Happy New Year!
Though I’m not a huge fan of resolutions (I blabbed all about here), lots of us are going to be flocking to the gym today with both goals and resolutions. And a fair chunk of us will be hopping on the treadmill to run.
But we don’t know how.
Running or any other physical activity means we will at some point get hurt but this happens more to beginners because… we don’t know what we’re doing.
Unfortunately, a lot of times when beginner runners get hurt, feel pain, or have to take time off they never come back to it. And that’s a shame. So if you’re going to start running inside or outside this year, I’ve got some tips for you.
Do not heel strike. So that’s when you meet the ground heel first. And it’s a bad, bad, bad time. What happens is that it sends all the shock of running through your knees and hips. Google image “heel strike” makes my body hurt. It’s extremely jarring and dangerous.
Do midfoot or forefoot strike. This is exactly what it sounds like. There’s tons of information out there. Now, I’m gonna sound crazy but if you want to get a good grasp on how to do it, run around inside/outside whatever barefoot just for a bit. You’ll notice how it feels to run correctly and if you’re doing it wrong…you will know.
Do not jump into it willy nilly. What I mean by that is this:
Start with a conservative weekly mileage.
When we first start running, a lot of us just keep going and going with the intention of racking up more and more miles. While this may sound good in theory, it actually brings about a lot of injury. And no one wants that.
Do gradually increase mileage. You’ll want to only increase your weekly mileage by 10% but first you have to find a healthy balance for you and that requires being conservative. It’s not just about what you can pound out in a week. It’s also about what you can sustain.
Don’t be heavy when you run. This means that for first time runners, you’ll need cross-training. If we’re dumping all our weight onto our one foot, that leg will take damage. It’s not just our weight coming down, it’s the force of it too which makes the weight coming down on that foot a lot heavier than it actually is.
Do cross-train. Calf raises, lunges, and a solid leg workout routine that incorporates some jumping will really help you when you head out for a run. You shouldn’t hear the smack, smack, smack of your feet but the light, tap, tap, tap. Think of it like water, we want to be fluid.
Do not start warm. If you’re running outside, I’d suggest you check out my blog about that but the biggest thing is do not start out warm because yes, even in winter, you’ll overheat.
Do start chilly. You should feel a little cold when you start running. This means a few things. You’ll need to warm up on your run and before it. Cold muscles are angry muscles. To prevent injury, have an all-encompassing but quick warm-up routine. Burpees, foam rolling, and a few walking lunges might do the trick.
Don’t trust the weather. Really, don’t. Wind, rain, temperature fluctuates a lot and changes minute by minute. Keep an eye on the weather, the “real feel” and what is coming. Eventually, you’ll internalize those patterns. You don’t need lots of gear, but some will help keep you warm!
There are about ten million tips I could give you, but I think this one is the very most important and it’s one that I learned through years of running and being extremely frustrated with it at times.
Running is a mental sport.
Knowing that will help you out a lot. There will be many days where you don’t want to lace up. There’ll be plenty of times you want to stop running and go home. You’ll be uncomfortable, upset, and ready to quit. But you have to keep going. Remember that everyone feels like this. Everyone wants to give up. Everyone is uncomfortable. But to get strong is to push through that.
Keep in mind that you are not alone, you are doing this for yourself, and you are worth the struggle. The struggle is part of the beauty of the workout. No one is good at this at first. It’s okay. Read up on what you’re doing, what things could be dangerous, and keep in mind various tips. You don’t want to end up broken and the best part is, with all this information readily available, you don’t have to!