How To Start a Running Routine: Part 2

You are ready to start your running routine, what are some other things to consider?  In this article, I’ll discuss some simple steps on how to start the routine, things to watch for in running form, and some equipment you should consider.

Start!

Let’s assume that you’ve already followed my advice from the previous article ( https://wide-body.com/2020/09/21/how-to-start-a-running-routine-today/) and you  visited your doctor and he/she gave you the thumbs up to get started on your running routine. Next…

Shoes!

Running is a relatively inexpensive activity, but you MUST invest in a good pair of shoes. This is a place you really shouldn’t skimp, and I’ll talk more about this below.

Keep it safe and simple

Use your common sense when running. Would you send your kids out to run in the middle of the road? No, and you shouldn’t either, so say on a sidewalk if possible. At dawn or dusk, just because you can see cars, that doesn’t mean they can see you. A surprising number of automobile accidents happen at those times of days because the sunlight changes create long shadows and blind spots. If you must run at light, make yourself visible with light colored and reflective clothing. If the is high, carry water with you. Your goal when you start should be 30 minutes worth of exercise, so find the best path that allows you to do this safely.

Warm up, first!

Spend 5-10 minutes stretching and warming up your muscles before you head out the door. Stretching will help you prevent injuries and eliminate some soreness. In this article, I highlight 9 benefits to stretching, https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/9-benefits-to-stretching/. If you are looking for ideas, here is a video routine: https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/video-stretching-routine/ as well as some books on the subject: https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/4-reasons-to-buy-these-books-about-stretching/

You’ve got this

Proper Running Form

Your posture is upright, head up, shoulders relaxed, and you arms swing easily back and forth at the shoulder. Do not lean forward or backwards, which is usually a sign of being tired, Good posture always you to take full breathes of air, and thus delays fatigue. If you are tired, you may notice that you lean forward and hunch your shoulders. This will add to your fatigue as that postures prevents you from taking a full breath. And as you breath, breath fully through you nose and mouth, “belly breath” as this will help prevent a side stitch which is common runners in the beginning.  Some good information about breathing while running can be found here: https://www.verywellfit.com/how-should-i-breathe-when-running-2911279

Equipment

Like I mentioned above, shoes are one place you do not want to skimp. If you have a running specialty retailer near you, visit them and have them do a fitting for you. A specialty store will evaluate your foot strike as well as ask you a series of questions about you and your running goals. Most of these retailers do a fantastic job of ensuring you get the shoe you need because they want you back in the store after you have run 200 miles or so in your shoes. And BTW, 200 miles is the typical limit for running shoes. Think about the pounding they go through and you can understand why the materials needed to comfort and control your feet begin to break down after 200 miles. Here are some tips on buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857 and if you don’t a retailer in your area, there are several good recommendation sites. Runners World, https://www.runnersworld.com/, has regular features on shoes on the market, as well as other gear. Zappos.com not only sells shoes, but they also have user reviews of the products they sell.

Regarding other equipment, you should consider wearing clothing that wicks sweat away from the body. This will wicking action will keep you cool while also prevent you from chafing and generally being uncomfortable. There are several manufactures for athletic wear, and you can get a little crazy and blow your budget. I suggest that you can find good clothes at reasonable prices. This article has good advice on where to find clothing and other technology at reasonable prices. https://www.verywellfit.com/where-to-buy-cheap-running-clothes-and-gear-2911848

Soreness

If you haven’t exercised in a, muscle soreness is inevitable. The muscle soreness is the result of muscle breakdown, repair, and the resulting lactic acid by product. Personally, I see muscle soreness as a sign of progress. This is sign that the body is making itself stronger because you need to be stronger. This is a natural process, so embrace muscle soreness as a good thing.

And while we can recognize muscle soreness as being good, we need to distinguish between muscle soreness and joint soreness. Joint soreness can be the sign of nothing more serious than the lack of use or it can highlight serious joint damage. Before we freak out our knees hurt, the best thing to do is to identify pain, the intensity, when it comes on, the location, and the intensity.

Here is some of my personal experience with various joint pains:

Inside Right Knee: After an extended lay off, I started running again. The next day, I had a sharp pain on the inside of my knee. The pain would go away when I rested but would return when I would immediately move. I considered whether I had a sharp foot strike during my run, and I hadn’t. The culprit of my injury: My quadriceps (a group of thigh muscles) were unbalanced in strength. The inner muscle was weaker than the outer muscle, pulling muscle and the tendon near the joint. The solution that fixed the problem was lunges and squats.

Lower Back Pain: After running for a week, I developed lower back pain. I have had lower back pain in the past, so I thought this was related to me some how lifting something incorrectly. Instead, the problem was my quads were stronger than my hamstrings, and this imbalance was pulling my hips out of alignment.

