Start June off right. Lace up those cross trainers and set out for a run.
Runners from across the United States will be lacing up their running shoes to celebrate National Running Day on June 1. Whether you’re new to the sport, in a running rut or a seasoned runner looking to up the athletic ante, here are a few ways you can join in on the day’s excitement.
1. Sign Up for a Race
Ready to achieve a new goal? This is the perfect day to take the first step. Research and sign up for a short race on National Running Day to kick off a training regimen for a larger event in the future. Whether you’re a trail runner, marathoner, Ragnar relay racer, or prefer shorter distances, you can find a great selection of events by searching Active’s long list of races. And yes, a 5K is the perfect race distance for a beginner.
For some tips: This article shares some advice on preparing for your first race. And according to Dr. Jason Karp, international running expert, author and owner of Run-Fit and Revo₂lution Running™, here’s a good way to attack your training plan. He says …
To get ready to run a 5K, begin slowly and systematically. To start out, run for one minute, then walk for five minutes and continue this combination for 30 minutes. Over time, you can increase the minutes you spend running and decrease the minutes you spend walking. You should start with four days of running/walking per week.
2. Treat Yourself to a New Pair of Running Shoes
If your running shoes have seen better days, it might be time for an upgrade. Shoes are arguably the most important running accessory you have, so don’t skimp on fit or durability.
Experts and avid runners agree that most running shoes need to be replaced every 300 to 500 miles.
If you’ve logged a lot of mileage you might notice that your shoes are not longer providing adequate support or protection, and that’s a cause for concern.
Remedy that problem before your old shoes cause issues by visiting a sports store, preferably one that specializes in running. The trained staff will be able to provide you with an accurate measurement of your foot and maybe even watch you walk around or do an innovative test with you on an-store treadmill, before putting you in the best shoe for your running style.
3. Hit the Trail
Many runners have one thing in common, they think the treadmill — or aptly named “dreadmill” — is boring (except when you get to run on it in the shoe store!). Instead of spending the day indoors, get off the machines and get onto a trail. Find a frequented runner favorite or a secluded and quiet summit to get your legs moving. Whatever your style, ample nearby running opportunities exist. You can visit TrailRunner.com to find a trail, or trail race nearby.
There’s also such thing as a running vacation. In fact, the race group Vacation Races offers half-marathons in some of the most beautiful National Parks in the country — from the Grand Canyon and Zion to Yellowstone and the Rockies. And running with beautiful scenery could be just what you need to bust through a plateau.
4. Run with Friends and Music
Running with a group is full of healthy benefits. In fact, running with others increases your motivation, boosts your competitive side and keeps you accountable. Plus, during those long runs, having someone by your side can make the time pass faster. After your group run, celebrate the day and head to a local juice bar or gather everyone together for a protein-packed, post-run meal.
Don’t have a group to keep you accountable? Check out Running in the USA or Meet Up for groups near you, so you can get your exercise and meet some new friends.
And another way to amp up your run is with a great playlist. 24Life expert Derek Beres can tell you exactly how to create the right playlist here. Load up your player and get ready to move to the beat.
5. Start a New Running Program
Maybe you’re not a runner yet, but you’re ready to start. On National Running Day, consider beginning a new running program. There are hundreds of programs available online that can be customized just for you.
First, set a goal. If you’re comfortable running two miles but you’ve never run a 5K before, that’s a good place to start. The experts from Runner’s World offer an eight-week beginner program to help you get started, and your training runs can be done on a treadmill or outdoors.
Remember that your training should include more than just slow distance runs. Check out these 24Life sprinting drills, which will help you build up your speed and endurance. Also, don’t forget to strength train to make yourself and all-around stronger runner, and here’s a 24Life routine developed with runners in mind.
But of course, before jumping into a new workout regime, give yourself time to warm up. Avoid shin splits and other injuries by increasing your distance gradually. Also, consider meeting with your physician beforehand if you have any questions or concerns about your fitness level or the running program.
6. Work with a Coach
If you’re an avid runner, but looking to up your game, National Running Day is the perfect time to get serious about your running goals and take the next step as a competitive runner. Sometimes it can be hard to build a running program without the help of an expert. That’s where a running coach comes in.
Research reported by Competitor cites 80 percent of runners get injured. Having a coach in your corner can minimize your risk of injury. And, if you do get injured, a coach can help you rehabilitate. Coaches can teach proper running form and how to best manage your training loads. Additionally, they’ll provide the support and motivation you need to improve your performance.
7. Go Virtual
Sometimes life gets in the way of your running regimen — bad weather, long days at work, timing conflicts. If your schedule on National Running Day prevents you from getting to a specific event, you can still participate through technology through a virtual race. During a virtual race, you can run the race at any location you choose, while other runners around the globe do it too – connecting on social media before and after. There is no shortage of virtual races to choose from. And many times, just like in-person races, they support a charity.
Whatever you choose to do, National Running Day is Wednesday, June 1, so lace up and go!