Tips for First-Time LearnToRun10K Participants
Can I do it? Am I too old, short, tall, heavy, skinny?
YES, you can do it! Let’s take a look at a local 10K event, the Vancouver Sun Run: Over 35,000 people participate in this race every year – which makes it a true testimony to the fact that almost anyone, regardless of their shape, size or age, can learn to run a 10K comfortably and safely!
- Be Patient.
The temptation is always to do too much, too fast and too soon…Walking and running are stressful activities on your body! Because there is impact with each step, the body needs time to adjust to the impact of walking or running. Blasting out the door for your first run in four years isn’t the best approach to achieve an improved level of fitness. Instead, give the gradual & progressive LearnToRun10K program a try. If at first it seems too easy, that’s good! By the end of each workout – you should always feel as if you could have done more.
- Stay Committed.
Make a personal decision to stick to the program. This means you’ll need to find the time to train 3 times per week. Use your phone or calendar to schedule your workout, the same way you would for any other important appointment. Make exercise a priority, just like work and family obligations – it will increase your commitment to your fitness goal.
- Buy Yourself a Good Pair of Shoes.
This is very important. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes that properly fit your foot type and walking or running gait. This will require a visit to your local specialty running/walking store. You’ll need to spend about 30-45 minutes to have a staff member find a shoe to fit your needs.
- What about Clothing?
Dress comfortably in athletic clothing. There are lots of great technical fabrics that wick moisture away from your body, which are comfortable and make you feel great. Remember, you don’t NEED to splurge on high-end technical clothes. It’s the shoes that are most important!
- Keep a Logbook.
Use your phone, agenda, or a logbook! Jot down your workouts and include a description of how you felt, and anything in your life that might have affected your workout. Refer to your logbook often. It will help you to stay motivated, track aches and pains, and it is a great way to monitor your progress.
- Slow Down.
It’s my experience that most people tend to push themselves too hard. Whether you are walking or learning to run, you should always be able to carry on a conversation with a friend. In the beginning, if you’re learning to run, I prefer the word “shuffle” to jog or run because at this point in your training you should feel as though you could walk as fast as you jog.
- Warm-Up and Cool-Down.
Be sure to begin each training session with an easy slower-paced warm-up and some dynamic stretches to increase your circulation. It’s equally important to finish with a slower-paced cool-down followed by some relaxed static stretches to help prevent injury.
- Find a Buddy.
You need support. Once and awhile, it can be motivating and fun to do your workout with a friend, group or a canine. Try to make sure that friend likes to move at about the same pace you do. Perhaps you can meet up with other program participants to complete the homework runs together!
- Vary the Places you Choose to Walk or Run.
Be creative! We tend to be creatures of habit, choosing the same routes each time. Find the quiet streets, beautiful parks and soft trails in your neighbourhood. Varied terrain will prevent injury as you alter the angles at which your limbs absorb impact. Exercising on softer surfaces is easier body and the variety will help to keep things interesting.
- Use your Arms.
Walking and running are the most natural things we do, and your personal technique will improve as you become stronger. Working on core strength will help as well. Generally, try to be tall, shoulders square, hold your stomach muscles strong, with all your movement in a forward direction. With walking you’ll have a strong heel-toe action. If you’re learning to run, your shuffle will place the weight more towards the mid-foot. Remember to use your arms! They dictate your pace. If you consciously think about pumping your arms, your legs will follow.
One last thing… Take care of yourself!
Consciously drink lots of water throughout the day.
Eat balanced healthy regular meals every day.
Be kind to yourself: If you’re feeling tired, or under-the-weather for whatever reason, choose a different workout day, or decrease your planned workout.
Remember…You’re making a great lifestyle change – Be proud of yourself, and SMILE!