Getting back to running

Getting back to running?

It’s the time of year when you start hearing about spring and summer walk/run events, and you think … “I should train for one this year.” Or maybe you are a seasonal runner, and with a few warmer days sneaking in, your motivation is rising.

Here are some tips for resuming or ramping up your running!

Starting from scratch?

You can find suggestions online with proposed running schedules. Here are a few examples:
Mayo Clinic – 7 weeks to 5K
Couch to 5K

What to wear?

In that awkward temperature when you feel chilly without a coat but then the sun comes out, your whole world (run) changes. Layering is key! If the temperature is still on the colder side where you live (or the time of day you’re running), layers will maintain body heat and allow sweat to transfer through the layers. Start with a wicking layer close to your body. It is suggested to not wear cotton for this layer. For a second layer, try something thicker like fleece. You may also want a layer for wind and water resistance (something that zips up and down.)

Once you are running in over 40 degrees, depending on your personal comfort, you can get away with a long-sleeve wicking shirt. It is important to keep your upper body warm, so adding a vest if you are colder-natured is a helpful way to stay warm (and one with pockets will come in handy!)

Don’t forget about your head. You tend to lose 10% of your body heat through your head when it’s cold outside, so bring a running cap or head wrap to stay warm if it is under 40 degrees outside.

Check out this handy guide to figuring out what to wear by plugging in your personal information and the weather conditions on Runners World!

Safety First

Once you’re all dressed and laced up, make sure that you have done the following:

  1. Let someone know where you are going (family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, etc.) and how long you anticipate being out.
  2. Bring an ID, cell phone, and some cash in case of an emergency.
  3. If you’re running when it’s dark, wear something reflective.
  4. Run against traffic.
  5. Be on the lookout for ice or snow in shaded areas.
  6. Avoid wearing headphones.
  7. Follow pedestrian signals properly, using caution at crosswalks even when you are alerted to proceed.    

Cross Training

Strength training is important to protect your joints. “I try to incorporate a total-body strength workout several days a week. I like to start with lower-body intervals of squats and lunges using weights or just body weight. Then core, chest, back, biceps, triceps, calves, and shoulders, and of course finish with stretching,” says acac Group Exercise Instructor Chris Collins.

Rest Days are important to reduce the risk of injuries, such as shin splints or stress fractures. Rest days will also give your joints recovery time from the pounding. On your rest days, your muscles will have time to repair and even strengthen, so by resting you may actually improve your overall running performance!

Other Cardio is encouraged if you can’t get outside but you don’t want to hit the treadmill. Try a cycling class or other type of aerobic exercise class to get your heart rate up and have some fun!

Click the location below for your area’s group class schedule.

Charlottesville | Eagleview | Hunt Valley | Midlothian | Short Pump | Timonium | West Chester 

Remember to add fuel

Eating healthy as you get back into running is essential for supporting your exercise, staying on top of hunger, and maintaining energy throughout the day.

Drink!
Hydration becomes especially important when you resume a running routine. Losing even a small amount of body fluid (ie. 1-3% of body weight) can affect your training.  Drink water or other fluids before and after you exercise. If you run for more than a half-hour, consider drinking water, even sips, during exercise.

Eat!
It’s smart to eat something before a run, especially if it’s been more than a few hours since your last meal or snack. “Try to eat primarily carbohydrates, as they are quickly digested. A piece of fruit, granola bar, piece of toast, bowl of cereal, or some crackers before a run will supply you with ready fuel and top off stored energy in the muscles, especially if you hit the road or gym in the morning,” says Kris Bonham, acac Nutrition Coach and Registered Dietitian.

After your run, you should aim for a snack that is balanced with protein and carbohydrates. The post-run snack will help your body repair the muscle tissues and replenish glycogen stores. Some examples of post-run snacks might include peanut butter and banana on toast or rice cakes, a protein shake with banana, yogurt with fruit, or tuna on crackers.

If you are looking for an event to use as your training goal, check your local events calendar, or check out active.com

Sources include:
http://running.about.com/od/coldweatherrunning/a/wintergear.htm
http://www.active.com/running/articles/6-running-safety-tips
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/snacks/low-calorie/after-workout-snacks/