I hope you are having a fabulous week! This week has been really exciting for me because we are officially in Spring, which means we are closer to summer! Living in San Diego usually makes me feel like we are always in spring, but this winter brought WAY too much rain and I am still trying to recover from it. I am also really excited because I got new running shoes this week. With all my training lately, I was at the point where I needed and got a new pair of Asics GT-2000’s.
This made me realize that I didn’t talk much about shoes or any next steps after actually getting into running on my last running blog. So, I created this blog for those who are starting to run more often (although it doesn’t have to be long distances), and want to avoid injuries and perfect the craft. I used to run half marathons and hurt my knees, right ankle, IT band and my hip was even affected at one point because of the constant injuries and over-work. From personal experience, the points below really mattered to me and I hope they can help you on your journey as well. That said, learn from my mistakes and don’t get hurt, increase your pace and feel the runner’s high!**
Tips to avoid injury
- Get good shoes – I mentioned above that I just got a new pair of shoes. This was after wearing the WRONG running shoes for a long time. I went to my local Road Runner store so they could “Test” my step and tell me more about the shoe that is recommended for my foot. It was an eye opener to find out that there were other shoes aside from Nike training shoes with a ton of cushion, support and breathing for my feet. Every person is different, but the super cushion-y shoes work for me, while low profile shoes work for others. Ultimately, the personalized assessment taught me so much and I have been buying these Asics ever since! The shoes at the store tend to be slightly more expensive than the shoe from the brand, but it is worth getting them there the first time then get them directly from the brand, or their outlet like I do, and save money on a future pair. On top of learning about the fact that I was wearing the wrong shoes, I also found out I was wearing the wrong size. Yup, I was wearing 2 SIZES too small. Can you believe it?! My poor feet were dying in my shoes. The thing is.. When running, your feet expand because they are swelling from the strain you are adding to them, as well as we retaining water. Of course you need to wear bigger shoes!! Another HUGE eye-opener for me. Lesson learned: when buying shoes make sure that you buy them larger than you normally wear tennis shoes to allow your feet to expand. I buy them 1.5 sizes larger, but the specialist at the running store can advise you best.
- Stretch and roll – This sounds basic, but I wasn’t doing it. I would go for a run and feel so good then go about my day. Big no-no! Make sure you spend AT LEAST 3-5 minutes stretching after your run! Part of the cool down process is also walking, so if you have been running really fast, make sure that you are walking and stretching right after. I also try to roll the nights that I run (if not more often). You can get a roller in so many places nowadays, but I love mine because it is a textured one. Believe it or not, rolling is painful. The pain is needed though, because it helps break down any kinks n your muscles and helps circulation. If you have never rolled before, you can learn how to use a roller in this guide. Rolling is essential. PRO TIP: If you are really ramping up the miles, icing your ankles, knees and hips can provide comfort. Make sure to do intervals of time so that your areas don’t get too numb.
Tips to get faster and increase endurance
- Track your distance and time – There are SO many ways to do this. I started by using my phone to take a picture of my distance on the treadmill, then used the Nike run app for outdoor runs and now I use my Apple watch. Whatever method you use, it is important to track your progress. Why? You can track you improvements and motivate yourself by seeing how much faster you are getting with your runs. Not only that, you can also see how your runs differ if you start incorporating hills and other new obstacles on your run. Trackers provide an overall big picture on how you are doing over a long period of time and you will be amazed by yourself and how awesome you are.
- Run 3 times per week – Consistency is key. You want to ensure that you are giving your body enough runs to continue to improve that one sport. You also want to make sure that you aren’t running too much at the beginning where your body is feeling fatigued. This ties into what I already said with tracking your runs because you will want to see how your runs are improving over time. As you become a stronger runner, you can increase it, but 3 is a good starting point.
- Control your breathing – This was the game-changer for me. Once you learn how to control your breathing, you will find that you have so much more control over your runs. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you are consistently just breathing through one vs the other, then you will get really tired and/or require more water. By focusing on your breathe and controlling it, you can also lower your heart rate in times of stress and exhaustion. Personally, when I am really tired and/or running really fast, I try to hold my inhale just a tiny bit longer and exhale a little longer, for 3 repetitions, so that I relax my blood pumping and my minid. As I have ventured to other sports, I have found that breathing is different for them and mastering your breathing pattern and technique is key.
- Control you water intake – Stay hydrated, but don’t over-hydrate! This is a hard balance to maneuver! When I first started off, I would drink too much water and get stomach aches under my ribs. My body would slow down and I would be in pain. This was a sign of too much water. I found that the nipple of your water bottle really makes a difference. My preferred water bottle has a controlled nipple and is small enough to carry in my hand. It also has a small pocket so I can add my key and phone in there as well. When I first started, I would try to sip water every mile, and try not to drink unless I really needed it. Now, I make sure to drink 8-16 oz of water 15-30 minutes prior to my run. During my run, I wait 30 minutes for my first sip of water, then drink every mile from there. As you get more comfortable with your style you will find what is appropriate and what makes you feel hydrated, but doesn’t hurt you or has you using the bathroom every 5 minutes.
I am curious to hear from you! How are these tips working for you? What else are you interested in learning more about, or what tips have worked for you that I can learn from?
**Please remember that I am not a Certified Personal Trainer, or physician. This is strictly based on my personal experience and preference. You should consult with your physician for expert and personalized advice.