If you are like many of us, you already know all about the benefits of running! Unfortunately, even though we know that running is good for us, it can sometimes be challenging to find the energy to go for a run. If you find yourself in that category, no sweat! This article contains ten ways to boost your energy for running which will get you up and moving in no time! So let’s jump straight into it!
How to Boost Energy for Running
If you have a low energy level, it can affect you in several ways. Not only is it hard to start running, but your running performance can also suffer as a result. It makes sense, longer runs require more energy, and any runner will know the importance of fuel for the body. Energy isn’t just calories, though.
There are many factors that you might not have thought about! From increasing sleep to reducing stress, let’s have a look at the best ways to get your energy levels up and pumping.
Want to boost your energy for running? Start running! Your body is more than just out of shape when you don’t exercise. Your overall fitness level is lower, and your resting metabolism is down. That means that getting started exercising is way more complicated than when you have been doing it for a while.
And this isn’t just running. Swimmers, weight lifters – even yoga enthusiasts will have much more energy for running than your classic couch potato. Start a regular exercise routine to boost energy. Try strength training and circuits to boost your fitness levels and get you ready to run.
Warming up correctly is an integral part of any workout routine – and running is no exception. Using a combination of static and dynamic stretches will increase your flexibility in preparation for your run.
It’ll also get your heartbeat pumping, which means it’ll be less of a shock on your heart once you start the run, and you are more likely to be able to go longer and harder. Remember, if you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to work out.
Get Adequate Sleep
Want to know the real secret of getting energy for running? A good night’s rest. Quality sleep is so vital for the human body. It prepares us for the day and is directly linked to our energy levels. Think about it.
There’s just no way you will be able to run a marathon if you only slept 2 hours the night before. And your daily runs aren’t so different! Make sure you get at least 7 hours of quality bedtime in to give your body the rest it needs.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Water is the key to life and the key to your workouts! If you feel tired, sluggish, or dizzy after exercising, it may not be your lack of energy – instead, you are missing a bit of good old-fashioned H2O.
When you become dehydrated, your body immediately knows something is wrong. You may start to feel a headache, dizziness, fatigue, and your heartbeat may increase. Unfortunately, the symptoms of dehydration may be hard to identify, and many mislabel them as tiredness or even hunger!
The only way to fight against dehydration is to replenish your liquids lost through sweating with water or a sports drink. Try making your sports drinks at home using a dash of salt for electrolytes, a spoon of honey for fuel, and a splash of orange juice for vitamin C. Mix into a big bottle of water, and voila!
Change Your Diet
While we are on the topic of what’s going into your body., if you want to boost your energy for running, the first place you should probably turn to is your diet. Nutrition poor, unbalanced diets are absolute no-nos. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that that candy bar or energy drink will give you energy for your run!
Simple sugars will provide you with a short-term hit, but over a few hours, your blood sugar will plummet, and you’ll end up in an even worse position than when you started. The only way to build up running stamina is by a nutritious, balanced diet full of protein, smart carbs, and healthy fats. Let’s check it out.
Protein is an essential component for the building of muscles. It also aids recovery and fights against muscle fatigue. Make sure you get enough protein every day, either by supplements or natural sources like eggs, yogurt, and chicken. Most sports nutrition experts will recommend runners consume 0.5-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight, depending on their energy expenditure.
A smart carbohydrate includes complex carbs that take a long time for your body to break down. Think of things like oats, fruits, beans, and sweet potatoes. These are excellent energy sources for any runner, especially endurance athletes, as they won’t spike your blood sugar like simple sugar. Instead, these foods fill you up and give you enough power to run all day long.
While you may have heard about sports supplements like an energy bar, energy chews, or running gels, we advise against their use. These energy gels and supplements are full of simple sugar, which won’t benefit you in the long run. While an energy gel may be helpful to a marathon runner, during marathon training or on race day, it is more than the average person will need.
Healthy fat sources are excellent sustained energy sources full of nutritious compounds like amino acids and omega-3. Try to eat a serving of healthy fats every day using avocado, nut butter, seeds, or fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
Get Enough Iron
Are you tired and weak? Do you feel lightheaded when you run? Do you suffer from shortness of breath or irregular heartbeats? Well, you may not be consuming enough iron. Iron deficiency, also known in its extremes as anemia, is an absolute energy killer. And its surprisingly common, typically affecting women and adolescents.
It’s also common among those following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, as red meat is a top source of iron. Anemia has double effects as it hinders muscle repair and may lead to muscle soreness after your run. If you think you may be suffering from iron deficiency, talk to your doctor or health care professional who can prescribe a course of iron supplements.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol. Friend or foe, there’s no denying that a hangover is a massive motivation killer for that Sunday morning run. But did you know it goes even further than that? Regular consumption of alcohol damages your body in more ways than one. It leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers.
Even just a couple of drinks every day are major energy killers. That’s because your body has to waste a lot of energy and resources digesting the alcohol – energy that could have been used in your morning run! If you are serious about your training plan, ditch the alcohol for a few weeks and feel what your energy levels are like!
Skip the Caffeine
Caffeine gives you energy, right? Unfortunately, caffeine is a fantastic short-term energy source like sugar or candy. However, caffeine won’t boost your body’s energy levels or give you long-term running stamina. Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, fatigue, and reduced energy levels – not what we want to be feeling in the middle of a marathon. If you are a coffee addict, try a caffeine-free substitute like lemon tea or rooibos to hydrate you and wake you up.
If you are suffering from poor energy levels, it might be because you are suffering from stress. Long-term and short-term stressors negatively affect the body – not only mentally but physically too. The physical effects of stress include aches, pains, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and migraines – just to name a few.
Stress can have a devastating impact on every aspect of your life, including your training plan. Luckily, daily exercise, like running, actually reduces stress. Therefore, once you start running, you’ll notice these effects go down – and you’ll have the more physical and mental energy for your workouts, as well as your life!
Try Something New
Don’t feel like going for a run today? Are you lacking not only energy but motivation as well? It might just be that you aren’t low in power as much as you are getting bored of your routine. It’s a good idea to switch things up now and then. Doing so will keep you excited, as well as interested in running.
So how can I switch things up? Easy! If you always run on a treadmill, try going for a trail run next time! If you always follow the same route, try exploring a new area! The chances are that trying something new is enough to get you out of a running rut and give you back your motivation and energy for running.
Care for Your Joints
Your body cares for you, and caring for your body in return is the best way to keep it healthy – in the long run. While staying active is very important, it’s also crucial to care for your joints whenever you run. Make sure to warm up and cool down properly to avoid long-term damage. Doing so will also keep you injury-free and fit – the best way to ensure you always have enough sustained energy for your daily runs.
Having enough energy to fuel your body through its run is essential for every type of runner. If you find yourself low on power, try one of these tips, and let us know what works for you!
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Rosily Ryan is an experienced health and fitness writer, editor, and health activist in Sydney, Australia. She’s written for several publications like Pure Green Magazine.