For those of you that have been dormant all winter I am asking you to proceed with caution into your “spring training.” The most common cause of serious injury is not being ready enough for the task you are about to undertake.
If you decided to start lifting weights, your first lift would not be 400 lbs., nor should your first run of the season be five miles. As children we had to learn to crawl before we walk, and to walk in order to be able to run. Running now as an adult is no different.
So here is my best advice to those of you in spring training:
Get a good pair of running shoes. If you have any questions about how to buy a good running shoe or what you need in a shoe, here is a link to a blog I wrote about a year ago on that very subject.
Then I suggest WALKING a mile a day until that becomes easy. Then walk 2 miles a day until that becomes easy. When walking at least 2 miles becomes easy, then run a mile. Once that is easy run 2 miles. Then run 3 miles, and so on.
Congratulations! You are NOW ready to run a 5K (3.1 miles). That was easy enough, wasn’t it?
Once you can run a 5K, I suggest training to run a 10K (6.2 miles), and once you successfully run a 10K – congratulations… you are NOW ready to start training for your first half marathon (13.1 miles).
Once again once you can successfully run a half marathon you will be ready to start training for a full marathon (26.2 miles). Here is a link to an earlier blog about training for a marathon!
I overheard someone the other day say that it was nonsense to have to do a 5K first before running their first marathon and WOW I thought that was crazy talk! Remember, crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Train, build the skill, and complete your run successfully and uninjured. Life will be glorious.
Eating to fuel your running machine is also very very important. Make sure you are eating lots of slow burning carbohydrates like vegetables, beans, lentils, steel cut oatmeal, bananas, yams, broccoli, almonds and whole grains. Here is a link to a blog I wrote on what and how to eat when running a race.
Lastly, when you are ready for your first race, there are some essentials you will need. A good hydrating system, a good energy gel, sports slick, some plastic sports tape, a good electrolyte replacement, a GPS watch, a good bandana or head wrap, and a dark pair of sunglasses. Here is a great article I recently wrote on this subject!
Post run there are several other things you will want to have on hand and to be prepared for:
1. A hot bath or shower – for more than the obvious reasons, the hot water will allow your muscles to start processing out the lactic acids that have built up while you ran.
2. If possible, a good full body massage. This will make you feel great. Oftentimes there are massage therapists giving complimentary massages after races. Take them up on their kind offer!
3. You will want to have a pain relieving spray or gel on hand. I like Cryoderm. Your local chiropractor should stock this; it’s in-expensive and totally helpful for your strained and sore muscles. Because it is cryotherapy it will help stop any inflammation. I also love Tiger Balm, available at many natural and Asian grocery stores.
4. A good meal (see above). This is no time to diet! Your body needs to be refueled!
5. Lots of water!
6. Gentle stretching about an hour post run so that your muscles keep moving. Seriously folks, the worst thing you can do is come home from a run and lay down.
Run safe my friends!
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