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In the immortal words from Walt Stack famed senior-citizen distance runner "Start slow … and taper." At first keep your runs short and slow to avoid injury and soreness so you do not quit. If you are breathing too hard slow down or walk a bit until you feel comfortable again. Pick your route close to home (out your front door)—the more convenient it is the better chance you will have sticking with it. Find a beginner training plan your first race. Set realistic short term and long term goals. Keep a training diary. Soreness one to two days after a run is normal (delayed onset muscle soreness). No amount of money spent on gadget training programs or funny food can substitute for minutes, hours, days and weeks on the road. There’s no shame in walking. Subscribe to a running magazine or pick up a book or two on running. Four laps around the local the high school track equals one mile. Lift weights. It’s okay to take walk breaks (run 1 minute walk 1 minute then progress to run 10 minutes walk 1 minute etc.). Vary your training routes. This will prevent boredom and prevent your body from getting acclimated. Speed work doesn’t have to be scientific. Try racing to one light post and then jogging to the next. Push through rough spots by focusing on the sounds of your breath and feet touching the ground. Do speedwork after you develop an endurance base. Practice running harder in the last half of your runs.
Do abdominal breathing to get rid of side cramps or "stitches." If you can’t find the time to run, take your running gear to work. Run on trails if at all possible. It will be easier on your body and you’ll love it. Build rest into your schedule. Rest is just as important of an element as exercise in your fitness plan. Forgive yourself. Over-ambitious goals usually lead to frustration and giving up on your fitness plan. If you miss a goal or milestone let it go and focus on the next opportunity to get it. Mix-up your training plan. Make sure your training plan is not too heavily focused on one thing. No matter what level of runner you are your training plan should include four essential elements: endurance speed rest cross-training.
When you run under ~90 minutes, most of your energy comes from stored muscle glycogen. If you're running for longer than 90 minutes, the sugar in your blood and liver glycogen become more important because your stored muscle glycogen gets depleted. Consider experimenting with power gels. Fueling with carbs during your longer runs will prevent you from running out of energy and help boost your performance.
Well, about how much fuel is recommended? A basic rule of thumb is that you should be taking in about 100 calories after about an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 40-45 minutes after that. You may need more depending on your size and speed, so make sure you carry an extra one or two gels (or other food). Best to experiment during our training runs then wait until race day! What you eat while running depends on your own preferences. Many runners like to fuel with energy gels or chews because they're easy to carry and digest.
You should be running anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds per mile slower than your marathon or half marathon goal pace. This is very important. You are actually teaching your muscles to conserve fuel, even at the shorter distances, by running too fast defeats this purpose and may unnecessarily tear down your muscles, compromising not only your midweek workouts, but the following week's long run. Save your fast running for the track! There are plenty of days during the rest of the week, when you can run race pace. Do your long runs at a comfortable pace, one that allows conversation without effort, and pay attention to your pace. This process can make or break your marathon!!!!
Wear spandex shorts under your regular running shorts so you don’t chafe. Cotton socks will only lead to blisters; invest in socks designed for running. Buy running clothes you look good in and that will motivate you to run. Buy new running clothes at the end of the season when stores dump the old season’s line. Think clearance!
Remember to say "Thank You!" to race volunteers (e.g. when you get that cup of water at the aid station) and family and friends who support you. Conscientiously share the trail with walkers, bikers and other runners. Always try to balance running with the people you love by making a schedule that involves and is considerate of everyone. Don’t carry loose change. It will annoy those who are running with you. Don’t neglect and irritate your family and friends by spending all your time running and talking about running.
Sign up for a race as soon as you feel up to it. Find a committed running partner. It is much harder to skip a run when you have someone else depending on you. Remember that you will have plateaus in your progress and tough days along the way. It gets easier. Accept and appreciate the fact that not every single run can be a good one. Be prepared to remove the words "can’t" and "never" from your vocabulary. "Do not compare yourself to others. Run within yourself and for yourself first. Don’t expect every run to be better than the last one; some of them will hurt. Don’t think too much about it or you won’t do it. Even a bad run is better then no run at all. If you normally run with music try skipping it and listening to your feet to hear your pace and your gait. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience weight loss immediately.
Buy the powdered sports drink mix instead of premixed. It’s cheaper and more similar to race drink mixes. Each pound you lose makes running a little easier. Hydrate. Make it a habit to drink water throughout the day. If you are running very long distance drink enough electrolytes (e.g. Gatorade). On long runs eat something every hour—whether you feel like it or not. During longer runs if you don’t like to carry water take some cash in your pocket pouch or a shoe wallet. Run a route where there’s a corner store that you can use as a pit stop to pick up your water and maybe use the bathroom. Avoid eating spicy foods before running and the night before your long runs. To aid recovery the most crucial time to eat and drink is in the hour immediately after you run.
Use Vaseline or BodyGlide wherever things rub. They will help prevent blisters and chafing (guys don’t forget the nipples). Do not increase your mileage more than 10 percent per week. Guys: Band-Aids before the long runs. Your nipples will thank you in the shower afterwards. Log your mileage for your legs and your Shoes. Too much on either will cause you injury. If you are prone to shin splints and lower leg pain try running soft trails for your Training runs and save the asphalt for race day. Do not run two hard days back-to-back. Ice aches and pains immediately. Pay attention to your form. Try to run lightly to minimize impact that could lead to injury. Cut your Training by at least 30 percent to 50 percent every 4th or 5th week for recovery. When trail running don’t forget the bug spray. Neosporin (or another antibiotic cream) is good for chafed areas (if you didn’t use your BodyGlide!). Make sure you cut your toenails short enough so they don’t jam into your Shoes! Put some BodyGlide between your toes on long runs. Be careful about running on paths that force you to run consistently on a slant. It’s hard on the hips knees and IT bands. Don’t stretch before a run. Warm up by walking briskly or jogging slowly for several minutes. Do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Do not use the hot tub after a race. It will increase inflammation and hinder healing. Frozen peas make a great ice pack for aches and pains. A thin t-towel wrapped around them makes the cold more comfortable.
Race day is not the day to try new shoes, eat new foods, or wear brand new clothing. Do not try a marathon as your first race. For races longer than 5k start out slower than you think you should. If you conserve your energy during the first half of a race, you can finish strong. When you pick up drinking cups at aid stations, squeeze gently so it folds slightly and is easier to drink from it while you are moving. A plastic garbage on race day is a very fashionable cheap disposable raincoat.
Be aware of cyclists approaching you from behind and try to keep to the right. Try to pay special attention when running with music. Run facing traffic. Never assume a car sees you. Give horses wide berths on trails and walk as you pass them unless you enjoy a hoof to the melon. Always carry I.D. because you just never know.
Try shoes on in the afternoon when your feet are bigger. Doubleknot your shoe laces so they will not come undone when you run. Buy yourself some actual running shoes from an actual running store because running in junk "sneakers" will destroy your feet and your legs. Get assessed for the right kind of running shoes.
Dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than the temperature on the thermometer. Wear sunscreen and a hat when the sun is beating down—even in winter.
Run early in the morning or later in evening to avoid mid-day heat. In the winter dress in layers (coolmax or other technical clothing) and wear a headband over your running hat to cover your ears. For colder climates invest in socks rated to 40 below (usually found in sport/ski shops). To keep cool in hot weather soak a bandana in cold water wring it out a bit and tie it loosely around your neck. For hot weather fill your water bottle about half way lay it at an angle in the freezer and just before you head out for your run top it off with more water.