Hip pain: Similar to the issue above, yet this time the misalignment gave me pain in the hip.

In each case, the fix was easy. I spoke with my doctor, explained in detail the pain and that I had been exercising. The doctor recommended me to a chiropractor who gave me a routine of stretches and exercises that ultimately strengthened my weaker muscles and allowed me to feel good again.

Bottomline, if you are experiencing persistent joint pain, see your doctor as they can likely help you immediately.

Fun RUN!!!

Have fun!

And finally, have fun. Do not let running become a chore. The world will look differently as you run. Buildings and homes, plants and tree, people and animals, things that you would normally drive by, you can now see up close during your run, and it is a beautiful world.

COVID 19 has made it difficult to sign up for fun runs or join running clubs, If you can do this, do so. Fun runs give you a goal, as well as some fun swag to wear. A running club give you a buddy with who to share experiences. And people who have exercise partners are for more likely to stay motivated to exercise.

#fitness, #exercise, #wide-body, #running, #fun, #shoes, #beginners, #soreness

How To Start a Running Routine Today

If you have been considering starting a running routine, there is no better time to start than now. The changing of seasons from Summer to Fall bring about cooler weather that makes this the ideal time to start running. I love running in the fall and winter because I don’t become overheated and I feel as though I have more energy in the cooler temps. The other reason is because running gives me the discipline and reason to go outside during a period when I may normally stay indoors.

 The Benefits of Starting a Routine NOW

Allow me to offer a little nudge as to why you should start your routine now.

Physical Health: This is the obvious reason for starting and staying with any exercise routine. If you want to address issues with how to manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, or a host of health maladies related to a modern sedentary lifestyle, you need to create some movement.
Mental Health: This area of health is finally getting its due for a major reason why you should exercise. Research consistently shows that exercise does an amazing job in relieving stress and anxiety, providing you with better focus, calm, and clarity. Just last week I posted a video about how a walk for as little as two minutes can help relieve stress and return a clarity to your mind.
Mental Wellbeing: Not to be confused with Mental Health, Mental Wellbeing is focused on your outlook on life. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, making us feel better and more optimistic. This better wellbeing allows us to better handle the stressors that come up during any given day.

If you have further doubts about whether you are ready to start a routine now because of your age, current health, or because you have never had an exercise routine, I’ll alleviate those concerns now.

Getting Started

You can start running at any age and there are countless articles of people discovering or re-discovering running well into their senior years. So don’t let age be the thing that stops you. If you worry about how running will impact your knees or other joints, you shouldn’t. Researchers have found that running actually strengthens your joints as well as the bones. As with any exercise routine, consult with your doctor first and shar with him/her what you want to do. Your doctor may be able to provide you some very specific exercise information that exactly fits your health needs. And if you are unable to run, that is ok! Start by walking and then build up into a running routine. Just start moving and start today!!

Next Steps

  1. See your doctor: This is especially important if you have not regularly exercised. Tel the doctor that you want to start a running routine and ensure that you physically ready. The doctor can also recommend routines that fit your specific health needs.
  2. If you have a retailer dedicated to runners, visit them for a fitting. Properly fit shoes will prevent injuries, and in general make your periods of exercise more comfortable. Being cheap on shoes is not the best plan as not all feet fit the same, and thus you want shoes that specifically fit the differences of your feet. Here is an example; Me, being the Wide-Body, carry around more muscle weight than the average guy who runs track. Thus I need shoes that are designed for “Clydesdales” (Men who weigh more than 205lbs). Certain shoes styles and certain manufactures will not work for me, but by working with a good retailer, I can find the shoes that meet the needs of my feet.  If you don’t have access to a quality retailer, then check out this article for what to consider when buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857
  3. Don’t over do it in the beginning: You will likely feel a little stiff or sore after your first few times out. That is normal and should be welcomed. This tell you that muscles are being used in a good way. Nonetheless, the goal is not to have you run a marathon tomorrow. The goal for now is to start exercising and to create a consistent pattern of exercise. Over doing exercise when you start will leave you hurt, disappointed, frustrated, and likely injured. Set a goal to improve with each week in manageable increments.
  4. Employ the interval method: One way to prevent “over doing it” is to use the interval method of running for one minute, then walking for one minute, then running again for a one, etc. You eventually build up to longer periods of running until you are strong enough that all you do is run. There are several run/walk routines you can find on the internet, here is one that I think is pretty good: https://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/how-to-start-running
  5. Enjoy!: Have fun with your exercise. Look around as you run and you may be surprised at the things you see that you never notice while driving. Listen to podcasts and expand your knowledge. Use this time to meditate by clearing your mind. But whatever you do, enjoy the time you are putting into yourself and enjoy the results of that dedication and discipline.

In upcoming articles, I’ll do a few features on proper form and equipment to consider before your next run.