Running is an excellent way to build stamina, lose weight and have fun. Best of all you don’t have to spend a lot of money or time to enjoy the benefits. Start with a good pair of supportive shoes and 30 minutes a few times each week. You’ll be racking up tons of feel good miles before you know it. These tips will help you along the road.

Strengthen your muscles
Strong runners need a strong core. Strong hamstrings, glutes and knees matter, too. Weak muscles contribute to overuse injuries and reduce efficiency. Better body mechanics will help you improve your running. Exercises such as planks, push-ups, squats and lunges will do the trick. Add a few sets to your workout routine each week to boost performance.

Slow down to speed up
Jeff Galloway invented and has trained thousands of average people on his run-walk-run method. The idea is simple – introduce walk breaks into your running plan. Here are the many benefits Galloway touts for his run-walk-run strategy:
•    Speed you up: an average of 7 minutes faster in a 13.1 mile race when non-stop runners shift to the correct Run Walk Run ratio – and more than 13 minutes faster in the marathon
•    Give you control over the way you feel during and after
•    Erase fatigue
•    Push back your wall of exhaustion or soreness
•    Allow for endorphins to collect during each walk break
•    Break up the distance into manageable units
•    Speed recovery
•    Reduce the chance of aches, pains and injury
•    Allow older or heavier runners to recover fast, and feel as good as in the younger (slimmer) days
•    Activate the frontal lobe – maintaining your control over attitude and motivation

Fresh cottage cheese with red currant berries

Have a snack
Fuel up before long runs. Pre-run snacks if you are going to run for 60 minutes or less include: yogurt and fruit, berries and cottage cheese or a couple of fig cookies. Planning to go longer? You’ll need more juice. Here are some good energy sources to boost performance – peanut butter and banana sandwich, whole wheat turkey sandwich wrap with cheese or a sports drink. Just be sure to fuel up at least 30 minutes before you hit the pavement. If you are planning for a big race or unsure about available facilities, skip any snacks you haven’t had before. Gastrointestinal issues are a fast way to derail your run.

Consider training
Just a session or two with a coach can help you improve any deficiencies in your stride. Ideally, you want to land on your midsole with short strides. It can be difficult to recognize poor mechanics on your own – at least until you suffer an injury. An expert eye can point out places in need of improvement.

Practice makes perfect
It takes time and patience to improve your running. Keep getting out there and with time you will find it is easier to stride through the miles.