Happy Monday everyone! Today marks my first day of training for the Paczki Day 5K and as I begin to prepare, I am reminded of what it was like to be a new runner. There are so many things that I wish I had known then, which would have seriously helped my training. I picked up tidbits along the way though and proudly consider myself a runner now. Whether you’re training for a race, trying to lose weight, or just improve your overall health, apply these changes and you’ll find that your goals are achievable.
Get Proper Shoes
For a very long time, I ran in whatever cute running shoes they had at DSW. If they came in pink, I was sold. If you think about it though, everyone is built differently, so it makes sense that you would use a shoe that works well with your body. If you go to a running store, a sales person can watch you walk and sometimes even put you on a machine to see how you disperse your weight on your feet. They’ll match you up with a shoe that is the best fit for you. Said shoes will likely be a bit more expensive and they may not come in pink, but they’ll help you go the distance more comfortably and with less injuries.
The right music can create the right state of mind. It can help drive your run. When I first started out, I used high energy music to help keep me motivated during my runs. I filled my phone with The Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna, and other similar artists. As I started to run further, I actually found that I needed music that kept me calm and relaxed. Jason Mraz and John Mayer were my go-to musicians. Figure out what your mind needs to get your body through. Also, when I made playlists, I always gaged how far into the run I was by what song was on. When I transitioned to Pandora, the runs seemed easier and shorter because I wasn’t tracking them by song.
Correct Your Form
I remember running in high school gym class, but I don’t remember ever being taught how to run. I know that a lot of people just decide that they’re going to start running and off they go! Once I read up on proper form, I made a concious effort to make the adjustments. What you’ll find is that when you have your torso at the right angle and correctly use different parts of your body, you will feel better and your run will be easier. I found the diagram below extremely helpful.
Eat Like a Runner
Knowing your best pre and post-run foods is crucial. After all, you need to properly fuel your machine if you want it to perform. Here are a few examples of how you can use food to boost your run and your recovery.
Bananas: A great pre-run snack. They’re high in carbs to help power you through your run. Plus they offer electrolytes and potassium, to help prevent muscle cramping.
Black Beans: Because of the carbs, these also make a great pre-run snack. They supply your body with protein and antioxidants, which aid in muscle recovery.
Salmon: The fats found in salmon help reduce inflammation, making it a great post-run food.
Sweet Potato: This is a great pre or post-workout food, since it’s in high carbs and antioxidants. It will get you through your run and help your muscles recover after.
Find a Training Program
You have a goal distance but don’t know how to get there. I didn’t either, but fortunately there are some excellent resources on the Internet from people who do. Instead of running random distances each day, these plans are strategic, so that you hit your goal within a certain timeframe without injuring yourself. This is the “30 day to 5K” program that I’m using. No matter the distance or training timeline, I’ve always found a good program on Pinterest.