Fitness Musings Running and Wellness

Tips for Getting in the Distance on Outdoor Walks or Runs

Walking or running any kind of distance, especially in the summer when it’s warm or blazing hot, can be difficult if you’re not prepared. And sometimes, it can be downright daunting, depending on your experience level. But with proper preparation, a walking or running regimen can bring a lot of joy to your world. Here are my best tips for making the experience of walking or running outside the most enjoyable it can be.

Tips for Making Your Miles Enjoyable

Take water with you. Ideally, you should do this year-round. But when the weather heats up, and especially for my Southwestern friends out there – it’s imperative we take water outside with us to keep hydrated. Plus, you never know if you’ll feel a tickle in your throat and may just need a quick swig.

Map your route before you head out. Use an app or website like Map My Run and plan your route so you know where you’re going and what you’ll encounter before you hit the pavement. Using a map to plan your desired route will help you get in the distance you want on your walk or run, and help make it enjoyable. Use the tool to plan routes that take you past place that interest you, instead of having to run back and forth 10 times to sneak in the last little bit of distance at the end. I know you’ve done it, we all have!

Invest in good socks that cover your ankles and good running/walking shoes. Make sure your footwear is comfy and provides support, which is paramount to a good experience outside. You don’t want to get mid-journey and feel blisters coming on, or that your sock is inching down your foot. This will make all the difference.

Stretch generously after your exercise. Create or follow a stretching program to do after you get in your exercise. It will feel so good after your muscles are nice and warm, and you’ll be doing your body a world of good. I’m not a super fan of stretching cold, so I don’t recommend a pre-cardio stretch, other than perhaps stretching any parts of you that give you trouble. For me that part is my shoulder, and I like to put my hands on my head and stretch lightly while doing my five-minute walking warmup.

Do a walking warmup. Whether you’re going to run or walk, build a five-minute warmup into your routine. Use the time to do any moving stretches you need to do, and get acclimated to the movement for the day. You’ll feel any creaks and gently warm up those muscles.

Bring any security essentials you want/need. I’ve encountered some weirdness out walking and running by myself, and I’m sure many of you have too. I like to tell someone where I’m going and bring along a pepper spray at least. Bring whatever feels good to you, but do be aware that you should keep safety in mind before heading out.

Wear a decent sunscreen. I have one for my face and one for my body I apply before heading out, and it’s such a part of my routine it makes me excited to put it on. Sunscreen is essential, so please wear some.

Enjoy your time outside. This is truly an inexpensive way to get some Vitamin D and let loose those endorphins in your body, ensuring you have a great day.

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