Spring is finally upon us! The days are longer and the sun shines more often. It’s this time of year many people get back into running or start up for the first time. Too often we see patients who have the exact same situation that leads them into our clinic. They bought a pair of running shoes that looked good and just started running. But sometimes they push too far too fast. A few simple concepts can help you begin your running journey without major setbacks.
First thing any runner needs to do is to start with the right shoe. Are you going to run on the roads? Are you going to run on trails? What sort of mileage will you be doing each week?
A store that specializes in running shoes is a logical spot to find the best shoes for your specific foot type. Our favorite local running store is the Balanced Athlete at the Renton Landing. Top to bottom they have the best trained staff and always help you find the right shoe. There are other good options depending on where you live. Here is a link to a list of some other Seattle area running shoe stores. At least at first, we do not recommend that you order running shoes online since it is so important to try them out and have someone help you select the best option for you.
Once you have found the right pair of shoes it’s time to start thinking about training. Slow, steady, and consistent is the concept you want to think about when building a running base. To start with, use duration and not distance. So use minutes instead of miles. The reason for this is that it’s easier to stick to minutes and not push too far too quickly. If you have never run before, I recommend starting with a walk/run interval starting with 20-30 minutes total. The beginning interval should ideally start at walking 2 minuets and running 1 minute. Then working over the next 3-4 weeks building up to where you are running 2 minutes and walking 30 seconds, eventually building up to where you can run for 30 minutes without the walking intervals. If you need to continue with the walking intervals, then by all means do so. During this time period, you want to track the miles you run so when you are finished with the first month of intervals you will have a good starting point to then transfer from using minutes into mileage.
We always recommend people pick a running event such as a 5K race to work towards. This will give you a tangible goal to work towards and achieve. Nothing is worse than a vague goal that’s hard to pin down. Once you choose an event then it’s time to start planing your runs. Some people get caught in what is commonly called the “black hole” of training. What this means is that you are working out just hard enough to feel it, but not hard enough to produce adaptation and continue improving. Take for example a three day a week running program. You won’t want to run the same distance, time, and mileage each run. You have to vary your training in order to avoid boredom and also to continue progressing. Splitting your runs into pace, speed, and distance will challenge you and you should begin to see your runs getting faster and longer. But a word of caution: Never make a sudden increase in your mileage such as going from 2 miles to 8 miles one run to the next and also avoid suddenly adding a lot of difficulty such as hills or uneven surfaces. If you would like more information and for an in-depth analysis of your running form and training loads, schedule a full running analysis with us at Advance Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation where we will prepare you for your race event or just help keep you running injury-free.