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Run, Lady. Run.

A novice jogger hits the pavement

By P. J. Ellison

My New Year’s resolution? Run. How original, right? And I know January 1st was a while ago now, but in my defense, I waited for warmer weather. More importantly, I wanted to speak with the experts, some of whom have thousands of kilometres under their water-bottle belts. Here’s what I learned.

Sputtering Starts
We hit the ground running. But for many of us, we wave a list of excuses and end up skipping one or two runs per week. That list is like a white flag. If you surrender, you give up on getting in a groove every runner needs to stay fit and on the right path.

“It’s so important to have a running routine,” says long-time marathoner and my jogging guru, Ken Stockton. “Write down the distance and duration you want to achieve on two to four runs per week. Dangle an attainable goal in the distance and you’ll eventually get there.”

Too Hard, Too Soon
We’re so eager to see results, we push ourselves to go farther, faster. “Running five kilometres after a couple weeks when you never ran before is unrealistic,” says Joanne, a sales associate for a running gear shop in Ottawa. “This is how most beginners injure themselves.” Joanne suggests a slow and steady start. “Work on discipline and consistency. Gradually increase distance and pace in equal measure.”

Use Your Arms
Jacques, a trainer friend of mine, says a lot of runners, both novice and veteran, make the mistake of focusing on cardio. “Jogging on its own increases risk of injury,” he says, adding that running can weaken muscles if not combined with other exercises. He suggests adding light strength training on the days you don’t run. “Squats, lunges, and push-ups once or twice a week should help a lot.”

Hydration Station
“I’m amazed at how many runners I see out there without a bottle belt or some sort of water pack,” says Joanne. “The novice runner sees carrying the extra weight as a hindrance, but that’s what the belt is for.” She says runners avoid getting a stitch in their sides by drinking slowly and one squirt at a time. “Drink two glasses of water an hour before you run and one glass right before you run,” says Ken. “But you should definitely pack the bottle belt for any run over five kilometres, especially during the summer months.” The risk of dehydration, overheating, and poor performance is too high.

If the Shoe Fits
“Wearing the wrong shoes doesn’t just cause blisters, it can lead to a host of knee, hip and ankle problems down the road,” says Joanne. “Those worked-in, super comfy shoes you wear everywhere? They aren’t suitable at all.” Joanne says running is an inexpensive sport, so spending more on shoes that fit your type of gait and the structure of your feet is the best investment you can make when it comes to serious jogging.

 

Spring 2017, Vol 9 N°2

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