Hello SOTGC community,
Those of us who played sports trained with a coach, those who lift weights probably work with a trainer, but most of us who run, just do it.
Five years ago, I got into running again after the birth of my first child. Prior to that I had run consistently for a while, completed a 10k, but preferred bootcamp classes or playing volleyball. The goal this time was to work up to a marathon. I read about the training, but decided that logging in a ton of miles was not for me so my training consisted of a short run (three miles) and a long run (four-plus miles) every week. At the time, my friend suggested I also read Born to Run, which I found to be a great story and an inspirational read for a runner.
I completed two half marathons, but struggled with tight muscles and nagging ankle pain – I felt slow although I had improved my time. It wasn’t until I started lifting weights consistently, reading about running mechanics and focusing on a stronger core and muscular foundation that my running felt stronger, easier, faster, and lighter.
Here are the three lessons I learned about running:
1 – A strong core makes a huge difference – People tend to stick to core exercises they know. Change it up with this routine from ACE Fitness, which targets the stability of your entire core, including the shoulders and hips. If your arms need a rest, change one of the exercises to supermans or swimmers to work your back.
2 – Running mechanics matter – Start by being aware of the muscles that should be working when you’re running. If you are looking for a more in depth discussion on running form, here is a thorough one to get you started. There are many schools of thought but awareness goes a long way.
3 – Cross training is vital – Ideally you should be doing some kind of resistance work twice a week to complement your running. Even “cross training” within your running routine helps. Switch up how long your run, how fast you run and your incline. For example, a long slow run for about 40 minutes one day, 15 minutes of intervals or hills plus warm up and cool down another day, and a shorter tempo run for your third run.
Recent research continues to show benefits of running even if you are older. Whatever your running goals, set yourself up for success. Consider the lessons I learned and what you can learn from others, so that you can improve your running and take care of your body while doing it.
What’s your running story? Do you have a goal that you are working towards? What has changed your running for the better? A great exercise? An inspirational book? A particular race?
*Be smart, you know your body, so if you have any conditions or injuries, make the necessary modifications or ask a fitness professional first.