Run Forest, Run

An ECU student takes advantage of ECU's grassy lawn while stretching for a run. 

As everyone has entered the new decade looking to find ways to improve their overall wellbeing, one thing some people have said that they wanted to do is run. Running is something that anyone can do, but how can one go about doing it in the right way? Here are a few tips to help make that goal happen.

Students at East Carolina University and other universities have the opportunity to run at their respective recreation centers, where they have access to treadmills, an indoor track or the option to find different paths outside that can help fulfill their personal goals -- physically and mentally.

Senior group fitness instructor Sydney Degnan said that while running is good for your body’s physical and mental health and that it is up to the individual who wants to run how much and how hard the run. However, according to Degnan, there is one thing that has to happen first — making sure you have the right athletic wear.

“You need to run in shoes that have a good support,” Degnan said. “You can not really run in shoes like Converses (because) it’s not good for your feet. You can do that, but you really should not. Make sure you're comfortable and you're safe in what you're wearing.”

While making sure that the right athletic wear has been acquired, the body has to be ready to run as far as the individual wants it to go. To best prepare the body for the upcoming run, stretching is something that is recommended to prevent both injury and stiffness.

“Literally nobody stretches as much as they should,” Degnan said. “If you really take the time to focus on stretching, you will feel good. It’s also good to take the time to be in tune with your body and see how far your body can stretch and all these different ways. A lot of people know that they should stretch, but they don’t.”

Much like with weight lifting and participating in other physical activities, people must start from somewhere. There are those that can handle more pressure and those who are starting from the beginning, who may need time to adjust.

To be able to improve in most things, people have to pace themselves. To improve at running, junior business administration major Sean Brosnan believes that pacing themselves will be the way people can become faster runners and be able to run farther distances than before.

“What’s going to happen is you’re going to get to a point in your run where you’re like, ‘Alright, I need to stop,’” Brosnan said. “If you haven’t paced yourself and you kind of burnt out all of your energy already, you can’t just push through it and get to a further point than you were the previous run. If you can pace yourself the next time you’ll get to that, you’ll go a little bit further.”

While it may not seem difficult for one to get back to running on a day-to-day basis, there is one thing that can help motivate those that want to run more and fulfill their physical dreams and aspirations: finding someone that has similar goals for reaching their physical and mental peak.

“Someone may want a partner if they see themselves falling off the wagon pretty quickly,” Brosnan said. “If they think like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably go for a week,’ but if I don’t have anyone there to hold me accountable to keep going then a partner would be a good thing to have.”

Throughout the whole process of stretching, running and acquiring the right athletic wear, people have to find a way to stay hydrated. Water has been found to be good for people’s health. Drinking throughout the workout has been proven to help keep athletes and people working out hydrated, running is no different.

“The more you sweat, the more you’re going to want to replenish those fluids,” Degnan said. “Drink as much fluids as you can, especially water.”

Getting the right athletic wear, stretching, pacing yourself, finding a running partner and staying hydrated throughout the run are tips that can help people get back to running. Happy running, Pirates!

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