blood.
To provide a steady stream of energy, this is far preferable. Otherwise, if energy is absorbed too quickly, this can cause a sudden ‘spike,’ followed by an immediate crash.
Mostly, the body notes the sudden increase in sugar and responds by releasing insulin. The insulin encourages the sugar to absorb for use in the body or to be stored as fat.
Once this happens, the brain will release serotonin, which is the ‘feel good hormone.’ Unfortunately, serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin, which is why we feel sleepy immediately after gorging on a lot of sugar-filled candies, pastries or ice cream.
Thus, if you want to avoid a spike and crash during your marathon/running training, the best recourse is either to have a complex carbohydrate/fat source early in the day or before/after your training sessions to provide steady energy or to subsist on smaller snacks throughout the day.
No wonder why porridge oats, hard boiled eggs, brown bread with peanut butter or an avocado, makes such an excellent breakfast and post workout choice among many fitness enthusiasts and athletes.
The last advice is to try to ensure you avoid consuming more calories than you need which can lead to weight gain (if you are working to lose weight).
Calculate your BMR which is the number of calories you will burn on any given day and then aim to consume somewhere around or just below this figure to avoid a surplus.
ALSO READ: 20 Ways To Boost Your Running Energy