With the start of the New Year, many people decided to start running. Some want to run specifically for fitness and weight loss, while others are interested in more competitive running. Whether you’re running for fun or determined to complete a 5k or a marathon, here are 7 things you should know before beginning.
First, you may want to consult your doctor to make sure they agree with your new fitness regime.
Second, set some goals and devise a plan to help you achieve these goals. Start with your long-term goal race. Plan your workouts accordingly, taking into consideration how far away the race is and how much time you have to train to get there. Create some short-term goals, key workouts, to get you prepared for this goal race. One example of this would be your last very long run 3 weeks before a marathon. Next, map out your training plan so you know how far and what type of workouts you are running each week leading up to the goal race.
Don’t just plan out your training schedule as you go; this may not get you to your desired fitness level in time for your goal race. Third, proper shoes and apparel are very important. There are a variety of shoe options available; cushioned, motion control, and neutral, just to name a few. Each address specific issues you may encounter such as high or low arches or over pronating or supinating feet roll. The right type of shoe will help prevent injury. Proper apparel is also important. Tech T’s are great for indoor running and warm days outside. Various cold gear options are available to keep you warm when running outdoors.
Fourth, ease into running based on your current fitness level. Don’t rush into it; your body will need some time to get into the swing of things. Your muscles and joints will appreciate a patient progression in your training program rather than jumping into a program full force. A well-planned program will keep you healthy, injury-free, and enjoying your training.
Fifth, decide if you are running for time or distance to make up your program. Allow for progression. You need to build up your mileage over time. The rule of thumb is to progress approximately 10% from your previous week. Don’t forget to include a rest week that is about half of the work you did the previous week. This allows your body to recover from your training. Typically, you’ll have a 3-week build up and then a rest week.
Sixth, flexibility is very important in injury prevention. Flexibility will keep you running longer with no injuries. You should loosen up by warming up on the run and include some good static stretches after the run. Don’t forget to stretch out the hamstrings, quads, and calves.
Seventh, strength training is helpful in preventing injuries. Both weight lifting and core training will help build up your body strength, muscle endurance, and stamina, helping your body deal with all of the mileage you are putting it through. I would suggest doing whole body workouts using your major muscle groups.
Last, but certainly not least; running should be fun and enjoyable. Enjoy all of those miles and train hard for your goal race!