After this last weekend, covering for the Shoes and Brews 4th annual Soul Mates 5k, something occurred to me: running isn't for the faint of heart. This may cause a few of you to chuckle to yourself but perhaps you should try it sometime, for longer than a couple weeks or miles!
My above statement is designed to help you understand its not about intensity, necessarily. More so, its about the amount of force that can go into the body, which can be substantially increased if done without proper preparation! Preparation? Yes, Preparation! If you're the type that thinks you can just throw on a pair of runners from the value store and hit the pavement for a couple miles and be just fine, you are poorly mistaken! If done without proper preparation, running can be very taxing on the lower extremity and back! So how does one prepare? I thought you'd never ask!
Here's a quick list of things to consider:
1. Make sure your physically fit for running. A quick adjustment from your trusty chiro can ensure the lower extremity is functioning properly to prevent injury. Coupled with a quick physical wouldn't hurt, making sure there's nothing internal that may result in a coronary attck in the middle of your run
2. Equipment check. Not all shoes are created equal! If you're gonna take this thing seriously you should know there are good shoes and bad shoes to be running in. The bargain bin runners are not for running! Shoes breakdown. If you're running distance you should be changing out you runners every 3-5 months, 6 years is WAY too long! Get fitted by people who know their stuff, Shoes and Brews is a good locally owned and operated shop near main street.
3. Start small. Don't go out trying to run 10 miles your first day. Its unrealistic and you'll most likely be so sore it may take a few weeks before you're able to run again. Depending on your ability, start with 1-2 miles and as you get your lungs and legs back start bumping the mileage up after a few weeks.
4. Hydration. At altitude hydration is HUGE. Most people don't understand what hydration is! The guys you see walking around with gallon jugs of water may be cliche but I'm pretty sure they don't get cramps or heat stroke very often! Coffee, soda and alcohol all cause dehydration, more so than you think, so if you have any of that stuff you need to offset it with extra water that day.
5. Set goals and keep track. Depending on why you are running (weight loss, increase activity, cross training, etc) you should have goals to keep you on track. Using a heart rate monitor isn't a bad idea either. The Polar models are great at tracking you calories, heart rate, time etc..
6. Get a workout buddy. It's amazing how effective having a workout buddy can be! Someone to hold you accountable for your workouts. Someone with similar goals that you can, essentially, race towards against. I know I love a good competition!
7. Break up the monotony with a little cross training. If all you do is run the same distance at the same intensity every day your body will plateau and your progress will cease. Change it up weekly. Run a couple days and hit the bike, the pool, the rower the basketball court for a pickup game once or twice a week. The change will keep you mentally engaged making it more enjoyable and in turn more long term! Nobody likes doing the same darn thing everyday for 30+ years, or do you!? haha
8. Listen to your body. If at any time you start feeling light headed, dizzy, nauseous or pain that ordinarily isn't there don't be scared to stop. Better safe than sorry. You're not an international athlete so theres no reason to push too hard. Be smart and be safe
I hope all this has been helpful. If you feel I've left anything off feel free to let me know and I'd be happy to add it. Best of luck with your running and feel free to stop in for an adjustment anytime.