8 Tips to Training and Racing: Beginners’ Running Routine
If you really stop and think about it, running and walking are quite simply the most natural forms of movement in which bipedal creatures partake.
While a pair of running shoes come in handy, along with all the gear available to us today, including heart rate monitors, water bottle waist packs, GPS tracking to measure distance run precision, net elevation gain and average cadence, if you really cut down to the basics, all we need to go on a run or walk is… our body.
Any time, any place, regardless of where you may be located in the world, you can always get out there and run.
It’s something that’s inherently part of who we are. If you’re not convinced, think about how children move. They learn to crawl, then walk and then, intuitively, begin to run. They enjoy it, as evidenced by their shrieks of joy as they play with other kids at the playground. Sadly, as we get older, many individuals allow themselves to become deconditioned from the very activity basically imprinted in our DNA.
After decades of sitting at a desk, or just sitting period, for that matter, many find themselves with a host of physical issues which can stem from any or all of the following: tight hip flexors, weak abdominal muscles, internally rotated shoulders. These conditions result in pain, discomfort, and a net inability to move properly.
Start there and add running on pavement or cement, too much too soon and in the wrong type of running shoes, and you end up with what has become the all too familiar piece of advice doled out when you visit the doctor’s office with knee pain: “Running is bad for you.”
I can’t even count how many clients I’ve worked with over the years who were encouraged to move away from something so ingrained in us by this scenario alone.
But must it be this way? Does a sore knee or a case of plantar fasciitis have to mean that you cannot ever be a runner?
Not in a million years!
For those nostalgic for the joys of running and jumping back into training and racing, with perhaps a bit of competitive drive, to boot, here are some training and racing tips to help ease back into the sport, which, is my own personal favorite means of cardiovascular activity.
PALEOISTA’S 8 TIPS TO TRAINING AND RACING: BEGINNERS’ RUNNING ROUTINE
1. SIGN UP!
The mere act of registering for your first 5k, 10k, half marathon, or whatever you opt to do, is a surefire way to make sure you’re really going to do it. Don’t be shy and tell your colleagues, friends and family about your plans! Being asked how your training is going and if someone can join you for a lunchtime run can prove to be extra motivation to keep on track.
2. TRAIN RIGHT
Find a solid training plan and/or coach to help you meet your training and racing goals. If it’s your first run, and you’re doing a 5k, you can likely get away with simply getting out there and running. After you complete your first event, and find you’ve got the bug, you may find you need a bit more guidance to make sure you’re challenged to improve without overdoing it.
3. EASE INTO IT
Don’t do too much too soon. If you haven’t run for 20 years, don’t decide that starting this week, you’re going to head out for a five mile loop every morning before work. Balance it out with other means of cardiovascular activity, like swimming, to allow your body to adapt without too much stress right out of the gate.
4. HIT THE TRAILS
Don’t run on poor surfaces. While it may be convenient to run straight from your house, if the only option is to run on cement sidewalks in the fumes of passing cars, it would be well worth your while to take the 10 minute drive to the nearby trailhead instead to save your lungs and some of the pounding. Plus, running on the trails is a great way to develop foot and ankle strength which will serve you even if you’re not planning to do any trail racing.
5. VARY YOUR SURFACES
Sometimes, an occasional speed workout on the treadmill is okay. Other times, head to the track. Maybe you can do your recovery run barefoot on the grass. The more stimuli you present to your body when you’re training, the better adapted and fit you will become.
6. GET GOOD BODYWORK
The importance of having a skilled massage therapist is tantamount with eating and resting properly. Whether it’s massage alone, or massage plus chiropractic and or Active Release Therapy, be sure to find your personal balance of what your body needs to keep healthy, fluid and moving properly.
7. EAT WELL
As if there were any doubt, following a proper anti-inflammatory Paleo regime will ensure you’re properly fueled to perform, recover, repair and do it all over again! If you’re under the impression Paleo diets wouldn’t supply all the fuel you’d need to perform, think again. I, along with many of my own clients and other athletes, have been able to perform at a very high level eating real foods representative of a True Paleo regime. Check out The Paleo Diet for Athletes to find out why Paleo is a sure fit for any Paleo athlete.
8. SAVOR THE MOMENT
Ultimately, a ton of free time is hard to come by these days. Why not pick a form of activity that comes naturally, which you can participate in anywhere, with anyone, from any walk of life? Sounds like common sense to me!