Three steps to running success

Anyone can be a runner. Whether you run slowly, quickly, or only on sunny Wednesdays, you are a runner.

Three steps toward becoming a runner.

To run is to move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time.  You can probably already do that, at least with enough skill to get around a baseball diamond, or to catch a toddler trotting toward an unguarded staircase.  What you may not now be able to do, however, is run a long enough distance, or run frequently enough for your own liking.  Anyone can be a runner.  Whether you run slowly, quickly, or only on sunny Wednesdays, you are a runner.

There are many reasons to start running.  Since you are reading this article, you probably have a few reasons of your own. Running is relatively easy to get into- it requires little skill and special equipment.  Running is a great way to increase cardiovascular fitness, bone density and can be a great stress reliever.  It burn calories, helps you lose weight, and you can run just about anywhere- whether you’re at home or away on travels.  If you’re not into a regular running routine, and want to be, now is the perfect time to start.  You’re likely back to a regular routine after the summer, and the cool fall weather is more conducive to running outdoors.  Follow these three steps for running success!

Step 1: Get ready!  Before you lace up your shoes and hit the roads, do a little preparation.  If you are new to exercise, or if you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before you begin.  Once you have received the go ahead, set a specific, realistic and measurable goal for yourself.  Your goal may be, for example, to follow a specific run program three times per week, or to complete a 5-kilometer run in the spring.

Next, look at your shoes.  If the soles are worn thin, or you vaguely remember buying them a few years ago, it is definitely time for a new pair. If you have worn your shoes for more than six months, a new pair is recommended.  Do not choose your shoe based on the colours!   Instead choose a pair that is suitable for the way you run.  For example, some people are ‘neutral’ runners, and require a neutral shoe. Others over pronate and benefit from a shoe that offers more stability.  A running specific shoe store can offer you advice on which shoe is best for you.

Running clothes, such as tights, and flashy running tops are nice to have and will make your runs more comfortable.  If you’re on a budget though, invest first in the right pair of shoes.

Step 2: Follow a plan.  Create a personal running schedule.  Include when and where you will run, and for how long. Use your judgment to keep safe while running.  For example, if you run at night, wear bright clothing and run with a friend.

When it comes to running, it pays off to be the tortoise and take it slow.  Start with a walk to warm up.  Next, run for 30 seconds to a minute.  Make sure that you are able to keep up a conversation while you run.  Walk briskly for two to four minutes and repeat three to six times.  Walk again at the end to warm down.  Slowly increase the time spent running each week or at your own pace.  Remember to have fun!  Be sure to keep hydrated, and to listen to your body.  If you feel abnormally tired, or if you are sore, take a break.  It’s okay to take a rest day, even if it’s not planned.   UrbanEndo Runners in Garrison Crossing offers Learn to Run programs, as well as running programs for intermediate and advanced runners.

Step 3: Keep running!  Soon enough you will be comfortable running 20 minutes or more on a regular basis.  Now is and important time to keep motivated to keep running.  Change your running route regularly to keep your runs exciting.  Keep motivated by setting goals, running with a partner, training for a race, or joining a running club.  The Vedder Running Club welcomes runners and walkers of all abilities.

Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Coaching, a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals aim to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.