By Hannah Alderfer, B.A., CPT

It’s springtime and many of you will begin to make your way outside to do a variety of activities that you’ve been waiting all winter long to do. Some of you will garden, some will get out the golf clubs, and others will begin running again. For those of you who plan to start running, whether it is routine or periodic, follow the 6 tips below to find yourself running well all summer long. By remembering these tips, you can dramatically increase your chances of running success in the future. If you need a plan to begin running, contact Hannah to get you running your first 5K. If you’d like more information about Race Training, contact Hannah Alderfer at Hannah@intelligentfitnesspt.com.

1. Do NOT do too much too soon

One of the biggest mistakes new runners are seen making is not building a proper base. When first making the decision to become a runner, new runners can get very excited. However, it is important for new runners to reel in this excitement. Do not make the mistake of going too far too soon or running too fast before you are ready. By easing into your training program the beginning runner can drastically decrease their high risk of injury.

2. Do NOT ignore recovery

Recovery is maybe the most important part of running. Running is an intense exercise that requires you take great care of your body to reach your full potential. In order to alleviate the aches and pains involved with running, beginners need to pay special attention to recovery. Recovery starts in the cool down. At the end of any workout it is important to do a cool down by either doing a slow jog or walk for about 5 minutes after your run. After a cool down the beginner runner should focus on stretching or foam rolling. Recovery also means taking it easy the next day or taking a rest day or incorporating cross training days.

3. Wear proper shoes and equipment

I cannot emphasize this enough! The most important piece of equipment for running is a proper pair of running shoes. It is highly important for new runners to not run in improper footwear, such as basketball shoes or regular tennis shoes. These shoes are not meant for running and will force your feet and legs to take on a running form that will more than likely produce injury. Along with proper running shoes, runners should make sure they have proper workout clothes to help protect them from the elements of nature.

4. Have (specific) goals or a plan

Having a goal with a proper plan in place to reach that goal helps the runner fight through the times when motivation starts to lack. Many beginning runners decide they want to get healthier or lose weight and therefore they will start running. But these are not good goals. A goal needs to be specific so if you are running to lose weight then it is important to decide exactly how much you want to lose. Or choose a goal race during the summer or fall to progress towards so that you have something to work for when the going gets tough.

5. Learn to properly pace

Many runners will start off way too fast in the first mile and be forced to dramatically decrease their pace or even walk in order to finish the run or race. Proper pacing can help the new runner avoid the slow down or forced walk. Not only can running a slower even pace help the runner finish without walking, but by running even pace the whole way the runner is more likely to have an overall better time! The good news is that learning to properly pace comes with experience.

6. Keep variety in training

There are many ways to get variety in training. One of the easiest ways is by running different courses. By running different courses on your different runs you will add variety to your training with hills, flats and possibly even surface conditions. Running different courses can help prevent injury since different surfaces, hills and flats will work all your different running muscles. Mixing up pace and distance of runs will add variety to the runner’s training which in turn will help the beginning runner improve at a much faster rate.