Hooray!! Spring is officially here! As the weather becomes nicer, so does the amount of people that are getting outside and taking advantage of our beautiful weather. Similar to the hoards of New Years gym goers excited to attack their resolutions, beginner runners hit the road with similar aspirations. Getting started and sticking with an intelligent running plan can be tricky. To help you make your transition stick, we are offering 7 pearls of wisdom we've seen that has ensured these runners' success when starting out and sticking with it:
1) Get fitted
Make sure you have the right shoes for your feet and for your gait pattern. Some runners are 'pronators', 'supinators', or nuetral striders. Having a professional analyze your gait, how you walk and run, as well as measuring your foot will make a HUGE difference.
2) Join a beginner's running group
Being part of a community of people in the same place as you will encourage you to keep up with your training. Participants find it easier to stay consistent when they have others to talk to and that are counting on them to show up, mentally and physically.
3) Sign up for a race
It may sound daunting, but having an end goal will keep you motivated on the long days. Giving yourself 8 weeks to train and build up for a 5k will give you time to gradually and progressively increase your endurance safely. Here is a list of local races: htt://racereach.com/
4) Have a plan
Know how often a week you will run, the distance, places, and time/s of your runs plotted out in advance. E.g. Week 1: Monday at 6pm, Wednesday at 6pm, and Saturday at 9am I will meet Sarah at the greenway and we will jog for 2 minutes and walk for 1 minute 8 times. Week 2: We will run the same days and place, but we will increase our jog time to 2 minutes and 30 seconds and walk for 1 minute 7 times etc. Too many running injuries happen from not having a plan and overdoing it withing the first few weeks of running. Gradual progress will minimize your risk of injury and make running more enjoyable long term!
5) Foam Roll
Incorporate foam rolling, aka self massage, and massage before, after, and on the days you don't run. Rolling before a run will help prepare your muscles and joints for a fuller range of motion. Rolling after and between runs will help you recover faster. And massage in general will help prevent injuries as well as recover from over use injuries. If you are not incorporating foam rolling and massage, then you are making a terrible mistake that will catch up to you.
6) Warm Up
Start with 5 minutes of light movement to warm your body up, such as walking, and complete a series of dynamic stretches such as the ones shown below.
7) Cross Train a.k.a. Strength Train
Strength training on the days you aren't running will help you minimize your risk of injury and improve your running performance. We have written about the benefits of Strength Training and Running here. Have a Strength Training program that is balanced and customized just for you!