Running 101: Simple Tips for Beginners
On August 20th, we’re thrilled to present the return of our annual Women’s Run and Walk in Vancouver. The event includes a 5km and 10km run/walk, as well as a half marathon, which is new this year.
Running is a great way to get outside and build your fitness. It’s an accessible activity to everyone, and you don’t need too much gear to get running. It also doesn’t require too much planning, and you can run in almost any weather condition. Even 30mins is enough time to get some great exercise in. You will feel great after running, and have more energy for the rest of the day.
If you’ve been thinking of getting into running or are already a runner looking for a way to improve your skills, you can benefit from our simple performance enhancing tips below.
Buy the right shoes
The most important thing is to have correct footwear.
Did you know that when you run, your hips, legs and feet absorb up to 8-times your body weight in force? Proper running shoes will cushion your feet evenly and help dissipate and absorb the impact. The right shoes will be designed for how your foot lands, or pronates when you run.
What is pronation, you ask? Well, pronation is a natural movement, and is used to describe the way your foot rolls on impact. Your foot will either roll inward, outward or be neutral, and understanding this will allow you to purchase the correct running shoes that support the way your foot lands. Running shoes are tailored specifically to accommodating this movement.
Everyone has different feet and movement, so we suggest going to a professional running store and getting a fitting. We really can’t overstate the importance of correct footwear. Your feet and knees will thank you, and you’ll be less prone to running-related injuries.
When you run, drink a sports drink, or add effervescent tablets to your water. Studies show that runners perform better by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water, on runs over 1hr. This is because these drinks contain much-needed carbohydrates, which allow your body to absorb fluid faster. They also contain electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, that help reduce cramps and nausea.
To stay comfortable on your run, you’ll need to dress appropriately. This means wearing the right clothing which keeps you dry. Stay away from cotton as it doesn’t dry when you sweat. Instead, wear clothes made from merino wool or polypropylene, as these wick moisture away from your body and dry quickly when wet. Merino wool has the added advantage of staying warm when wet, and is recommended for cooler weather.
Good running clothes includes a good sports bra, pants and shirt that dry quickly, a hat (a baseball style had works very well) and a thin windbreaker jacket incase it’s windy. Fitted clothing is the most comfortable, and there is a lot of choice in running clothing for women. Also, don’t forget running specific socks. A good running sock will have reinforced heel and toe and won’t bunch up when you run.
Don’t eat right before your run
Try to avoid eating a heavy meal or too much food right before running. Eat about an hour before you run, and allow your stomach to settle before you set off.
Join a running club
One of the best tools to stay motivated is to join a running club or have weekly planned runs with friends. Having other people around to motivate you is the key to help you reach your goals, and nothing beats the camaraderie of going on a run with your friends! People will be relying on you to show up. By making yourself accountable to other people will make it more likely you’ll go for that run instead of skipping it. If you’re just starting out, a women’s specific running group is a great way to begin.
Stretching is an important part of the process to improve your running performance. Be sure to stretch lightly right before you run, but the major stretch should come after, when your muscles are warmed up. Focus on your hamstrings, calves and glute muscles. To learn more, check out details on these stretches from Runner’s World.
Install a fitness app
These days, it’s so easy to keep track of your running with a fitness app on your smartphone. Strava is a popular choice but there are many others. Apps like “Runners World Go” will not only help you keep track of your runs, but help you build a personalized running schedule to help you build strength to reach your goals. Your phone can also double as music to listen to while you run. If you’re traveling, try MapMyRun, which helps you discover new routes great for running in places you’re not familiar with.
Set goals to build your fitness
Do you want to run a half marathon by the end of the summer? Set some small goals for yourself to slowly work up to your big target. For example, start with a 5-kilometer run or shorter, and every week increase that by a kilometer or two. Take walking breaks when you need to. Run 2-3 times per week, and time yourself on these runs to see your progress. Apps for running are really helpful to reach your goals.
Sign up for a race
Signing up for a race gives you something to work towards and is a great way to stay motivated. Most running races have a distance for everyone, from beginner to expert. So if you’re just starting out, sign up for a 5 km or even a walk.
Don’t forget to rest!
Rest is just as important as having proper running shoes. Make sure not to overdo it as you’ll get stronger by relaxing and not over-training. Your body will tell you when it has had enough, so make sure to listen to it and take appropriate rest days.
The day after a big run, your legs might be sore, so go for an easy walk to help relax and loosen the muscles. Taking a bath with Epsom salts helps muscle fatigue, such as our sports bath crystals and using sport massage butter to massage tired muscles, which contain arnica. Arnica is a therapeutic herb great for to soothing those aches and pains to help with muscle recovery.
Share your run progress with us by using #RMSCrun on your social posts so we can cheer you along.