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Hitting The Pavement - Tips For Getting Into Running Shape

Posted Aug 23 2010 11:08am
I find getting in “running shape” one of the hardest things to do.

Running my first half marathon
When I run I like to push myself (which seems like a good thing), but I find that when I finally decide to begin the challenge of getting into running shape I push it too hard too soon. I head off on that first run and pass the two mile mark and feel pretty good, and my internal running buddy is saying “come on…two more miles is easy – keep it going!”… this internal buddy is making a huge mistake though.

The next day I wake up stiff and sore - I had definitely gone too far too early. I would then find myself not going on another run for a couple of weeks while my body recovered and it ended up defeating my goal of getting into running shape. I have been in great running shape before - I finished a half marathon, a triathlon and was even running sub six minute miles - but I haven't been able to get my running base back for a long time.

This last spring I decided I wanted to start running again and I knew I had to do something differently with my training routine since it hadn’t been working. I took a whole new approach and it really helped. Below are a few tips that I incorporated into my running and for the first time in years I can finally say I am back in running shape!
1. Don't go the distance! If you push yourself too hard the first time, you will not be back out there the next day or the day after. SLOWLY build your mileage up. I started with a quick two mile route and worked on mastering that route instead of adding mileage right away. That way it becomes easier to add the next mile and the mile after that.

2. Rookies can walk - If you have never run before, start with walking at a brisk pace and then slowly add in the running. If you see a stop sign 100 yards in front, tell yourself to run to the stop sign. Slowly start pushing yourself a bit further and before you know it you will no longer be a rookie!

3. Recovery is key - Don’t forget to stretch and cool down after your run. It will make it you feel so much better the next time you head out on your run.

4. Go shoe shopping - Have the proper shoes when you run (if you are trying to get in shape you NEED the correct equipment). All of our feet are different and that means we all can’t wear the same shoes. A lot of injuries occur from having the wrong or worn out shoes. The best thing to do is get a GAIT analysis of your feet so your shoes work WITH your feet when you run. Check where a sports store near you does Gait analysis. It is usually free, and my favorite place is Roadrunner Sports .

Throw out your old runners

5. Grab your iPod - There is nothing more motivating than great music when you are out hitting the pavement. Put together a running playlist and listen to it when you are out. Upbeat and fun music will have you running faster and longer – guaranteed! A little Lady GaGa always works for me.

6. Sign up - Sign up for a local 5k or 10k run. This is a great goal for you to work towards and there nothing better than the "high" you feel after completing one of these races.

7. Take your Pooch - I run with my crazy Lab puppy. She makes me run and walk faster than I would without her while also having a great time together. She also acts as a motivator when I’m too tired after work – those puppy eyes just beaming at me as I lay on the couch screaming "let’s go out for a run lazy bum!"

8. Cross Train- Running is great exercise but it can also take a lot out of our bodies. Remember to cross train with things like weight training, walking, group exercise classes, and/or yoga – these all help with your running routine. Remember to take a rest day from running – however use these rest days to add other forms of exercise into your routine (yoga, stretching etc).

9. ALL about YOU! Running is a great form of meditation. Use this as "your" time. Get into your zone and forget about all the crazy stuff you left at the home or office. I find I come up with some great ideas when I am out running! Have fun and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!

Hope these tips help you next time you decide to get in running shape.
What helps you when you hit the pavement or the track?
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