5 things we should all get right before a run

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What we do before stepping out for a run is more important than many of us realise – and we don’t just mean your warm up

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Many of us might think that running is all about the run itself, when in fact, there’s so much more to consider.

Really, it’s all in the prep, and that’s not just in your pre-run stretch.

Getting the right gear and finding an enjoyable route that is manageable for you can make all the difference to your running experience.

So, whether you’re an avid pacemaker or just getting off the couch, why not see if you can benefit from any of these tips to elevate your run.

1. Fuel up

No matter what type of run you have planned, making sure your body has the energy it needs is vital.

Eating and drinking the right amount before a run ensures your muscles have the energy and support to get through the session – this volume varies depending on the distance covered and intensity.

It is, however, important to note that as we run our gastro-intestinal tract slows down. This part of our digestive system acts as a transporter of what we eat and drink through our body.

Everyone’s digestive system is different, so experiment with foods cautiously to figure out what works best for you, given the time of day, how far you’re going and the intensity.

So, before heading out:

2. The right shoes

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first run or your fiftieth, having the right footwear makes a tremendous amount of difference and can transform the quality of running.

When we look to get a pair of running shoes it’s a great ideato consider your gait, or how we walk, before we make the purchase. There are two phases of running gait: stance and swing.

The length of one cycle begins with the contact of one-foot contacts the ground again.

“Whatever your running gait, a good pair of running shoes will provide flexibility, durability, and support,” say Vitality partner Runners Need

“The level of these depends on where your running shoes sit within the five main groups; motion control, cushioned, stability, lightweight, and trail.”

You can book a gait analysis through Runners Needs, which will determine how you naturally run and recommend the best shoes for ultimate support and comfort mile after mile. 

3. Warm-up

Let’s be honest, most of us throw on our trainers and head out the door for a run, not really thinking about a warm up – some of us don’t even know how to.

Not warming your body can often lead to running-related pain or injury says the NHS. This can be anything from runners' knee, shin splints, or pain at the bottom of your feet, which are amongst the most common running-related injuries.

Scheduling in 10 minutes before your run helps to prepare our mind and body, and can make for a better, more enjoyable run. You may even find yourself able to run for longer.

Here are a few examples:

  • Knee hugs: Standing up on our toes bring one knee up towards your chest and hug into the body. Focus on pushing the back leg forwards to activate the glutes and warm up your hip flexors.
  • Lunge back with reach: Step backwards into a lunge and reach your arms up and back. Ensure you’re keeping your front knee in-line with your toes, your core is engaged and chest is upright.

4. All the gear

As the days begin to shorten and we are slowly moving into the colder months, it’s a good idea to plan how to adjust to the darker, wetter weather.

Having the right gear ensures that you are prepared and comfortable no matter what mother nature throws at you.

When the temperature begins to drop before we step outside, you need to make sure you’re wearing the right kit.

Whether you’re walking or running, your clothes should be sweat-wicking – this means they dry quickly so that your sweat doesn’t saturate the fabric.

If you plan to run in the dark, there’s a few easy changes you can make to make sure you’re safe and keep your pace.

  • Wear hi-viz and reflective
  • Use a head torch or light
  • Avoid listening to loud music
  • Tell someone where you’re going
  • Run against traffic
  • Trust your instincts – if you don’t feel comfortable, move to a better area
  • Run with a friend or group of people

5. Know your running routes

Lastly, if you’re a beginner, new to an area, or simply looking for new places to run, knowing good routes can make all the difference to how much you enjoy it.

This is when planning a route before setting out helps. Unless you’re happy to run around your local park or track, of course.

If you’re keen to do some exploring, apps such as Garmin and Komoot allow you to send, download or save a GPX file, which you can send to your compatible running watch, and will map out your route for you while on the move.

Or you can walk around the area where you’re to run and find a route that’s suitable to your needs and ability.

Here are some tips to consider when find the right route:<

  • Is it well-lit?
  • Are there any water fountains nearby?
  • Is the quality of the path suitable? A road’s surface can affect you and could cause a muscle imbalance or your ankle to roll

Vitality partner parkrun is a great way to try out running for the first time; it’s free and there are hundreds of locations to choose from.


As a Vitality member, you could get discounts on a range of fitness trackers.

Available with qualifying health insurance and life insurance plans.

Once you’ve chosen your device, you can link it to your Vitality account through the app and start earning active points today.

And, did you know that your phone is already tracking your steps. You’re already doing the hard work, so why not get rewarded for it.

Take 2 minutes to connect your phone today and start earning rewards. So, what are you waiting for? Start earning your points by logging into Member Zone today. T&Cs apply.

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Get rewarded with Runners Need

As a Vitality member, you could get up to 50% off a pair of sports shoes each year with Runners Need.

Available with qualifying health insurance and life insurance plans.