So You Wanna Be A Runner?
It’s that time of year folks. The time of year when you’ve forgotten this year’s resolution and you’re focusing on an unattainable and large goal to set for next year! But it really doesn’t have to be that way. You can pick a goal or area of your life to focus on and be successful.
More and more I’m hearing friends say they want to pick up running in 2012. Since I’m not a natural born runner, I shared tips on how to get started and how to fuel right. Recently a friend asked for my down and dirty advice to get her on the road to becoming a running superstar…or at least not the embarrassingly out of shape version of herself that she is convinced everyone else sees. Sound familiar?
First things first. Running is hard. Really hard. There’s a very particular type of “in-shape” for running. Just because you can do one form of aerobic activity does not mean you can run 5 miles. Trust me. It took a lot of hard work and mental toughness to be able to run 6 miles without stopping. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Many runners – even marathoners – use a walk run approach. Such as run 9 minutes, walk 1 minutes. Don’t be afraid to take walking breaks. Just use a time marker or visual marker, like I will run again at that stoplight, to keep yourself on track.
- Next, you need a plan.There are a number of couch-to-5k programs available online such as this one or this one that focuses on mileage.
- Shoes! You need running shoes. I’m sorry to tell you that many physical ailments you’re feeling are due to crappy shoes. The good news is that now is a good time to buy shoes – they’re on sale! They definitely can cost a pretty penny, but depending on how much you’re planning to run you should be able to find a decent pair for $50-60.
- Warm-up. You want to get a warm up in. This can be just taking it easy the first 5 minutes of your workout. It could mean a brisk walk or light jog at the beginning, whatever you can manage. If you’re tight, take the time to stretch a little. But not too much, you don’t want to be all loosey goosey runner style.
- Stretch after every run…and maybe ice a little. Much of your calf pain is due to a lack of stretching. Even if it’s a quick calf stretch against a wall, it does make a difference. Hold stretches for at least 30 seconds per side. Here are some good stretches for runners. If you’re down and dirty on time, stick with a good calf, quad and hamstring stretch.
- Relax and blast your tunes. The more uneasy you are, the harder the run. Ease into it and you’ll eventually like it.Also, wear a good sports bra. Srsly.