This post comes to you from Matthew Paladino
So you want to start but don’t know how to train to run? Well before you strap on your shoes and tie those laces I want to cover a few things about running.
Human beings have evolved. Running started as a means of hunting and source of communication, it now revolved around improving the health, fitness, and well-being of the general population.
Research has shown that running, a form of cardiovascular exercise has a myriad of health benefits such as decreased risk of heart disease, decreased resting heart rate, increased energy, improved cardiovascular fitness, and improved self-esteem to name a few. If that isn’t enough incentive to learn how to train to run then I don’t know what is.
Here are 8 tips before you start.
How to Train to Run Tip #1 – Consult your G.P.
Just like starting any training program, be sure to consult with your doctor or general physician before you start a running program. It’s not only important for your doctor but also for yourself to be well aware of any health or fitness issues that can be of concern when you start a running program.
How to Train to Run Tip #2 – Proper footwear
Overuse injuries such as IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and patellofemoral pain syndrome (funny enough called runner’s knee) are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s running community. Suffice it to say, improper footwear contributes significantly to this. Make sure when purchasing a pair of running shoes to have your gait (running stride) analyzed to determine which pair of shoes would be the best option and fit for you.
How to Train to Run Tip #3 – Warm-up
Research has shown that a proper warm-up prior to exercise is essential in decreasing the risk of serious injuries. A low intensity warm-up such as a light jog as well as mobility and dynamic drills is a great way to warm-up prior to a run or training session. Generally speaking, the intensity of your warm-up should feel anywhere from a 4 to a 6 on a scale of 10 (sweat is a good indicator).
How to Train to Run Tip #4 – Stretch, stretch, and stretch…only after….
Don’t confuse stretching as the be-all-and-all of flexibility training – it’s just one of several modalities associated with flexibility. Static stretching, or held stretching, following a run or training session is “valuable for restoration to enhance recovery” as noted by John Paul Catanzaro, but prior to can significantly decrease power output and strength – this can be counterintuitive for a hard training session. With that said, common muscle groups runners should devote extra time stretching following a run include the rectus femoris, glutes/piriformis, hamstrings, IT band, and gastrocnemius and soleus.
How to Train to Run Tip #5 – Have a plan
Training without a plan or sense of purpose is the same as driving to a destination you’ve never been to before without a map GPS. Needless to say, your running program or plan should be goal-orientated. For instance if your goal is to run 5km in 20 minutes what do you need to do in order to accomplish this. Your training program (plan) is the foundation to achieving your goal. You might want to look into using a pace calculator to help as the math can get tricky.
How to Train to Run Tip #6 – Progressive overload
Forty to sixty-five percent of new clients will drop their exercise regimens within three to six months time – an alarming statistic derived from a study conducted by Annesi in 2000. This is commonly attributed to the fact that most people train too much when starting an exercise program for the first time, which eventually leads to burn-out, loss of motivation, injury, or a combination of all three – simply put, their bodies can’t handle the frequency, volume, and intensity of their training.
As much as I respect anyone who engages in exercise and physical activity it is unfortunate that many forget the principle of progressive overload. As defined in the Physiology of Sport and Exercise, the principle of progressive overload is the theory that to maximize the benefits of a training program, the training stimulus must be progressively increased as the body adapts to a current stimulus. By following this principle you’ll gradually increase the volume (the amount of running) and intensity (how hard you’re running) in your training program to ensure maximum results safely and effectively.
How to Train to Run Tip #7 – Incorporate proper strength training
There is a preconceived notion that if runners start hitting the iron they’ll be popping out some serious muscles like Arnie. Suffice it to say, there are a myriad of benefits of strength training, one of which include increasing muscle cross-sectional size, however the purpose of strength training for runners should ultimately be improving overall performance.
A strength program of this nature should be individualized and include full body compound exercises (i.e. squats, push-ups, chin-ups, and lunges) as well as anti-rotation and anti-extension core exercises. Proper strength training will also pay tremendous dividends to improving your running mechanics and running economy. It might be a good idea to consult a qualified personal trainer for advice on a program. (this correlates with my earlier tip of having a plan).
How to Train to Run Tip #8 – Have fun
Quite simply the most important tip is to have fun with running – whether it means running with your best friend or poodle just have fun!
Although running may be as simple as moving your arms and feet forward there is a lot to know. Just remember to smile, have fun, and enjoy your runs!
How did you learn to run? Have any tips? Comment below and please, as always, share using the buttons below or simply be emailing this article to a friend.
Matthew Paladino (CSEP-CPT) is a personal trainer at Body + Soul Fitness, a boutique fitness studio located in Toronto. A member of the Toronto Olympic Club, Matthew is a competitive cross country and track and field runner. His favourite distance is the 1500m as it is not only fast and quick but also tactical. You can find Matthew on Facebook by adding him as a friend or following him on Twitter.
Annesi, J. 2000. Retention crisis? Exercise dropouts and adherents. Fitness Business Canada (July-August): 6-8.
Catanzaro, J. (2004, April 15). Stretching for Strengthening, Part I. Retrieved from http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/stretching_for_strengthening_part_i;jsessionid=D100A48E3A8C16A78E0BCB3B0B55506E-mcd01.hydra