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running

Health + Wellness

3 Things I Wish I Had Known As a New Runner

This year I celebrated my 15 year running-versary! (The anniversary of when I started my journey into the world of running)

So basically, 15  years of countless early morning or late evening runs, heaps of races and a “handful” of injuries. Ok, maybe two handfuls.

Let’s be clear though, I haven’t run 15 years consecutively.  There have been periods of non-running along the way – after my daughter was born, when I was pregnant with my son and through some major injuries (plantar fasciitis being the more recent….ugh…)  And starting back on the journey after each of these events was so so hard.

As I look back over the the last 15 years, there are things I wouldn’t change at all and then there are things…well, let’s just say I could have done a bit better. I’ve made some bad decisions that resulted in overuse injuries, painful races and wasted effort!

I decided I would share with you some things I wish someone had told me when I first started running – let’s call them Lessons Learned (the hard way)!

Lesson  #1: It’s not just about “The Run”

Yes, running in itself is very satisfying and it costs almost nothing at all, however a strong cardiovascular system (lungs and heart) are only part of the equation.

Building core strength and muscular endurance helps prevent injuries and promotes an efficient running stride. Hip and core strengthening are crucial components to cross-training that help you overcome overuse injuries such as IT Band Pain (ouchy!) or Hamstring strains (double ouchy!) and Glute Weakness (poor weak glutes).

Lesson #2: Invest in a good pair of ‘kicks’! 

Non-supportive shoes or even over-supportive shoes (too much motion control) could lead to poor running biomechanics and possibly injury. It’s important to invest in a quality running shoe that helps support YOUR feet. Take the time to have a knowledgeable specialist (ahem, chiropractor!) look at your feet, your gait cycle and advise you as to which shoes will help support you while running. Having a great pair of runners can dramatically help your running and you’ll be able to become a more efficient runner.

Lesson #3: Success at running takes time…

A lot of time. Running comes with gradual training and consistency. Injuries happen. Learning to get back on the road the smart way is part of the game.

Dramatic increases in intensity/speed or mileage usually lead to injury. Remember to increase your speed OR your mileage gradually. Be patient. Take the time to achieve moderate increases over a longer period of time which will lead to sustained improvement in your runs.

Don’t get me wrong….running is awesome and with time it becomes second nature and a part of your life. Let’s just say it becomes slightly addictive . But for some, it can be a bit of a love/hate relationship and may come at a price (injuries, blisters, discomfort, etc).

It pays to learn how to run effectively and efficiently.

Take your time and in the meantime, just enjoy the ride…and the endorphins!

 

 

Health + Wellness

Post Baby Running – Do’s and Don’ts

As an avid runner for a better portion of my adult life, I was itching to get back to hitting the pavement post-baby. It was March and running season was just starting.  The weather was perfect for running outside and I couldn’t wait to go for a run with Rosie in tow!

Now if only I could find the perfect running stroller.

Thankfully, there are some amazing jogging strollers on the market today making it simple to take the little one along for the ride!

Finding a jogging stroller that’s right for you and your baby is the first step. Consider what type of terrain you will be running on—flat, smooth surfaces or hillier, more varied terrain? In either case, a three-wheeled stroller works best.

The front wheel should be fixed or lockable and the larger wheels generally make running smoother while giving you more control.

The safest strollers come with a wrist strap that is connected to the handlebar and should be used at all times especially downhill.

Other things to keep in mind include making sure the stroller has enough room for water bottles, blankets and baby gear and is it easy to store in your house or car. Things like quick-release wheels and one-step folding make going for a run less cumbersome.

For safety, it is recommended that babies have full head and neck control (approx 6 months old) before going along on runs with you.

Once you’ve found that perfect jogging stroller, here are a few tips to keep you running in top form:

  • Remember to push the stroller with alternate hands. Pushing with one hand, while pumping with the other arm will keep you as close to proper running form as possible.
  • Don’t forget to switch arms every so often to keep the movement balanced and the core engaged.
  • Avoid leaning into the stroller during a run, especially at the end when the body is fatigued. Try to maintain a neutral upright position with elbows slightly bent.
  • Keep your stride as natural as possible. Often running with a stroller in front of you may shorten or even alter your stride. Before purchasing a stroller, try taking it out for a spin first to make sure your gait isn’t compromised.
  • Don’t forget your post-run stretch to keep running injury free. Include stretches for the pectoralis (chest) muscle and the hip flexors, which tend tighten easily when jogging with a stroller.
  • Most importantly, enjoy this time bonding with baby and getting your running fix at the same time!

Happy Running, Mama!

 

Read my Q&A expert column and get amazing pregnancy, post-pregnancy and baby advice & resources atBabyPost.com.

(Original post at babypost.com)

(Photo credit babypost.com)