Most of us have been in our houses for about a week and it has been the yeariest month of our lives. The appeal of binging another Netflix series has started to wear off and your couch has a distinct imprint of your body, you’ve eaten through all of your quarantine snacks, and you’ve found yourself hiding from your family in the bathroom closet. What a great time to take up running or really ramp up your mileage if you have been running?! Fresh air! Quiet time! Moving your body!
I’ve seen a ton of people out running the past several days and it makes my run coach’s heart explode with joy. While my heart is exploding with joy, my logical coach’s brain is slightly nervous. New runners jumping in to running quickly and weekend warriors or long time runners quickly ramping up mileage and frequency of running is a bit of a recipe for disaster. Ok, maybe not disaster, but an increased likelihood of running overuse injuries. Here are some tips to keep you healthy and running through this pandemic and beyond.
- Invest in good running shoes. Normally I would recommend going to a reputable running store for a fit, but that may need to wait until later. For now, contact your local running store and ask for advice. Most are offering curb side pickup for your new shoes. In Massachusetts, I know Marathon Sports locations and Charles River Running are doing this.
- Make sure you are spending time warming up before your run, and doing some stretching and mobility after your run.
- Run 2-4 days per week max with a day of rest in between, accumulating 1-4 miles per run. The goal when you are just starting out is more about consistency vs maxing out your mileage.
- Don’t race every run. Your pace should remain at a place where you can carry on a conversation with a friend at an appropriate social distance or sing along to a few lines of your favorite tune at a time.
- Incorporate walking breaks. Don’t hesitate to add in regular walk intervals as you a building up your endurance. I actually purposely incorporate run/walk intervals into the majority of my athletes training plans.
- Listen to your body. If something hurts (more than typical “I just started running” hurts), stop.
- Have fun! And get connected to a running community if you haven’t already.
- Email Alicia@AHealthyBalanceInc.com to join our free beginner runner’s group – accountability, coaching, tips and motivation.
You should know better, but let’s be real. You are likely either not working or working from home and have a ton more flexibility in your daily schedule. On top of it, the gym you do your cross training at is likely closed for the foreseeable future. So you do what every typical runner is doing and #RUNALLTHEMILES!!!! I am all for using this time to get in some extra miles, but I also want to make sure you do it in a smart way that keeps you healthy and injury free so that you can run all your races in the fall.
- Track mileage on your shoes and replace them if necessary. Strava and GarminConnect can even do this for you!
- Take it slow! Every time you go out for a run you should not be trying to set a new record.
- Don’t neglect rest days or significantly increase the number of days a week you are running. If you were running 3 days/week before, increase to 4 days/week for a few weeks, then increase to 5 days. Jumping from running 2-3 days/week to 6-7 days/week is an excellent way to make it so you will be running 0 days/week.
- Increase your mileage slowly. Follow the 10% rule, a general rule of thumb that encourages you to only increase your weekly mileage by 10% week over week. I would also encourage you to take a step back week, meaning if you increase 2-3 weeks in a row, lower your mileage to about 50% the next week to allow your body time to recover.
- Vary your terrain. If you have always been a road runner, take it to the trails for a few runs.
- Use all of your new-found free time to take care of all those things most of us runners neglect… Strength training, foam rolling, stretching… Check out our virtual schedule for a few special runner specific strength training class.
- Listen to your body. As a runner, you are probably pretty in tune with the signals your body is trying to send. Don’t ignore them. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t push through it.
- With no races in the foreseeable future, now is a great time to reconnect with why you started running in the first place. Turn off your watch, leave your music at home, be thankful that you have a body that is capable of doing this at all.
- Contact Alicia@AHealthyBalanceInc.com if you have questions about how to safely increase your mileage.