Wednesday, July 9, 2014

For the Newbie Runner: Part 2

In the post "For the Newbie Runner: Part 1," I offered three tips learned since I started running...

  1. Shoes: All Feet are Not Created Equal
  2. Intervals: A Mile is a Mile
  3. Running Groups: Never Say Never

My disclaimer is that I'm still a Newbie Runner, too, and eager to steer you towards success in your new quest. As of this post, I've only run a couple of 5Ks (3.1 miles) and one 10K (6.2 miles). My intimate knowledge of the running race world is extremely limited. But there are many miles logged prior to each of these races which is where I will draw from for tips.

4. Stretching: Impatience Can Cause Injury

With just a 5-minute stretch before bolting down the road, you can reduce your chance for injury. Cold muscles do not want to work. Tight muscles are like a ball of taught rubberbands. Try to immediately engage those cold, tight muscles for high performance and you may end up with severe pains, strains or even bone fractures. After the run, reward those muscles with unrushed stretching. As you hold a pose, relax into that held pose intentionally focusing on specific muscles. It'll hurt so good!

I was involved with a new yoga studio a friend launched, over a year ago. In that 30-day period, I had unlimited access to all classes from gentle (newbie) flow to the crazy Hot 26 where the room is heated to 95 degrees and my elbows sweat puddles! Turns out, being rung out like a sponge and getting all bendy-pretzelly for an hour alleviated some muscle and tendon issues I was experiencing. Now, I do those flexibility and stretching exercises at home in air conditioning!

5. Cross-Training: Getting Stronger All Over

More studies are proving stronger runners are created in the gym. Cross-training such as weights, plyometrics, swimming, etc., help strengthen different muscle groups while the other set recovers. Why does a runner want to cross train?

*Balance those non-running muscles for overall strengthening.
*Reducing the risk for injuries.

I hated running. I felt weak and winded. Ultimately I just quit trying. After participating in Zumba classes 2-4 times a week for about 7 months, I decided to give running one more chance. Oh, and to make it more of a challenge, I opted for a hilly route. Incredibly, I felt strong, as if I had been running for months! Benefiting from the results of cross-training, I'm intentionally active in dance (cardio) fitness and running. Some weeks, I add a resistance band with flexibility stretches. 

Balance your weekly workout and get stronger!

How do you cross-train? What types of stretching and flexibility exercises are you doing to improve your muscle balance?

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