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7 Things to Do Before Your Next Run

Have you ever heard another mom say something like, “running saved my life” and wondered what she meant? She probably was referring to the amount of mental clarity she receives after a great movement session!

That's right, Mama... running helps you physically, but did you know that running can actually help you emotionally and mentally, too? Yes, the fabled “runner’s high” is real!

Studies have shown that cardio training—like running—helps moms of all ages and stages of motherhood reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, dementia, and insomnia. Exercise produces neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These fun molecules influence your energy levels, thoughts, and emotions. In fact, norepinephrine is the chemical that helps moderate the brain's response to stress, helping you release some of the mental strain of mom life (yes, please!).

Additionally, studies show that running can help you improve overall brain performance—think decision-making, higher thinking, productivity, creativity, and learning.

Oh, and did you know it can also help lessen PMS symptoms? Check out this blog from Dr. Jason Karp to learn 6 facts about running as a female.

So lace up your running shoes and hit the pavements (or trails) with us this summer. But before you do, here are 7 things to do before your next run.

1. Choose Your Plan

Whether you are new to running or you’ve completed several races, choosing the right training

plan is crucial for successfully crossing the finish line. We want you to do more than just cross the finish line, we want you to have a great experience. Training plans can easily lead to injury if you begin with the wrong distance, duration, or frequency.

The plan you choose should depend on your current fitness level and running habits. It’s important to build a strong structural foundation during the first few weeks as you build to the ultimate distance, if you’re hoping for a pain-free experience. This will keep you strong, healthy, and safe.

Take your running to the next level with Run Club+®, our 8-week guided training program for 5K, 10K, or half marathon distance runs. We provide opportunities to learn and improve your running techniques through our detailed training plans, coaching, and community support. Come run with us, mama!

2. Check Your Gear

Running doesn’t require much gear, which makes it a simple activity to begin. However, there are a few key items that can make your runs more comfortable and safe. We have compiled a list of recommendations to help you get through your training - for you and your little ones.

  • Water Bottle

  • Shoes

  • Sports Bra

  • Sun Protection: Hats, Visors, Sunglasses, Sunscreen

  • Layers

  • Maternity Support Belt

  • Watch

  • ID

  • Wearable Storage

4. Choose Your Route

With some training plans, your daily running assignment will be a time or distance-based goal. You should pre-calculate your distance or find a route where it’s easy to calculate your

accumulated distance, such as a running track or running path with mile markers. A treadmill is also an easy way to monitor distance. If you run outside, you can also find trails and distances to run using the following website resources:

  • MapMyRun.com

  • RunKeeper.com

  • Strava.com

  • Garmin.com

  • Alltrails.com

  • Trails.com

  • HikingProject.com

  • TrailLink.com

And Mama, please also make sure you let someone know where you are running for further safety precautions.

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5. Know How to Warm Up

A good warm-up is dynamic and will gradually increase intensity while simultaneously increasing the range of motion. Dynamic means the exercises move and you are not holding a stretched or elongated position for longer than a few seconds. In other words, start slowly and with small movements that continually move.

For example, try this 5-minute running warm-up with us!

For more running warm-up and stretching ideas, check out our “Let’s Go Running” collection on FIT4MOM On Demand, including this post-run stretch.

6. Plan Your Cross Training

Running is a repetitious sport that relies on the same impact-based movement over and over, and as such, it works the same muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Even with proper form, running can overwork parts of your body and lead to injury if not balanced with appropriate rest, active recovery, and cross-training.

Strength training builds strength, fortifies muscles and joints against injury, increases flexibility, and helps you run more efficiently. We recommend you participate in our other fitness modalities like our local FIT4MOM group fitness classes or our On Demand workouts. If you haven’t been to a FIT4MOM class before, check out this resource to get you prepared!

7. Learn to Stretch It Out

A good cool-down consists of movements that will decrease the heart rate while releasing the muscles which were worked. And guess what? Walking is a great start to your post-run cool-down! Slow down your pace, allow yourself to catch your breath, and let your heart rate slow down gradually. This is much safer than immediately stretching after stopping your running pace. Once you feel your heart rate slowing, then you can move into your flexibility training. Need some ideas on how to stretch it out? Try this post-run stretch.

Remember, you do not have to do this alone or unguided. We are here to be your Village. Find a location near you and get started today!

xoxo fit4mom