Spring Training: Running
Posted: April 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm, Last Updated: April 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Spring is finally here! What better way to enjoy the weather than going outside for a run? Running may seem basic, but there are actually many factors to consider if one plans on logging some miles this year. Let’s cover some of the basics to help you enjoy your run.
Shoes: Purchasing running shoes is literally where the rubber hits the road. A good pair of shoes increases comfort and can help prevent injuries. The process can be overwhelming, so do your research and get properly fitted by a sales associate. How long should a pair of shoes last? Generally you should be replacing your shoes every 300-400 miles or every six months. It is also important to consider what type of surfaces you will run on.
Warm up and Cool-down: Each run should begin with a warm-up and end with a cool down. The warm up raises the temperature of the muscles for optimal flexibility and efficiency. It also serves to slowly raise your heart rate, which helps minimize the stress on your heart. On average, your warm up should last between 5-10 minutes. The importance of the cool down is to maintain good blood flow and to allow the heart rate to gradually return to resting levels. The cool down should also last about 5-10 minutes.
Stretching: Stretching is something that should be done every time you run. When practiced properly, stretching can help prevent injuries, reduce muscle soreness, and has the potential to improve performance. One way to do this is to implement dynamic stretching into your warm up routine. Examples of dynamic exercise are walking lunges, hurdle walks, high knees, and T walks. When you finish your run, be sure to utilize a foam roller. Regular usage increases flexibility, decreases muscle tension, and helps prevent injuries. After rolling, finish up by performing some static stretching to give your body that final stretch.
Running in warm weather: The key is to stay hydrated. Water is pivotal to your body’s ability to function. Exercise performance is impaired when the body is dehydrated by as little as 2percent of the body weight. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, during, and after your run.
The next thing to consider is keeping cool. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that will allow your body to breathe and cool itself down naturally. If possible, a run early in the morning or later in the evening is a good option to avoid the heat.