Any runner (or wannabe runner) knows that omg-my-legs-are-cement feeling when you first hit the pavement. Some days, you can shake it off after a few minutes, but for the days when it's enough to deter you from running one more mile (or running ever again, tbh), we've got some advice.
For Peloton Tread instructor Jess Sims, it's all about finding the silver lining of your run that day—yes, even if the only thing "positive" about your run is that you're positive you're about to cramp.
"I remind myself that it’s a privilege to be able to run, and it’s something I don’t ever take for granted," Sims says. "This is especially important during the runs that don’t feel so great—the runs that you catch a cramp during the first 10 minutes or felt soreness in your hamstrings. It grounds me and has me looking forward to the next one."
To help you access those silver linings in your own runs, we asked Sims for her advice on how to push through tough runs—and how to make your best runs even better.
Scroll down for 3 running tips to make pounding the pavement feel a little bit easier, every time.
1. Change your mindset by changing your words
There are two types of people: runners and people who label themselves as "not runners." The problem with those labels? Sims says they're limiting your potential.
“Now, I look forward to running because I’ve taken away all expectations of what it should look or feel like.”
"[People] feel like unless they run marathons, compete in races, or run every day, that they’re not a real 'runner,'" she says. "If you say 'I’m not a runner,' you won’t run. But if you say 'I am a runner,' you will do just that."
Sims can relate to the limiting nature of labels because she used to do the same thing. Even though she was a three-sport athlete (all of which required running to play) she didn't consider herself a runner because she didn't train competitively. "Now, I look forward to running because I’ve taken away all expectations of what it should look or feel like," she says. Word.
2. Get comfy shoes
Your shoes can make or break a run, which is why picking the right ones is key for changing the way it feels when your feet hit the ground. "If you have the wrong shoes on, you will be super sore the next day and potentially get injured," Sims says. "Foot pain, shin splints, and quad and hamstring pain are common when the wrong shoes are worn while running."
To pick the right one, Sims recommends taking into consideration where you run (treadmill, outdoor, track, etc.), the structure of your foot (neutral, low arch, high arch), and the distance you usually run (long runs vs. shorter sprint intervals).
She personally looks for a light, comfortable shoe that both supports and stabilizes her foot—like the new ASICS GEL-NIMBUS® 21, which has super cushiony FlyteFoam® technology, so it's legit like running on a cloud. "I've always run in ASICS," Sims says. "ASICS has been my go-to because they support my feet. I also love to have a little fun with the style of the shoes!" Neon yellow accents? Yes please.
3. Stretch, stretch, stretch
Sims can't stress this one enough. "Warm ups with foam rolling and dynamic stretching, and cool downs with foam rolling and static stretching are crucial to avoiding the heavy leg feeling," she says.
She recommends taking the time to stretch your ankles, calves, hips, hamstrings, quads, and glutes pre-run to make sure the muscles are activated and ready to go. And don't forget to cross-train.
"If you just run, you’re only working your body in the sagittal plane (forward and backward) and not the frontal plane (side to side). By incorporating some strength work, especially in the frontal plane, you’ll strengthen your glutes a lot more so that your hamstrings, hips, and lower back don’t absorb all the impact." The result? More power to fly through your miles.
SHOP HER LOOK
In partnership with ASICS
Photos: Tim Gibson for Well+Good
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