Tuesday, January 13, 2015

For the Newbie Runner: Part 4


Walking: Not for the Wussy

Just because this series is labeled for the newbie runner does NOT exclude those who walk! I spoke with an ER technician who sees less injuries from walking than any other sport. For those who are starting from a sedentary lifestyle, walking is the perfect launch into a fit lifestyle. Most everyone can walk! Walking strengthens muscles and immune systems. Walking is the first activity a cardiologist requires of heart patients before leaving the hospital. Walking is a necessary warm-up and cool-down for joggers and runners. Walking is my choice for when I need to run, but experience the Idontwannas.

Start with a simple goal. Perhaps, at the local park or track you set a goal for a quarter mile or more. Go at a pace you feel comfortable. When you feel tired, try "fishing." Spot a person or an object and walk to that point. Remember, the first two weeks of any fitness launch is the hardest. Keep at it, get out there and walk, newbies!

Apps:  Help or Hinderance?

There are so many digital tools to assist those who are getting fit. When you pair the smartphone with a fitness app, the convenience and motivation can be a terrific boost and accountability. Many fitness and mileage apps provide an online version with even more details and friend searches. While most of these apps are free of charge, some offer an elite upgrade at set pricing for in-depth stats and "coaching."

Two apps which my hubby and I utilize and integrate with one another are RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. While the latter helps to daily log your caloric intake, it factors the calories burned in RunKeeper (walking, running, etc.) against the totals for the day! Now, that's helpful! The only downer I've experienced is on some overcast days when RunKeeper wigs-out on my location and mileage.

For more Newbie Running Tips, be sure to check out: 
  • Shoes: All Feet are Not Created Equal
  • Intervals: A Mile is a Mile
  • Running Groups: Never Say Never
  • Stretching: Impatience can Cause Injury
  • Cross-Training: Getting Stronger all Over
  • Run Unplugged

Thursday, January 8, 2015

For the Newbie Runner: Part 3

Today's Newbie Running Tip is to Run Unplugged.

Over the Christmas holidays, I saw a challenge issued by a coach and online runners to go unplugged, meaning to disconnect from technology during your run. By "disconnect" they meant remove the earbuds, unharness from your smartphone and even unstrap your running watch. WHY?

Listen to your body.

BREATHING. Runners tend to disconnect from the world around them while the earbuds are pumping noisy distraction into their heads. Because runners are so absorbed in the audio book or have the music up loud, they are missing the sound of their own breathing. Your breathing can tell you if you're fatigued or have more gas in the tank.

Personally, I chose to have my music up loud enough in my ears to cover the sound of my ragged breathing! Also, it was a tool to trick myself from how tired and winded I was.

LEGS, KNEES & FEET. With so many apps and running watches tracking routes, time, splits, averages, comparison charts, etc., runners are trying to go longer and go faster without evaluating their body currently in motion. Push harder. Harder. HARDER. No wonder there are too-much-too-soon injuries.

I rationalized that I should beat yesterday's time or distance just because it was a new day and I was rewarded by the robotic voice or blinking screen. Never mind my feet felt crippled toward the end of the run because my form was poor causing me to over
pronate/supinate and hobble toward my digital reward.

Listen to your world.

There is much to hear. Birds. Wind. Other runners. Cars thumping up to a stop sign, but not stopping as they missed seeing you. It has been reported, women with earbuds are a perfect and favored target for being attacked from behind simply because they are not listening.

That same Christmas I took the challenge during my next run. "This is no biggie. I get to hear the sounds of nature. I feel free." I was in Oklahoma where the wind doesn't have much of an opponent. It howled into my ears. The airplane overhead roared as if it were coming down on my head. My breathing sounded like heaving! My feet slapped-slapped-slapped-slapped the paved trail like they were clown shoes. I was so distracted by all I heard, I couldn't run 2 miles for the frustration of it all. Since then, I decided to pull the plug on earbuds while running. 

It is important to note some organized races strongly discourage or do not permit smartphones, MP3s and earbuds, but encourage the runner to engage in the experience of the race. Typically, during my morning runs, I have my iPhone running app open to know the distance, but I'm listening to what matters. 



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For more Newbie Running Tips, be sure to check out: 

"For the Newbie Runner: Part 1
  • Shoes: All Feet are Not Created Equal
  • Intervals: A Mile is a Mile
  • Running Groups: Never Say Never
  • Stretching: Impatience can Cause Injury
  • Cross-Training: Getting Stronger all Over