The following tips appeared in the Herald-Times’ InStride Magazine
The Mag 7 Race Series partnered with InStride Magazine to offer tips from area runners which may be useful in assuring you get the most out of your run or walk.
Jo Throckmorton, co-director, Mag-7 Race Series: Most people hate the term “training” when it comes to recreational running and walking. It sounds hot, sweaty, hard and always taking place near some guy with a stopwatch who keeps yelling to “pick it up!” Maybe calling it “self-improvement” or even “health maintenance” might make it better. My primary training tip is to embrace all the aspects of running. There are always going to be really good days, and a few bad ones. Sometimes it will be hard, sometimes it might hurt a little bit, but almost always the outcome is worth it. If you run, you are a runner, no matter how fast. Embrace that truth, be proud of it, and remember, life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Lance Daugherty, 66, over 20 years running experience: Don’t time your runs unless you’re doing interval training, etc. If you can, leave your watch at home and run the way you feel. Enjoy your surroundings and the run. If possible, run with a friend or group that runs at your pace. It makes your runs more enjoyable and will help keep you motivated. If new shoes don’t feel comfortable when you try them on in the store, don’t buy them. They will only be more uncomfortable when you run in them.
Melissa Hartley, 36, 3rd Place Overall Female in 2010 Mag7 Series: My suggestion to anyone starting out with running for the first time would be to run every other day, not every day. Running every day is a sure way to get burnt out quickly! Cross training on your off days is a smart choice. When running, start out slow, control your breathing, and increase your speed and mileage when you feel comfortable. If running with someone else, you should be able to carry on a conversation without getting all out of breath. Running without music is a great stress reliever! I enjoy listening to the sounds of nature during my runs.
Vinnie Carpenter, 50, walker in the Mag 7 and training for a mini-marathon: I suggest when starting a training program for walking or running, make sure to protect your feet from injury by selecting the right shoe. Take the time to research the brand that’s right for you, and remember: allow additional room for expansion during heavy activity. Walking requires coordination of all muscle groups, so switch up the cardio routine with some strength training focused on the core and arms to improve endurance and energy levels.
Brian R. Murer, president of Bloomington Sports & Wellness: To stretch or not to stretch is the question. There are studies questioning the benefits of stretching. I suggest doing walking lunges before and after a run. With good pre and post run benefits they can be done quickly. They prepare the joints in the foot, ankle, and hip pre run. They gently help return the body to the multi-planar world we live in after the run with their balance component since running is mostly done in the front to back plane. 10 lunges on each leg should be done pre and post run. As your flexibility, strength and balance improve the depth of the lunge will get lower. Your opposite arm of the forward lunging leg moves forward. The foot must be flat on the ground. Landing on the ball of the foot will not only make this exercise ineffective, but it invites other injuries. Always make sure that the lunge is wide enough so that the knee cap does not go in front of the big toe.
Eugene Hopkins, walker and mini-marathon participant: It is ironic I wear a shirt that says ‘Running Sucks’ since I am a speed walker and sometimes pass runners on the course. I walk for my health and well-being. On Jan. 11, I set a goal of losing 70 pounds and completing a half marathon by June. I have achieved both those goals and more. I have surpassed the weight loss goal and I did two half marathons in May. When I am walking it is just me, the iPod and the pavement. It is a mental battle to get to that next cross street, mile marker or in some cases, the next tree, and to do it quicker than I did the last time. I have combined a well-rounded low-carb, high-protein diet with high-impact cardio, which is new for me, in addition to the walking. It was the best decision I made to improve my well-being, both personally and professionally.
Becky Appelman, 65: It is never too late to start running or walking! I began at age 57. Participating in an organized program will increase your contact with others whose goal is to exercise and be healthy. Looking forward to being with special friends keeps me coming back every week.