There’s nothing quite like a refreshing Sunday afternoon run in spring. The sound of rubber meeting asphalt, birds chirping in the background, lungs sucking in fresh, healthy air amid dark-green pastures and powder-blue skies. We got you in the mood now, didn’t we? Well, while you consider going out there for a little slice of runner’s heaven, take a look at our list of five tips to make your already blissful run even more pleasant.
1. Have a set playlist before you hit the road
You’re mid-run, heart pounding, lungs screaming, energy waning. Each step drains a bit more life from your body, but you dig deep, search for motivation, and inch closer to the finish. Then, that Kenny G track you’ve been meaning to take off your iPod starts up, or worse, Pandora goes to a commercial. Rhythm and motivation gone. Don’t let this happen. Running a quick two-mile sprint? Have six pump-up songs lined up. Going for a distance? Pick 20 and press play.
2. Breathe with your belly in slow, deep breaths
Most casual runners make two common mistakes with their breath when running: They breathe with their chest and take shallow, quick breaths. The result? Less oxygen to your lungs and muscles, and more energy exerted. The solution? Breathe with your belly in deep, slow, extended inhales and exhales. Not only do you take in more oxygen to feed your muscles but you exert less energy, too. Unsure what we mean when we say “breathe with your belly?” Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Now breathe. If your chest expands, you’re breathing with your chest. If your stomach expands, you’re breathing with your belly. Breathing with your chest not only takes in less oxygen but also moves your shoulders up and down, making them tense and exerting unnecessary energy.