Running is very important to me. I have called myself a “runner” for over fifteen years now after having completed my first marathon in Quebec City on my 30th birthday back in 2005.
Since then, I have completed countless 5k’s, a dozen marathons, and even worked my way up to ultra-marathons — having completed a 50 miler and two 100k’s. I have met many great people through running and even met my wife at a running event in Fondren.
I always encourage people to take up running to see if they enjoy it or not. I find most people either hate it or take to it right away. In running, you really are only competing against yourself. How hard can you push yourself? How far are you willing to go? Can you make your goal by sticking to your training plan 100%? There are a lot of mental and physical hurdles one must face when trying to accomplish these goals – whether that be one mile or 50 miles, it is all relative.
If you do decide to give running a shot, or have already started, here are a few tips that might help you out along the way – good luck!
- It all starts with shoes – don’t go cheap and if possible, go to the local shoe store to talk to someone and get fitted properly in order to avoid injury. Fleet Feet in Ridgeland is an outstanding local option with true professionals.
- Invest in a smart watch. Tracking your metrics and progressions are crucial if you are really trying to improve your pace and cardiovascular efficiency. I recommend Garmin and start out with the more affordable option like the Forerunner 35 before you invest in the more expensive options.
- Find some running friends. Having an accountability partner is important, but it also is great to have someone to talk to while you knock out those miles, especially on longer runs. Music is good, as is simply enjoying a nice quiet run, but conversation can definitely help to pass the time.
- Focus on form.
I like to have at least one short run a week where I just concentrate on form. Here are a few tips for proper form that you can concentrate on during your runs:
- Your foot should land mid-foot and roll over; do not land on your heel. When you strike on your heel you are killing your momentum and also absorbing unnecessary impact on your joints. Running is nothing more than a long, controlled fall, so use your momentum to your advantage.
- Rotate around your core and keep your abs engaged. Rotating your body slightly around your core will give you extra momentum. Keep your arms loose and allow them to swing as you run, but do not “punch” with your fists. Keeping your abs engaged will help you build core strength and will also help to strengthen your breathing muscles which in turn will increase your lung capacity.
- Relax. Relax your arms, your hands, your neck and your face. Sometimes I catch myself running with my hands in tight fists and I have to remind myself to relax and enjoy the run. Otherwise, you will exert unnecessary energy that will eventually catch up to you.
- Drink plenty of water and don’t ignore nutrition. Make sure you have your own water or access to water wherever you plan on running. Dehydration will kill your performance and will also highly increase your potential for injury. For nutrition, do your research, always keeping in mind that what you eat is the fuel that will either push you to your goal or cause you to fall short.
Have fun and hope to see you out on the trails or around Jackson enjoying the sights, sounds, and cooler weather on your next run!