I’ve been a runner for a long time although it took me many years to sign up for a race. I used to think that if I didn't run several times a week, year-around, and wasn’t doing high mileage, I wasn’t a real runner.
Whether you run a little or run a lot, you’re a runner…or you can become one.
I remember training for my first half marathon 6 years ago and feeling so daunted by the training plan I was using. As the weeks went by, things started to feel easier. What was the secret? I just stuck with it. There were days I was too tired or too sore or something came up and I missed my run– but that was ok. I allowed myself breaks here and there when my body was asking one. There were also runs where I felt great and really energized and knew I could push a little harder.
My wish is to motivate you to give running a chance if you've never been into it, or to start back up again if you've had to take a break. I'm sharing my top tips on making running feel a little easier, maybe even a little more enjoyable, so that you get out there and enjoy running this Fall (and beyond).
1) Stay positive:
If you tell yourself you hate running, you are already putting yourself in a disadvantage by adopting a negative mindset. If you can run 400 meters, you can run a mile. If you can run a mile, you can run a 5K, etc.
Believe it and you will do it.
2) It’s OK to walk!:
This is important because I know some people feel like if you are not running the whole time, then it doesn’t count. Wrong. There is no such rule. Walking is actually great because it allows you to use different muscles and rest the ones you use when you’re running. When you walk you may feel it more in your glutes, whereas when you’re running, it’s more in the quads and hamstrings.
When I create training plans for beginners or those just getting back to running, I have my clients do run/walk intervals to get them ready for the 5K. Starting slowly is key to build up your endurance safely and avoid injury.
I have helped over many runners conquer specific running goals by incorporating walking breaks as part of their training. In the first marathon I ran, I incorporated walk breaks and ended up finishing in 4:02, feeling like I could’ve kept going!
Many of my clients ask me about how they should be breathing. How you breathe makes a huge difference in how you feel about not only running but any type of exercise that brings your heart rate up.
The first thing is to make sure you’re taking big yoga-type breaths through your mouth, breathing from your diaphragm or belly rather than just your chest. You need as much oxygen as possible so make sure you take BIG breaths.
You may want to try following a 3:3 pattern where you inhale for 3 steps, and exhale for 3 steps.
Just remember to relax and your body will know what to do.
4) Practice Good Form:
As with any exercise, like CrossFit or yoga for example, the better your form, the more you will get out of it and the more you will prevent injuring yourself. When running, stay light on your feet, land toe to mid foot (not your heels), and keep your chest up. Keep your shoulders down and pull your navel towards your spine. Swing your arms and avoid crossing them in front of you.
5) Wear the Right Shoes:
Don’t run in 5 year old sneakers. The best thing to do is to go to a running store and have one of their trained staff help you find appropriate shoes for you. Once you find ones that work, stick with them.
6) Listen to Music:
Play tunes that inspire you and get you revved up. You may find yourself running faster without even realizing it.
One last secret I want to share is that I don’t always love running. My husband says the same thing. We love the feeling we get after the run. The run itself can be tedious at times, but the sense of accomplishment afterwards is unbeatable.
I hope this post was helpful in getting you started with running. Enjoy the beautiful temperatures that Fall brings and get outside! To learn more fitness and running tips, feel free to visit my blog http://www.thepetitefastinista.com.