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It’s free, it’s good for you and, so long as you take care to provide yourself with good shoes, road running is an excellent way to maintain your cardiovascular health.

The problem for many can be improper technique (coupled with incorrect equipment) can place undue stress on your joins and lead to troublesome injuries to your knees and ankles, so how best to avoid the the so-called runner’s curse? What follows are five tips on easing yourself into the world of road-running, as well as how to maximise the health benefits of doing so.

Identify Correct Technique

It is said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step and this is true of running too, so long as the practice of doing so isn’t actually doing more harm than good. Focus on your feet and your foot-strike and determine how your gait is affecting your movement. Most athletic stores worth their salt will be able to measure your gait and prescribe footwear to correct your technique to avoid the litany of injuries which you may be susceptible to.

Find Your Breathing Pattern

The pace you run at should be determined by your capacity to respirate. This will improve over time but if you are pushing yourself too hard, your breathing will become laboured to the point where you are no longer oxygenating your blood to the fullest to the point where you will tire and inevitably stop. Breathing in for 2-4 strides and doing the same while breathing out is a good place to start.

Don’t Skip Speed Training

Sprints are an often overlooked element of road running for your casual up-and-down-the-canal runner, but if you factor in 20-30 seconds of full sprinting per three minutes of slower paced running, you will see the cardio benefits within a couple of weeks.

Switch Up Your Running Routes

Let’s face it, running can be boring and getting the motivation to add a few miles to your weekly total is ultimately its own reward. You can bypass the procrastination which comes ahead of a run by identifying different routes to run which will help alleviate the feeling of re-running old ground.

Fuel Yourself Correctly

Everything mentioned in this article is for nought unless you have enough energy in your system to push yourself to continue to improve. You will want to consume some carbs in the hour before your run to top up your glycogen stores. A slower paced run will be helped by consuming a protein and fat-based meal beforehand. And afterwards? You will need more protein and carbs — around 1g of carb per kg of body weight and around 30-40g of protein.