While the basic principles of running remain the same, there are differences between men and women when it comes to running. From safety concerns to differences in body makeup, let’s start with some top tips for female eyes only!
1. Clear your mind
Women are increasingly under a lot of stress to both hold down a full-time job and bring up a family. Running is a stress reliever and even better when with friends. Running in a group gives you all the chance to vent and chat while the time passes by quickly.
2. Safety aware
Never run in dark isolated areas; always pick well-lit areas in the evenings, or run in a group. Don’t use headphones when running in an isolated area, so that you’re fully aware of your surroundings and who is around you.
Weight loss tends to be a bigger concern for women than men, but luckily you have picked the best sport for great results. Regardless of whether you run fast or slow, the benefits you will reap are far greater than with any other activity.
4. Muscle power
Women don’t naturally bulk up like men do when undertaking regular weight training. You will tone up and improve the shape of your body, however, strengthening all around as you run, but without turning into a female bodybuilder!
5. Women-only races
Many new runners want to enter a race as a challenge and do something great for charity. The Race for Life events are perfect for this, as they are women-only events where you will see fellow women of all shapes, ages and sizes running with family members and friends – and all for an excellent cause. The races cover both 5K and 10K distances, and are held all over the country.
6. Health benefits
Running can help ward off many cases of ill health in females. Running lowers the chance of heart disease, and reduces blood pressure and the risk of diabetes. There is also evidence to prove it can help prevent cancerous cells developing – one of many excellent reasons why you should start running today!
7. Vitamins and minerals
Glucosamine is essential for joint protection, but as a female you will need to ensure your calcium and iron levels are also topped up. Calcium helps ensure your bones are as healthy and strong as can be, and iron is beneficial to menstruating women.
8. Relieve PMT
Running is probably the last thing you want to do with painful stomach cramps, but it can work wonders as a pain-relieving tool. Feel-good endorphins are released, making you feel as good as new – well, until you stop at least!
9. Period aware
If your period becomes too light or stops altogether, then you are overdoing it, which is dangerous to the state of your bones and body. See a doctor straight away if you notice a change.
10. Planning a pregnancy
If you are trying to conceive, then lay off excessive running and training. Overtraining and too little body fat can make you miss a period, meaning you probably aren’t ovulating.
11. Don’t overheat
If your body is currently used to exercise, then continuing with moderate exercise when pregnant is fine. Just ensure you don’t overdo it and keep your body temperature regulated. Perhaps try switching to low impact sports for a while if you find yourself beginning to struggle.
During pregnancy, your breathing will change, meaning you’ll find yourself short of breath quicker when running. It isn’t your body getting less fit; it is natural, so just listen to what it is telling you, take it easy and never ignore fatigue. Invest in some comfier clothing that is made from stretchy material and make sure you slow your pace, never overdo it.
13. Early pregnancy
You may not feel up to running in the first few weeks of pregnancy as your body is changing, which you will notice. You may feel nauseous and exhausted, but running can relieve some of these unavoidable side effects. Slow the pace, and alternate your running and rest days. Only run, though, if you have been doing it for a few months before becoming pregnant, never start running when pregnant as it will put to much stress onto your body.
14. Post pregnancy
Take it easy after pregnancy, as your body will be more prone to injury. Your body has gone through a lot, so give it time to rest and strengthen again. Don’t start exercising again until you get the okay from your doctor and it is pain-free to do.
15. Clearer skin
Believe it or not, running outdoors can have a skin-boosting benefit, as circulation is increased throughout the body, improving the overall balance of the skin. The fresh air will also give you a healthy glow compared to the sticky, air-conditioned feeling that you can sometimes get from a gym. It’s not just running though, any exercise can prove similarly effective with helping to clear your skin.
16. Good kit
Wear correct-fitting clothing that’s not too tight to avoid any unfortunate feminine hygiene issues. Avoid using fabric conditioners on your running clothes, which could irritate sensitive skin areas. Wearing clothes that are made from breathable materials is also a major plus, and will leave you feeling cooler and far more comfortable.
17. Sports bras
The most important piece of running kit that a woman can buy. Pick a well-fitting one that feels tight and secure. Always try before you buy, and yes, this does mean jogging on the spot in the changing room! If pregnant then just invest in one a size bigger for comfort.
18. Take your kids
If you’re a mum, invest in a buggy suitable for running so that you can take your child with you. Get your dog, partner, sister, neighbour, whoever, to join; taking the whole gang with you for a breath of fresh air will eradicate that “I have no time“ excuse.
Everyone will run past someone who thinks that they are funny by shouting out an insult or whistling as you pass. It is tempting to retaliate, but just ignore them; you don’t want to anger the wrong person when running on your own.
20. Leave a note
Always remember to tell someone where you are running and how long you will be gone for. Try to carry your mobile phone with you in a sports belt or pocket, so you can contact someone in case of any emergency. Better safe than sorry!