The fall is upon us and it's a great time to get out there and start running and achieve new running goals. We want you all to avoid injuries and have fun while running. We've put together a list of our top tips of how to start running for new (or returning) runners
1. Run and Walk
The most common mistake we see is people deciding to just go run for 3 miles. It's easy to do, just lace up those sneakers and head out the door, right? Wrong. Running without a proper mileage base and starting out too fast can lead to injuries and burnout. Ease into running by gradually increasing miles and pace and/or intensity. If you haven't run in years, we recommend a walk/run approach. Set a time goal (20 mins of exercise) and then run for 2 mins and walk for 2 mins. After a few runs like that, begin to run for longer (3-5 mins) with shorter walk breaks.
We promise you'll enjoy the run more and wake up with less aches and pains than if you had run full out for 2 miles.
It's a common belief that in order to get faster and run longer requires more running. While you do need to put in more hours out there on the pavement or trails, the biggest part of running farther and faster is recovery time.
Running is an intense exercise and because of that, you need to special attention to recovery. It's important to properly cool down and stretch after runs. Recovery begins during your cool down. Begin slowly your pace down to bring your heart rate down for the last 5 minutes of your run. After, spend 10 minutes stretching. Stretching will help minimize post-run soreness. Proper post-run nutrition, hydration and icing are also key components of recovery. Eat carbs & protein within 30 minutes of a workout and remember to hydrate properly all day. Icing will help ease sore muscles and joints.
3. invest in the proper shoes and clothing
It's true that running is a pretty low cost, low maintenance sport. However, there are a few key pieces of "equipment" that require an investment. The most important piece is finding a proper shoe. Not all running sneakers are created equally nor are all correct for you. Go to a specialty running store (not a store like Sports Authority) and talk to the sales person about your training, where you are at in training and your running history. Don't be embarrassed! They are there to help you find a shoe you love and in turn, love running. Jessica and I recommend Peter at the downtown Urban Athletics, he helped us find the shoes that we love and carried us to our marathon goal times.
Finding the right clothing is another huge part of running. Chafing isn't a myth! We highly recommend lululemon athletica for both men's and women's running clothes. The lululemon educators will help you find the right shorts, crops and running tops for your body and your needs.
4. Set Goals
Running is great and we want everyone to feel the joy and adrenaline rush of a good run. Not all runs are joyful and pain free however. There are days when your motivation is low or non-existent and you won't want to run. That's where having a goal and a plan is crucial. Having a goal with a training plan will help you fight through the times when motivation is low. Many beginning runners decide to run because they have a goal of getting healthy or losing weight. These are not specific enough. If you want to lose weight, decide how many and by-when. If you want to get healthy, decide what that means - I run 2 miles without stopping - and by-when. Setting goals will keep you motivated.
5. Change it up
Many newbie runners stick to what they know - the same route and the same pace. A key component to sticking with a training plan and achieving your goals is variety. This means variety in running and types of exercise. One of the easiest ways to change up your training is by running different courses. Pick routes that have fills, flats and maybe even different surfaces. Don't run the same route and same direction every week. Your feet and body will thank you. Another way to add variety to your runs is by incorporating speed/interval training into your runs. It is important to mix up your pace by doing speed once a week and a slower, longer run once a week. Mixing up pace and distance of runs will add variety and you improve at a much faster rate.
Additionally, doing activities other than running is crucial. Go for a walk, a swim, take a spin class, or a yoga class at least one time a week. This will give your muscles a reprieve and work them in different ways.
Running is a fun activity. We hope our tips help you to feel successful and strong during your runs and throughout your training. Happy running!