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

4 Reasons to Buy These Books About Stretching

Are you looking for other sources of information on how to stretch? I did some research and found these books that I believe will make a fantastic addition to your exercise library.

I like these books for 4 reasons:

  1. Visuals: The books contain easy to read visuals of each stretch. This eliminates much of the guess work around the concern of “Am I doing this right?”
  2. Ease of Use: These books are designed for anyone to use. You don’t need to be a professional athlete or trainer to understand and use these books.
  3. Science based: The books show the reader the science behind the anatomy and the best way to meet the needs of the anatomy.
  4. Comprehensive: These books depict stretches that can be used for the whole body, and thus improve mobility for the whole body.

You can find both of these books at Amazon. Click on the image below and it will take you the page on Amazon.

 

I look forward to hearing from you all. Let know if you are using these books and share how you are feeling with your new flexibility. But before you leave, be sure to subscribe to the Wide-Body site, at Wide-Body.com. Subscribing is free, and I’ll keep you informed of the activities at the Wide-Body as well as have special offers just for subscribers.

Take care and enjoy life!

9 Benefits to Stretching

woman-stretching-on-mat

For the next few weeks, the theme on the exercise posts will revolve around subject of how you can have an effective workout while you are at home.

For some of you, you may be starting a new exercise regimen, so allow me to suggest that you add muscle stretches into your regular routine. Even if you have been exercising for a awhile, adding stretches now will benefit you by helping you prevent injuries and improving your strength.

Healthline has a nice article highlighting the benefits of stretching, and some basic tips.  Check it out here 

So, what’s the point? Why should you stretch? Here are 9 reason why.

  1. Increases your flexibility – Stretching can help delay the reduced mobility that can come with aging, as well improve your performance within your daily activities
  1. Increases your range of motion – Stretching on a regular basis can help increase your range of motion.
  1. Improves your performance in physical activities – Stretches prior to physical activities has been shown to help prepare your muscles for the activity. Your muscles are “cold” prior to activity, thus they are not as pliable as they would be once they are “warm” with activity. Warm muscles allow you to fully engage in activities.
  1. Increases blood flow to your muscles –Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles, which can shorten your recovery time and reduce muscle soreness
  1. Improves your posture-  One study found that a combination of strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment.
  1. Helps to heal and prevent back pain- Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in your range of motion. When this happens, you increase the likelihood of straining the muscles in your back.
  1. Is great for stress relief – When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a good chance your muscles are tense. That’s because your muscles tend to tighten up in response to physical and emotional stress.
  1. Can calm your mind – While you stretch, focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises, which give your mind a mental break.
  1. Helps decrease tension headaches- Stretching may help reduce the tension you feel from headaches.

Let’s start with some definitions as this will guide us through a stretching routine

 Static stretches involve holding a stretch in a comfortable position for a period of time, typically between 10 and 30 seconds. This form of stretching is most beneficial after you exercise.

 Dynamic stretches are active movements that cause your muscles to stretch, but the stretch is not held in the end position. These stretches are usually done before exercise to get your muscles ready for movement.

 You can stretch any time during the day. On days you exercise:

  • Do 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching before exercise
  • Do 5 to 10 minutes of static after exercise

On days when you aren’t exercising, do at least 5 to 10 minutes of stretching as this will continue to help improve your flexibility.

And here’s some additional tips:

  • DO NOT BOUNCE. That “ballistic” stretch approach has been shown not to work
  • Hold your stretch for 30 seconds. This will provide the best impact for the muscles
  • Don’t over stretch. Tension is good, pain is not. Start slow as the body will need to adapt to this stress, and gradually build up to more stretches over a course of weeks.
  • Focus on major parts of the body as this will improve mobility: calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, shoulders, neck, and lower back.

Now that you have the basics of stretching, go mix it up, get a little sweaty, because afterwards, you are going to feel great. But before you leave, be sure to subscribe to the Wide-Body site, at Wide-Body.com. Subscribing is free, and I’ll keep you informed of the activities at the Wide-Body as well as have special offers just for subscribers.

Take care and enjoy life!