Tips for New Runners to Get Started on the Right Foot
Written by Tricia Moore
These days, more and more people are turning to running outside, some of whom have never been a fan of lacing up before. Fresh air miles can be the perfect way to alleviate anxiety, and give back to your body. And, you just might find it’s a habit you keep long after the pandemic. If you’re already getting out there, that’s a perfect first step. The next step is to do so in a way that keeps you feeling motivated in a sustainable manner so it becomes part of your lifestyle.
How much should you run?
Volume isn’t your friend…yet. Don’t take on too much too soon. The last thing you want to do is get overambitious about your personal running goals, and then end up on the injured list. When you’re just starting out, it’s recommended to do a run/walk combination. You can still develop increasing volume by adding a row or bike in place of the walk and finally replacing that with an additional run piece. It will do wonders for your fitness.
If you are brand new to running, start with a 3-minute walk, then jog for 30 seconds and walk until your breathing is back to normal. Try repeating that for five rounds and be done, from there you build. It’s a process, be kind and enjoy moving your body and being in control of your breathing.
It’s not recommended to run two days in a row, especially if one is new to the sport. Whenever you start a new exercise routine, such as running, you put a great amount of stress on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The stress causes minor damage, a normal part of building muscle. Waiting 48 hours until your next run, gives your body time to rebuild itself and can guard against injury.
Proper Running Attire
Dress properly and honor your feet. Invest in some tights or shorts you feel good in. Pick your preferred socks either thick or thin, socks matter! And, make sure you LOVE your shoes, no matter what. Shoes matter, take the time to learn about your feet (wide, thin, high arch, flat feet) and what shoes suit them best. One brand may make amazing weightlifting shoes, and your feet may not agree with their running shoes. Do what is best for you. You may prefer minimalist shoes, heavily cushioned, or find comfort somewhere in the middle. Some runners are quite particular and use various types of shoes based on the length of the run and surface. Take care of your feet, they are the first point of contact and the impact travels up your kinetic chain. Optimize your foot strike, and comfort.
Warm Up for Running
Yes, you need to warm up before running! Seems silly to say this but many people do not. Start slow, no pressure. It’s time to feel your body from head to toe. How are you breathing? How are your joints? Take an inventory. Do you feel light on your feet? How are your strides? Work with your body.
Take the time to prepare your body for what’s next which depends on the type of running workout you have planned. Most people will feel their best about 20 minutes into a longer workout, so in order to get the most out of your actual running workout, take 20 minutes doing a warm-up run with some stretches before you get started with the meat of the workout. When running intervals you will feel and perform much better after doing a dynamic warm-up for running with movements like walking knee tucks, lateral leg swings, Frankensteins, and throw in a few push-ups for good measure. From there a fluid warm-up such as 1-minute easy run 30-second walks x 5 sets gets your head in the game and your muscles ready for the effort to come.
You want to make sure that you incorporate exercises to warm up the body before a high-impact sport like running, we warm up for our dynamic Olympic weightlifting movements we must pay running the same respect. A proper warm-up will allow for optimal muscle engagement during the run, get the synovial fluid lubricating the joints, and get the mental piece primed.
Benefits of a Running Partner
Find a partner! A partner and coach can keep you accountable and motivated, various apps such as Map my Run and Strava can also help. As well, your Invictus community is a beautiful support system. Your fellow CrossFitters may be your best partners yet.
Variety in Your Running Routine
Mix it up! The most important thing of your journey is that you give back to your body through exercise in a way that feels good, rather than overexerting yourself.
It may get a little mundane, doing the same pace and route day after day. Instead, change it up. Try intervals, incorporating beach or trail runs, different inclines such as hills both steep and rolling and different time domains and intensities. Entertain all types of work. Speed work, long slow distance, and active recovery. It all has benefits – embrace all the differences. You can even add some “on the clock” work to gain a strength stimulus like squats, lunges or push-ups. The choices are infinite. It’s a matter of simply jumping in, being open to new possibilities, and not holding yourself to a strict standard. Have fun and mix it up.
Enjoy your new found functionality. Moving your body efficiently through space is what we train for. Running well based on your goals, and training background is the ultimate in functional fitness. The COVID pandemic has taught us to retool, reset, and rethink. Don’t forget what you’ve explored during this time. Sometimes it’s the simple things that matter most. Lacing up those shoes and just moving is life-giving.
Struggling with your running endurance? Don’t let your ‘Engine’ be your limiting factor in your training. If you’re serious about better performance in your training, or just want to build your aerobic capacity to run a long distance race, you have to spend time training all of the different energy systems. With the Invictus Engine Program, you will have options for 3 running workouts, 3 rowing workouts, 2 mixed-modal workouts, and 1 swimming session. And, we give some guidance depending on your training needs. Join anytime – like now!