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Answers to a Beginning Runner’s Common Questions

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I recently was asked the following beginner running questions from a friend. Since they were so good, I figured I would share them with you.

 

Question:

I am thinking about doing a 10K in June. I am a little worried that I won’t be ready in time. I found a 13 week program, but I am not running outside right now, and the treadmill just feels so different to run on. I know you run year round, but have you read anything or do you have an opinion on training part by treadmill then switching to road?

Answer: I think it is OK that you run on the treadmill now and then transition to the road before your race. If you start transitioning to the road in April, that will give you plenty of time to be fully accustomed to running on the road prior to your race. Regarding the treadmill, I would set the incline to 1% to simulate wind resistance.

You definitely don’t want to run 100% on the treadmill and then run the race on the road. The treadmill is softer, therefore easier on your legs. Doing an immediate switch could lead to injury. If you transition, you’ll give your body time to adjust. Transitioning can be as simple as running outside when it is nice. There will be less of those days in March, and more in April.

 

Question:

Should I run every day?  I really want to get in shape!

Answer: To make it easier to track and to ensure you don’t overwork yourself, I highly recommend using a training plan.  The plan will help you space out your runs as well as their intensity.

When I first started running I ran every other day.  I usually rested in between the running days, but it shouldn’t be an issue if you want to walk on those days.  The key is to not overdo it.  If you run too much you’ll stress your muscles, they will become really sore, and you’ll risk injury.  Running results in constant pounding of your hip, knee, ankle, and foot joints.

Though in the long run, these joints, and your musculoskeletal system is strengthened, in the short term they are weakened.  It is through your workout’s stress and recovery cycles that you increase your fitness.  Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments become weaker after a run and need time to strengthen.  This happens when you rest.  In fact, resting can be your best work out!

As you begin to run remember to take it easy and allow time for rest and recovery.  Plan on taking a rest day after each running day.  This means you’ll most likely run three to four time a week.

 

Question:

Should I stretch before or after I run?

Answer:  I start my runs by warming up.  I usually jog slowly and progressively get faster until at the 1/2 mile mark I’m running at my normal pace.  I usually find it take about five minute for me to get the warmed up and to start to break a sweat.  I don’t stretch before I start running, as I was told stretching on cold muscles can cause them to contract, which is counterproductive.  Rather, I wait until my run is complete and then stretch.  When I stretch after I run, I’m stretching warm and pliable muscles.  They don’t resist as much and I find the stretching is easier.  Also, if really feels good after a good run!

Image Credit:  lululemon athletica

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