Good morning!! Happy Saturday! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far! Today, Ryan and I have a wedding to go to. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of awesome pics up tomorrow but in the meantime, I’d like to talk to you guys about something near and dear to my heart…running!
So you’ve been noticing a lot of hype surrounding this thing called jogging….or is it yogging? (name that movie!)… We’ll just say running. It’s no secret that I love to run, and I’m willing to share my love of running with anyone who will listen. If you’ve been considering branching out, and taking the oh-so-scary leap off of the elliptical and onto the pavement or treadmill, then there are a few things that every new runner should know about.
1.) Invest in a good pair of shoes – I strongly suggest going to a specialty store, like a Fleet Feet, and getting properly fitted for shoes. Trust me, this makes all the difference in the world. If you don’t have the right shoes, you might as well just lay down and ask for an injury.
2.) Watch your form – stand tall when you run. Hunching over will prevent you from being able to breathe properly and will result in fatigue. Keeping your eyes focused on the horizon will help!
3.) Don’t waste energy – I see sooo many runners criss-crossing their arms in front of them while running, thinking it will help them go faster and run longer. In reality, it doesn’t – this is a waste of precious energy. Pump your arms, but strive to keep your hands “soft” and your arms pumping by your side.
4.) One foot in front of the other – keep a careful eye on how your foot strikes the ground. This one is really important. Aim to strike the ground mid-foot. Don’t strike it with your heel, don’t strike it with your toes – mid-foot! Failing to do this may result in inefficient running and even injury. Often times, failing to strike properly will result in shin splints or even stress fractures. Sounds like a lot to think about, but have no fear! After a little bit of time, you won’t even have to pay attention to it…it will just be natural!
The below table provides a quick-reference guide to the pros and cons of all three foot-strikes.
|Heel||Stretches the calf muscles. Less stress on calf muscles and Achilles tendon.||Contributes to over-striding, slower running, and poorer form.|
|Midfoot||Better shock absorption due to a bent-leg. Contributes to better form, and faster running. Less stress on calf muscles, Achilles tendon, IT band.||More stress on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.|
|Toe||Less stress on knees and ankles. Reduced stride. Contributes to better form, and faster running||Keeps calf muscle contracted, contributing to shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, and muscle pulls.|
Image courtesy of RunningInjuryFree
5.) Mentality – honestly, one of the hardest things about running is the mental game that goes along with it. It’s just you, the road, and your thoughts out there. It can be easy to talk yourself into feeling fatigued and stopping. Trust me, I’ve struggled with this myself too. It truly does get better the more you run. Anytime I start feeling like I might want to stop, I just tell myself to stop being a sissy pants and MAN UP! Make that run your bitch!
6.) Baby steps – everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? Start small and work your way up. When you’re first starting out, shoot to run for longer time at a comfortable pace – not necessarily longer distance. There are a multitude of free apps available that can help you do this. Once you’re able to run for a sustainable length of time, you can start building your distance. Couch to 5K and Couch to 10K are two free, easy to use apps, that work…but you need to stick with it!
7.) Perseverance! – Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your stamina! Finding a good start-up program and sticking to it are essential to being able to run longer distances without feeling like you’re going die on the side of the road. Just keep running!
I hope this post serves as a good tool for those of you who are interested in taking the first step! If any of you have other suggestions that would be helpful to those new to the running scene, feel free to email me, or post a comment!