Expert Tips for Beginner Runners and Helpful Reminders for All of Us!
For every runner, there’s a piece of advice they wish they knew when they started out — but had to learn the hard way. I know I did! So I wrote this blog to draw on my experience from helping lead Kintec’s trail clinics and from my own running journey to share some pearls that will help make running that little bit easier. Here we go!
Run With A Friend
Find a friend who’s at a similar level to you (or ideally just that little bit faster to give you a push). Running is inherently a solo sport but can be surprisingly social when going at the appropriate pace. In fact, many coaches recommend your long slow distances be performed at a “conversational pace” to ensure you are balancing your effort over the distance. PLUS, running with company shifts the accountability outside of yourself; someone else is counting on you to run! Lastly, the time passes way faster when you’re busy catching up.
Find Proper Fitting Shoes
With over 20% of runners using the wrong sized footwear, this is an easy fix that will help your running. For example, don’t accept that black toe-nails are just a fact of running! Rather ‘runner’s toes’ are a direct function of either a toe-box being too-shallow or overall length being too short.
Did you also know that with many contemporary running shoes having higher midsoles and a larger forefoot rocker, it is important to ensure that the knuckle joint in your big toe (your 1st metatarsophalangeal joint – that’s a mouthful!) should line up with the inflection point of this rocker?
Get fit in a proper pair of running shoes from someone who has the knowledge to select a shoe based on your foot type. A fitting expert at Kintec can help you find running shoes that will help with exactly the sort of running you want to do!
Mix Up The Terrain
If you’re a road-runner, try taking a spin in the trails every now and then. Even relatively flat trails with crushed gravel can offer a nice gentle reprieve from the sharp impact loading of pounding pavement.
But there’s great added benefit to running on more technical trail that is either steeper or has more obstacles (like roots and rocks). This type of trail running shifts load from your calf and shins, to larger muscle groups like your back and gluteal muscles; muscles that would nicely complement your running form when you shift your focus back to the road.
And let’s face it – trail running is super interesting. Who doesn’t like sprinkling some adventure into your everyday running program!?
Know your Green, Yellow and Red Lights for Body Stress
The best advice to prevent running injuries is listening to the language of your body. An easy way to figuring that out is relating the aches and pains of running to a traffic light. In this analogy, your body is ‘in the green’ when you have zero pain or stiffness. This is how you should feel when you start a program, or when shortly before you are taking part in a race or running event following a period of tapered training.
Your body is ‘Yellow’ probably after a first few runs, and in a general sense refers to delayed onset muscle soreness and corresponding stiffness in the associated muscles and soft tissue. Yellow is more of a continuum in this sense; as you continue training without sufficient rest, you will likely find the intensity of that stiffness or soreness increase. However, a defining feature of the ‘Yellow’ stage is that this soreness or stiffness doesn’t affect either the intensity or duration of your runs.
The ’Red’ stage is when that soreness impacts your run training. Either you are missing days when you want to run, or you are forced to run slower to accommodate the stiffness and/or pain. By many definitions, this is when you’re injured and should quickly reduce your mileage. Take a week off running entirely (don’t worry, you won’t lose any run fitness – I promise!) and cross-train on a bike or pool or nordic ski or something that can elevate your heart rate a similar rate for a similar period of time. If pain persists, reach out to one of our pedorthists (www.kintec.net/book-now) to have a closer examination.
The Dixie Treatment
Fill a Dixie cup full of water and place in your freezer. When you need to ice a sore muscle, tear the top part of the Dixie cup half-way down so you can hold it, then use the ice block to massage sore muscles.
Invest In Proper Running Gear
In particular, you’ll want to purchase a breathable and waterproof running jacket and some sweat-wicking, technical shirts and tights. Do you need technical running gear? Absolutely not. In fact, there’s kind of a cool nostalgia to running in cotton gear and it shows off how hard you’ve worked with all those attractive sweat marks! But if comfort and keeping dry and warm are important to you, especially for runs longer than 60-minutes, then you will do yourself a big flavour to invest in a good quick-dry short and long-sleeved top, shorts or tights, and a breathable water-proof shell. Technical gear like this last far longer than conventional clothes and is worth the investment!
Track Your Progress
Keeping a running diary has never been easier and let’s you bask in the glory of your running accomplishments! Sign up for an account on a run tracking app to see how you are progressing over time. Some apps even include a social aspect where you can follow friends and get inspired by seeing other people’s activities. My favourite is Strava – you can record your runs straight from the free app, or it connects to popular GPS watches such as Garmin’s and Suuntos.
Want to experience the Kintec difference
Book a Footwear One2One appointment today. Our Fit Experts will help you find the right shoes so you can stay active on your feet.
Our One2One program will provide you with the highest level of safety and personalized service for all of your footwear needs.