Lifestyle

Tips for Getting Running Ready

Leave winter behind and get ready to run

Running is a favorite activity for millions around the world. According to Running USA, 54 million people in the US participated in some form of running between 2012-2014, and more than half were female. This trend is predicted to increase, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you put your memories of this year's dreadfully cold and snowy winter behind you.

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Tips for Getting Running Ready

Start slow

“Women can start by walking and running between telephone poles. Walk one and jog one and run one. Most importantly, just outline a 2-mile course and cover the distance regardless of the time. Also, don't run faster than you can carry on a normal conversation with someone. Try to walk or run at least every other day for a month. This is the minimal addictive dose of exercise. The most important thing for women to remember is that the area they are going to run must be safe. Try not to run alone and get a friend to run along with you. Beside, it’s a way to motivate each other and pace each other as well,” said Dr. Art Mollen, founder, 40th annual 3TV Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon in Phoenix, Ariz.

Get the right gear

“Don’t pick out shoes based on price or style. Instead, go to a specialty running shoe store that has a treadmill and analyzes your running form (gait). Running in the wrong type of shoe is a great way to increase your risk of injury. And a word of caution, minimalist running shoes are very popular these days and can offer great benefit. However, you have to be willing to work on your gait; poor running technique in minimalist shoes are not very forgiving,” said Nick Clayton, a personal trainer with the NSCA.

Be patient

“The best suggestion after coming off a particularly long hiatus due to weather is to be patient. Whether you have been a runner before or are just starting out, don't begin by trying to do too much at first. Start off by walking and don't worry about the clock. Set distance goals instead of timing goals. It also wouldn't hurt to do some cross training such as elliptical machines and some weight training to help achieve your fitness goals. Measure off a mile from your odometer or GPS and set that as a goal. You may only go a tenth of a mile the first time out but keep it up and try to go a little further each day or every other day. Gradually build up from just walking to power walking. From then, it’s just a short transition to jogging and running,” said Harvey Beller, executive director, 3TV Phoenix10K and Half Marathon in Phoenix, Ariz.

Tips for Getting Running Ready

Avoid injuries

“Getting injured can shut down a training program before it really takes off.. Fortunately, for as many running injuries as there are, there are just as many ways to avoid them. Get fit for proper running shoes. Strengthen your core, leg and hip muscles. Stretch or use a foam roller. And be sure to do too much too quickly by listening to your body when things don’t feel right. Always take a rest day if you need it, and be sure to ice any bothersome areas,” said Dr. Jeremy J. Corbett, chief health officer of Nurtur.

Give yourself incentives

“Running is not only a test of physical strength but mental strength. It’s easy to give in to your mind when it tells you want to stop. You have to train your brain, too. And for some, incentives are a great way to stay motivated when your brain tells you it wants to quit. An incentive varies for each person. This could be anything from ice cream, a slice of pizza, a fizzy bubble bath or a massage. Or it could be putting $5 in a jar each time you complete your goal distance, and then treating yourself to a pair of running crops or shoes you’ve had your eye on,” Corbett said.

Don’t forget safety

“Running solo is a pretty big risk factor, which is not to say that you should avoid heading out if you can’t find a partner, but finding a friend to run or train with outside is a great way to stay safe, along with adding some fun, social motivation. Can’t find a friend? Running with a dog is also a risk reducer, so take your pooch along or offer to exercise a friend’s dog,” said Jarrett Arthur, women's fitness and self-defense expert.

Arthur added these safety tips:

  • Vary your routine. Try to avoid running at the same times on the same days and on the same routes. If you can only train at the same times and on the same days, definitely vary your routes from week to week.
  • Run on well-lit, well-populated routes, paths, and trails. For wider trails stick to running in the very center, away from the trees and shrubs that line the path, which make for excellent hiding spots.
  • Pull long hair into a side braid or tuck it up underneath a cap for your run. Long, swinging pony tails make for easy handles and is one of the characteristics violent offenders look for in victims.
  • After your run, add a sprint interval to the end of your run. Not only will you blast calories and stored body fat, but you’ll be making yourself better prepared to explosively and quickly run away from an attacker, even when fatigued from your workout. Start with 15 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking or slow jogging, repeat 6 times, and complete 2 or 3 times a week.
  • Add a set of push-ups after your run as well. Runners often tend to neglect their upper body strength, which is a really important part of fighting back. Your chest, shoulders, and triceps  are integral to your ability to generate big upper body striking power.

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