Tags: running


Tips for the New(bie) Year Runner -- Part 3

Because I've been getting a lot of questions from people who are new to fitness or running--who want to know how I lost 45 lbs last year--I have been posting running tips. See Part 1 and Part 2.

Yesterday I talked about the importance of listening to your body and the 10% rule. I didn't do that, and I paid for it.

By spring, three miles was a breeze for me. I did my first 5K in late March and began filling my calendar with upcoming races. I was training for my first 10K, the Hospital Hill Run, -- yep, it's all about conquering a few really tough hills. I spent much of May running big hills near my house. My hip was starting to bother me, but I kept at it. I had a race to run the first week of June!

Race day arrived, and of course, by then my hip really hurt. A few people suggested that it might be a good idea to take that race off. But...I'd been planning on it, training for weeks! No way was I bailing. At about mile three, I couldn't keep up with my friends. I dropped back and finished the run myself, turtle slow.

I didn't run again for about three weeks.  

I was in a lot of pain and knew I had to get to a doctor. I wanted to see a sports medicine doctor because I didn't want to listen to a family practice doc tell me to stop running, or to shoot me up with pain killers. If I wanted to see the sports med specialist, it would be a three month wait. That was not going to work for me.

I remembered there was a chiropractor who worked out at my gym. Surely, if she was athletic, she wouldn't tell me to stop running. I knew this was the perfect solution! 

Seeing the chiropractor was the best decision I made, something I wish I would have started as a very new runner. My hips were out of alignment. One leg was longer than the other (which would be the case, if your hips were not aligned), my knees were popped out of place. I was a mess. After two weeks' of adjustments, I was almost as good as new....and I was running again. Six weeks later, I felt better than I had in years!

The other thing I wish I had known as a new runner was how much better my legs would feel if I rolled them out with a foam roller several times a week. (GREAT for IT Band issues)

Because I had several runner friends when I started, they all insisted that I go to a running store (not a department store or sporting goods store, a running store) and get fitted for shoes. It took TWO HOURS to select my first pair of running shoes. And, I was surprised to learn that the shoes I'd been buying for several years were 1 1/2 sizes TOO SMALL! The professionals at the running store will look at how you walk or run and will help select the best shoe for your foot and your gait.

(And, a friend just told me about this place yesterday: Running Warehouse is closing out last year's models. I bought a $110 shoe for $59!)

The chiropractor fixed me up, but I had to cut back my mileage, which also meant building up...slowly...this time. While I was injured, I started swimming, which was the only activity I could find that got my heart beating as fast as it does when I run.

Tomorrow, I will tell you about how important my friends were in my running and weight loss journey.


Tips for the New(bie) Year Runner -- Part 2

See yesterday's post for Part One of this series--Tips for the New(bie) Year Runner

I am often asked what made me start running. One year ago, I absolutely hated running. I almost quit working with my trainer because I hated it so much (and she made us run, what seemed like a lot at the time).

The day I decided to be a runner still stands out in my mind. I was on the elliptical machine next to two of my friends who had run a few half marathons the year before. I was at my all-time highest weight, and they were looking really good. It wasn't fair that I put in the same amount of time at the gym every day, and they looked hot...and I did not.  The second that thought entered my mind, it hit me. They were drenched in sweat, working at high intensity. I was barely breaking a sweat...and my hair still looked good! If I wanted to lose the weight I'd been packing on, I needed to up the intensity of my work outs.

It was at that moment that I decided to become a runner.

Today's tips:

1. Increase the intensity of your workouts.
  Start slow, but know when to push yourself. If your goal is weight loss, you need to increase the intensity of your workouts at some point. If you are not drenched in sweat, it may be a sign that you need to work harder.

2. There is a simple formula to weight loss. Burn more calories than you consume! Running a mile ... or even ten... does not give you license to eat whatever you want. Feed your body, but don't eat your workout!

3. Listen to your body.
If you are new to running, or if you are new to exercise, start slow. Push yourself, but listen to your body. There's a difference between "OMG! This old skateboarding injury is going to kill me" and "This is uncomfortable because it's new." When I first started running, my entire body hurt. Even after I'd built up a little endurance, the first mile hurt every day for months. Since I don't have any old injuries or any physical issues that should limit my activity, I knew I needed to tough it out and until my body got used to running.

4. Don't overdo it. The "experts" say you should not increase your mileage more than 10% a week. I don't know at what point one should begin to apply this rule. I would think you'd be safe following the Couch to 5K program and then applying the 10% rule at once you reach three miles. (ME??? I didn't listen to this, and I got hurt within the first six months, and had to take two months off to recover. That story and tips related to injury prevention/rehab tomorrow!)


Tips for the New(bie) Year Runner

I attended a writing workshop over the weekend. It's always great to be in a room filled with writer friends, and Saturday was no exception!

Every time I get together with people I haven't seen in a while, I get a lot of comments about my appearance. As we've discussed (way too many times, I know!), I lost 45 pounds last year, mostly because I started running. There's a lot less of me these days!

After Saturday's event, I received a phone call from someone who wanted to know how to get started running. I am far from an expert. I started running about this time last year and went from non-runner to half marathoner in eight months. I am currently training for my first full marathon, which I hope to run in either April or May.

I thought I'd post a few tips each day, things I wish I would have known when I started out. I hope these tips are helpful to those of you wanting to start some new, healthy habits this year!

1. Think about safety! Get a ROAD ID tag! In the event something bad happens, you want to be sure to have some form of identification. I have a little tag that fits on my shoe laces. There's also this bracelet style:

2. It's okay to start small. Use a walk/run strategy. When I first started, I couldn't even run 1/10 of a mile. I would walk 1/2 way around the gym track, then run 1/2, alternating until I did a mile. Once that got easier, I would run one lap and walk one, or run one lap and walk 3/4.

3. Follow a plan. If you want a plan to follow, many people rave about the Couch to 5K program.  It's a plan geared to take you from couch potato to 30 minutes of running in just 9 weeks.

More tips tomorrow!