Friday, May 3, 2013
2 Coach Corey's Corner: 15 Tips for a Long and Healthy Running Life
I know I still have to finish part 2 of that last article. It's currently sitting in draft form, and I'm sure I'll get to it at some point, but right now, I'd like to move on to another topic. I'm training a new client today who's relatively new to the sport and have given him a list of tips that I'd drawn up for this express purpose. (This is standard practice for new clients.) I thought I'd share that list here to help benefit others runners. Although the advice is geared towards newbies, experienced runners can benefit from it too. We all sometimes need reminders to refocus on the basics to help keep our running balanced and safe. :)
15 Tips from Coach Corey for a Long and Healthy Running Life:
1. Wear running sneakers, not tennis, crosstraining, walking, or basketball shoes, etc. Running sneakers are sports-specific for a good reason (i.e., to support/aid proper running motion, etc.). You can easily avoid a lot of injuries by wearing sports-specific shoes, and by running in the right running shoes for your feet and running gait. If you need guidance in this regard, check out the many articles I've written on this blog on how to determine your running gait and select the proper running shoes.
2. Replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles. Whenever possible, alternate running shoes to extend their life and help them retain their shock-absorbing capacity.
3. If you're going to run barefoot, take it slow when building up mileage. If you've never run barefoot before, your feet aren't going to be used to the differing running mechanics and the "wear and tear." Your feet need time to adapt, particularly since you are strengthening new areas of your feet that you haven't really used before, that is, until now.
4. Wear wicking, non-cotton socks and apparel (made of wool or synthetic fibers) to keep moisture away from your skin, which can help prevent chafing (mostly caused from perspiration and rubbing), blisters, and Athlete's Foot.
5. Protect yourself and your extremities in the heat and the cold. If exercising outdoors, dress properly for the weather (keep in mind your body warms up by approximately 20 degrees during running) and don't forget to wear UV skin protection. It's important to wear it all year round. The sun can still be strong in overcast weather.
6. Wear a head-lamp when running at night. Not being able to see your path can result in accidental injuries (from stumbling, tripping, falling, etc.). It's also a good practice as a general safety measure too. On that note, be sure to wear reflective gear as well.
7. Gently and slowly warm up before running and carefully do a warm stretch after the warm-up and also again, when you've finished. This will help to prevent post-exercise stiffness and injury.
8. Avoid getting gung-ho about your workouts: Resist the temptation to overdo it -- too much, too soon, too often, too fast, too hard, too little rest, etc.
9. Don't change things that are working, i.e., your training plan, running shoes, etc.
10. Increase mileage slowly and use the 10% rule as the maximum increase for mileage per week. If you're finding the increase particularly challenging or it's creating physical problems for you, drop your mileage by 5% every third week before resuming your mileage amount from the previous week to aid in recovery.
11. Take care of yourself: Get the proper sleep/rest, etc. Eat healthy foods in the correct portion amounts, and be sure to properly fuel and hydrate your body for exercise.
12. Inject some variety into your workout plan: Crosstrain for diversity, which helps you avoid burnout and overtraining, and for its physical fitness benefits, i.e., strengthening and also resting your non-running muscles.
13. Do full-body strength training 2-3 days per week, alternating with a recovery day in between any two strength training workouts. Or, if you work different areas of the body on different days, be sure not to work the same muscle groups on consecutive days. This is an area that's often neglected by runners, but if you strength train on a regular and consistent basis, it'll make you a better runner and will help prevent injury. Be sure to ramp up slowly and don't overdo it.
14. Don't neglect sports nutrition, particularly recovery nutrition: Consume a 4:1 carb to protein drink &/or meal within 15 minutes of finishing a workout, especially a long or hard one. Be sure to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise.
15. And last but not least, pay attention to your body. Don't ignore pain or foolishly try to push through it. Pain isn't the same thing as soreness; it's a signal that something is wrong. Rest when appropriate and go to a doctor if the pain persists.