Running is a terrific workout for your body’s legs, core and arms – and don’t forget about the mental health benefits! With the weather getting warmer, I’ve been seeing more and more people utilizing trails, parks and the road to burn calories and take in the fresh air while getting their miles in for the day.
If you’re an avid runner, and have been for quite sometime, you might forget what it was like to be a beginner. If you have a client who has shown interest in running or you yourself are interested in taking up the sport, I’ve outlined several tips below to make the transition from beginner to expert an easy one!
Warm up and cool down properly
Running from the get-go isn’t a smart choice, but those new to running might not know any better. If your client (or you!) want to start out in a big way, it might be difficult to execute the warm up in a positive fashion. Always walk 2 to 3 minutes for a warm-up before you begin your workout, and walk another 2 to 3 minutes as a cool-down afterward. Stretching following the completion of the run will prevent pesky muscle soreness.
Don’t be afraid to execute a run/walk combo
You wouldn’t expect to complete a marathon without months of training, so don’t expect to run four miles without training, either. Everyone is different, so set a goal of run/walking at an achievable pace for starters. When it comes to fitness, rushing leads to injuries, a loss of enthusiasm and the urge to give up, so be patient and go slow. Never increase your run length more than 10% at a time and before you know it – you’ll be running without stopping!
Set a longterm goal
Committing yourself to run a future race is a great way to get involved in the running community while helping to keep training on track. Start small – some larger races offer “fun runs” or a two-mile course for beginners. Mark the date on your calendar and plan your training around it. By the same race next year, you could be at the top of the podium earning first place in your age group in a 10K or even better – a half-marathon!
Expect bad days
Everyone has a poor fitness day here and there. No matter if the cause is sore legs or the mix of music on your playlist just isn’t meshing with you, remember, these hurdles pass quickly. Typically, the next workout is better than the previous one. Before you know it, running will be part of your everyday routine and you’ll miss it on your recovery days.
When you’re able, skip your running and walking workout and choose to do a cross-training workout to gain endurance in its place. Instead, attend a group cycling class, take advantage of an elliptical trainer in a gym or complete a circuit weight-training session. This break from your running routine will leave you refreshed, plus you’ll learn new skills while developing new muscles.
Fuel your run
To fuel up for your workout, have an energy bar or fruit roughly two hours before you lace up your shoes. An hour later, drink eight ounces of a sports drink. A sports drink will allow you to be fully hydrated and give you a sufficient amount of sodium and potassium needed for a healthy workout.
For maximum relaxation, hold your arms comfortably at your sides while running. Bend 90 degrees at the elbows and move them forward and back at your waist. Bend your fingers into a relaxed grasp but don’t let your hands sway back and forth across the middle of your torso.
Ice when needed
It is common for those new to running to develop sore knees and/or shin splints. If treated with ice packs immediately following a workout, the pain should pass quickly. Placing a bag of frozen peas on your knees or shins for 15 minutes will do the trick, too!