Many people come into the store and ask me how to get started with a running or walking routine. I first ask them, “What is your goal?” Are you doing this to lose weight or jumpstart a healthier lifestyle? Are you trying to challenge yourself and complete a certain goal race or do you just want to get out there for a set amount of time? Knowing their motivation behind starting a new fitness routine not only helps me understand the best way to help them, but gives them an opportunity to focus on why they want to do this.
Once we establish their goal, I like to give them a few tips on how to be successful with this new routine and have it become a lifelong commitment as opposed to something that they will give up in a few weeks. Here a few of the tips that I have found to be tried and true.
- Set Specific and manageable goals – Start slowly and work your way safely to your goal distance or pace. For example, plan to exercise for 20 minutes, three times a week for the first month. If you start out too hard too quickly, you will increase the risk of injury and burnout which will cause you to get discouraged and give up.
- Schedule your workouts – In today’s fast paced world, a great way to remind yourself to get your workout in is to schedule them on your calendar or smartphone. If you don’t, they can be quickly thrown to the way side when an unexpected work or family issue arises.
- Invest in a good pair of shoes – When you are running or walking, everything starts with your feet. If you do not have the proper gear on those feet, they will hurt and you will not want to use them. Go to a specialty running store and have a FIT specialist fit your properly. They have been trained to watch you walk and analyze your gait and understand the technology in the shoes.
- Find an accountability partner – This has been the biggest motivator for me personally. Running with people is more fun and makes the time go by faster! If you know that someone is depending on you and striving for a similar goal, it will motivate you.
- Make sure a proper warm up, cool down and stretching is part of your routine -The warm-up is aimed at reducing muscle stiffness in order to decrease the chance of injury. Five to 10 minutes of walking will increase body temperature, oxygen utilization and blood flow to your muscles. When done with your run, try to resist the urge of stopping without a cool down. A proper cool down will help dissipate waste produces (such as lactic acid) from your body which should help reduce muscle soreness. A good cool down should consist of the following:
- 5 to 10 minutes of walking – to decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles
- 5 to 10 minutes of static stretching exercises – to decrease body temperature, remove waste products from the working muscles to increase range of movement
Static stretches are important to the cool down, as they help muscles to relax and increase their range of movement.
In my opinion, setting yourself up for success is the most important thing you can do when starting a running or walking routine. Once you get that established, the rest will come. For more tips please do not hesitate to contact me at training@fleetfeetsarasota. com, I would LOVE to help you!
As you get out there and start to surround yourself with “runners,” you may start to hear some new terms. So you can be ahead of the game and understand their lingo, here are some of those funny words you may start to hear:
- PR- Personal record
- Fartlek Workout – Swedish for “speed play;” variable pace running; a mixture of slow running, running at a moderate pace and short, fast bursts. Fartlek training is a “creative way” to increase speed and endurance
- Bonk – The dreaded point (and awful feeling similar to what your body would feel like if you ran into a wall) during a race when your muscle glycogen stores become depleted and a feeling of fatigue engulfs you.
- Runner’s high – A feeling, usually unexpected, of exhilaration and well-being directly associated with vigorous running; apparently related to the secretion of endorphins.
- Taper: Runners usually cut back mileage (or taper) one day to three weeks (depending on race distance) before a big race. Tapering helps muscles rest so that they are ready for peak performance on race day.
Whitney Bartlett is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 20 years’ experience. Her accomplishments in a variety of endurance events, from 5Ks to marathons, as well as adventure races and triathlons has prepared her to lead a wide range of fitness abilities.