Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 Tips (so far) for new runners!

So you're thinking about starting to run? GREAT! Welcome to an amazing sport that has so many benefits. I can truthfully say that I love running and never thought I'd be so into it. This coming from the ex-softball player who used to dread the pre-practice warm up lap! Now, I'm running half marathons :)

Here's some of tips that I've learned from my experience to help you get started!

1. Research - I've never seen this tip before but in my opinion, its the most important. You have to make an effort on your part to learn and that most likely comes from doing your own research. Some topics that you may need to research are: what products you do (and don't!) need, proper training plans, race advice, nutrition for training, and injury treatment. Runner's World is great! It's the best way to improve your running, make smart purchases and prevent injury.

2. Proper Gear - You'll find out pretty quickly what apparel is working for you and what's not. First and most importantly, go to a running store (not a generic sports store!) and get fitted for shoes by someone who knows running shoes. I know Road Runner Sports offers this service and it should be free. I am definitely not saying to buy something just because it has a high price tag, I'm saying to do your research and invest in what's right for you and your body. It's better to make the investment now than to pay for it later with injury, blisters, chaffing, etc.
      Basic gear to start with: running shoes, socks, and a quality sports bra

3. Start out SLOW - Okay, so you may know someone who "decided to pick up running again" and plows out 4 miles a day at a 7:30 pace. (Ahem, Eric) But don't risk an injury by jumping into the same running plan that your friend uses. Your body is unique and improvements in running take time, patience, and practice!

4. Hydrate - Hydration is so important for you physically and mentally for running. If you're ever feeling sluggish, first thing you should do is note your water intake for the day (and even past few days!) Always bring water with you on a run or make sure your training route has water fountains. Seriously. Don't try and "tough it out" because it just back fires.

5. Ice and Stretch - If you're serious about running consistently (without injury) these are pretty much unavoidable. I try to ice after pretty much every run on both my knees and shins. Some people even ice their hips. I also stretch for 5-10 minutes and now I'm starting to foam roll. I've also experienced benefits from compression socks.

6. Start Training by Time Then Use a Designed Plan - If you're a complete newbie, start running for time. Say, 20 minutes or so 3 times a week. After that, you can work your way up to longer runs. From there, I'd recommend starting a training plan. A training plan is very beneficial because good plans are designed in such a way that they take into account human physiology and adaptation. (I wish I would have started one from the beginning. I think it definitely would have saved me from shin splints!) There are so many plans out there that will work with your busy life! In my opinion, its best to look for one that will emphasize the quality of the workouts instead of the quantity. You don't need to be running 7 days a week to improve! Plans also give you a source of guidance and accountability to better prepare you for success.

7. Intervals - Intervals are extremely beneficial for endurance and can be used by any runner. Beginners can do walk to run intervals. Try something like a 1 min run, 30 sec walk and repeat for the entire 20 minutes. Others may be able to run for 2-5 minutes and walk for 1 minute. Advanced runners may do jog sprint intervals. I love intervals because you can mix them up so no workout is the same and anyone can do them!

8. Sign up for a Small Race - Races can be extremely motivating and give you a training "push" in a sense. If you have a race coming up, you're much more likely to get out there and train! Most cities have small races that you and the family can take part in! They're also remotely cheap compared to larger races and less intimidating (in my opinion!)

9. Training Nutrition - For me personally, there are things I cannot handle before a race and even a training run like milk, cheese, and coffee without ending up in the bathroom a few miles in. Sometimes I can feel it right when I start! Again, that's just me, I do know runners who can handle those before a race. The point is to always notice how food affects your body before and after a run. If something doesn't feel right, make sure to change it up. Some people are more sensitive than others!

10. Don't Switch It Up On Race Day - Never ever ever switch up what you're doing on a race day! Don't wear new shoes or new socks either! Stick to what you know on race day. Test out new foods, shoes, socks, etc. on training runs only.

If you have any questions about any of these, let me know, seriously. I've been there so I can help you out or at least point you in the right direction!

Any tips you'd like to offer someone new to running or racing?

1 comment:

  1. These are all excellent tips, especially the first one!


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