A runner's life is one where performance can always be improved. Yesterday's accomplishments are simply markers of the past. It is tomorrow's running times that count.
With that in mind, how to improve one's conditioning, time, and running experience is an ever-present concern for serious runners.
Here is how runners will be getting their runner's high and reaching the next level of greatness this year.
Advanced all-natural energy drinks for better fuel
Energy drinks were popular in Japan and other Asian countries but were introduced to the US in the 1980s. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the terms “energy drinks” and “sports drinks” are often used interchangeably but are quite different. Energy drinks are made to boost one's energy levels, therefore they often contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar. Whereas sports drinks are meant to hydrate fluids lost during sports, so are lower in sugar and caffeine content.
For some time, health enthusiasts have held reservations about energy drinks due to their high sugar content. This year, with new products such as G fuel on the market, their fears can be lessened.
What is G fuel? According to Gamma Labs, the makers of this energy drink, G fuel is their answer to the desire for a 100 percent all-natural energy drink. A welcome alternative to the sugar-loaded variety that line supermarket aisles.
This drink, and others like it, have been embraced by athletes as a welcome alternative to their sugar laden counterparts.
A new breed of runner apps
There are some runners who love to run alone. But according to app makers everywhere, running alone isn't the same as making running a social event.
Running apps took a new turn last year by focusing on apps that play to our need for bragging about our accomplishments. Apps with leaderboards are one way that runners can now show off their running stats, as well as compete with friends or frenemies.
Now, runners can still go on a solitude run and at the same time brag about their miles to others. Double win!
With apps like Zombie, Run!, runners get to do some running away from monsters... A feature that will have anyone doing their best to complete that last mile. Who would not stay on track if it means saving the life of a friend or completing a mission to gather supplies?
Most apps will record distance ran, pace, total run time, calories burned, and more. Thus, making the app an essential tool for both the novice runner and the more advanced runner.
Using running apps is one trend that will be around for the foreseeable future.
Strength training enhances the running experience
Injuries sustained while running is one of the worst things a runner can experience. After all, a sprained ankle, runner's knee, or any other injury means that the runner must take time off to recover.
But injuries should not be looked at as an unavoidable consequence of a runner's life. Many runners simply fail to add in exercises that can go far to prevent injuries in the first place.
This year, however, more runners are paying attention to injury prevention. Smart runners are incorporating the right kind of strength training into their workouts.
The problem might stem from thinking that strength training equals power lifting and bulking up.
Nope, runners need a different type of physique.
Experts suggest that runners steer clear from exercises like leg extensions, bench presses, and bicep curls. Instead, they should focus on muscle groups that promote balance. For example, planking works out the core, lower back, and shoulders. Other exercises that are ideal for the runner include plyometric type moves. Frog jumps, bounding, jump squats are all forms of this type of exercise.
The focus of plyometric exercise is improving the energy that you utilize to shift body weight from one foot to the other. The better you are able to do so, the better your running form becomes!
Runner's World suggests that runners take classes if they are unsure of what types of exercises will help prevent injuries. Also, yoga and Pilates are both great ways to develop more core strength. Due to their popularity, materials and classes on how to start a yoga or Pilates program at home are plentiful.
Cycling and swimming are also a fantastic way to improve a runner's flexibility and stamina. And provide a great alternative if rest from a knee injury keeps a runner off the road.