Curvy Chick Fitness Guide to Running. Your Heart Will Thank You Later.
by Celebrity Fitness Instructor Charity Lynette
Hello everyone! A healthy heart is a very important factor in living a long life. Understanding how movement can change your life, and reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure is an integral part of daily life. I really wanted to put together a guide to help everyone with beginning their running or walking experience. It is important to know, even if you are not actually running, that the same concepts will apply if you are power walking. So, I will always be referring to both and point out the difference if needed–you still need proper footwear, apparel, etc. Let me share with you some things that will help you get started with your journey.
If you are new to working out and running, you may need to speak to a physician, because as much as you want to do certain exercises, you may not be able to. You need to make sure you are cleared to participate in certain workouts. Especially, if you are over 40 and not used to working out, or more than 20 lbs. overweight.
Every great workout and new routine begins with the proper shoes. If you are not sure if the shoe you are in is good for you, then try your best to get to the closest running store. Even if you think you have the proper shoe, it never hurts to make sure! Jack Rabbit is a great place to go, because they do a gait analysis (watching you run) and record it so that you can see exactly what is going on with your feet. From that footage, they can recommend the best shoe for you. Jack Rabbit is a great resource in general because the majority of the staff are runners and get taught the technical breakdown of most shoes, as well as running nutrition, apparel, and recovery options. Just remember, don’t let someone recommend a shoe to you without watching and recording you running or walking.
You might think that you can just wear whatever while you run/workout, but the truth is dri-fit is best. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet, and while you are running, you don’t need clothing weighing you down. The same thing goes for socks. Cotton socks can give you blisters while running. You want synthetic socks that wick dry, so your feet stay dry. Running socks also don’t lose their shape, so they won’t slide down into your shoe the way cotton socks do when they get over-stretched. I honestly thought some of this running stuff was a bunch of hoopla until I tried it out myself. I literally cannot run in anything other than dri-fit clothing. Don’t believe me? Do a test run in different material and see how it feels. Also, be aware of temperature especially when working out in the winter. Keeping a running journal is helpful in the beginning. Keeping track of temperature and what you were wearing, especially in the winter, will come in handy when trying to figure out how many layers you need for what temperature.
Now that you are correctly, fitted lets talk about actually running. Scheduling runs is going to be key to holding yourself accountable. If you want to start running to add something different to your workout routine, then how long you run won’t be as important. If you are not thinking about entering races, then just run when you can. But if you are going to enter a race of 10k, which is 6.2 miles, then you may want to think about a more strict running schedule. My piece of advice for scheduling runs is to try and carve out 3 days of 30 minutes to dedicate to running, whether it is morning or evenings. I can testify to preferring morning runs. I personally can’t run with too much food in my system, so in the morning I have much better results and no cramping. Try to be a little more realistic when starting any new exercise regime. Going from no days a week to 5 days a week is most likely not going to happen. Take your time and ease into it. As you progress in your running/walking cross training, is going to be something that is essential to running. Cycling, weights, and even yoga are great components that you can add to the routine. Recovery is extremely important, and you need to have adequate rest days. Foam rolling, stretching, and off days need to be incorporated into the routine as well.
I have added the “Couch to 5k” training schedule. This is the one I felt the most helpful when I started running. “Couch to 5k” is a program that will help you go from an actual couch to a training schedule that will get you ready to run your first 5k which is 3.1 miles. Another helpful tip is to use your current ability as markers for when to walk and jog. For example, if you can only run/jog for 45 seconds at a time, use that as a marker. So, jog for 45 seconds and walk for 45 seconds or longer if you need to, but the key is to alternate from jogging and walking at your level for a period of time. This is also called interval training. When you can jog longer, do so. If you are interval training a few days a week for 30 minutes, those 45 seconds will lead to a minute, a minute and a half, and so on. Running is about your own progression no one else’s. If you are a walker, you will want to alternate between power walking and a slower walking pace. Soon, that power walking will turn into a jog. I promise. You just have to keep at it.
A few key things to remember before you begin are first knowing why you are starting this. It’s something you can reflect back on when you are feeling discouraged. Second, you are your own competition. Just try to focus on getting better and beating your own time. Third, find a way to keep yourself accountable, whether it’s using an app or finding a workout partner. Try considering running/walking as an outlet, and something your body needs and wants ,no matter how sore you may get, versus a chore that you hate. Most importantly, have fun and listen to your body. There is a difference between being sore and an injury. When knees and ankles are in long-term pain or swollen, that is something that should be checked out by a physician.
Good Luck with your journey, and keep me posted with all your running activities highs and lows by using the hashtags #ccfrunners #curvychicksrun.