Grand County, learn basics before starting to run for fitness |

Grand County, learn basics before starting to run for fitness

Over the next four weeks, this column will cover running training basics enabling you to safely, effectively and efficiently learn to run while avoiding injuries.

The first week the column will cover the equipment requirements and the importance of a warm-up and cool down to ensure safe and effective running experiences. In the three following weeks, a thorough beginner running training program will be presented. However, before beginning this or any other exercise program, check with your physician first to make certain it is safe for you to pursue an exercise program.

Step One-The Tools of the Trade

– Shoes are the most important piece of equipment for all physical activities on land. During running ground reaction forces of over two times your body weight can be produced. Consequently, to protect the joints of the body, the feet and spine, wearing the right shoe is crucial.

– Purchase a pair of running shoes from a knowledgeable service-oriented shoe store, preferably one that specializes in running shoes. If you have special needs due to fallen arches, or other foot problems, you may need to consult a podiatrist.

– Clothing is also important. For outdoor running, wearing reflective clothing will enable motorists to clearly see you, particularly during early morning or evening hours.

– Weather is always an issue to consider, consequently, you need to wear breathable clothing, winter or summer, which will wick away the moisture from the body.

– Dress in layers for colder temperatures and climates so that you can remove clothing as your body temperature increases as well as hats/gloves/warm socks, etc. In warmer temperatures and climates, choose clothing that will keep you from overheating; however, during the summer, wearing a hat helps to provide protection for the head and face from the sun. Sunglasses can also be important in the winter and summer when the sun is out as well as wearing sunscreen.

– Keep a water bottle with you and hyperhydrate one to two hours prior to running by drinking eight to 10 ounces of water. Repeat the sequence once the run is completed. For runs longer than 45-60 minutes, electrolyte drinks may be desirable during or after the run; however, be cautious about the sugar and calorie content.

– As far as food choices prior to the run, choose foods high in complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat toast or muffins, whole grain cereals, a banana or even a little bit of protein such as peanut butter on a piece of toast, one to two hours before the run.

Step Two ” warm-up

A proper warm-up is essential to safely and effectively prepare the body for rigorous exercise. The best way to warm up for a run, is to walk briskly or jog for five to ten minutes at a very comfortable pace elevating the heart rate to the base of the target heart rate zone.

Step Three ” cool down

After the primary work segment of the run (i.e. excluding warm-up), begin to slow down, reduce intensity and allow the heart rate to gradually return to pre-exercise levels. Once the heart rate has returned to pre-exercise levels, perform static stretches for all major muscle groups of the body, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds, to a point of tightness, never pain.

Next week the first segment of a beginner running training program will be presented.

” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address:

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