Warmer weather means spending more time outside. And for those who enjoy running, or even those who want to get started, it’s not as simple as lacing a brand-new pair of runners and hitting the track. There’s a few pointers you’ll want to make note of before you begin.
A FOOT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Just making the decision to start jogging is already a step in a healthy direction. “There are many benefits of jogging,” says CAA South Central Ontario wellness consultant Joanna Marra. Running reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of heart disease, and can increase cardiovascular fitness, meaning there is less strain on your heart to fuel you throughout the day. Mentally, jogging is also a great stress reliever. Marra suggests that people who are new to exercise consult a physician before they begin running.
The number one mistake beginners make is doing too much too soon. “They go all in, and that’s when injuries happen. Then it deters them in the long term,” Marra says. When starting out, Nike Toronto running coach and chiropractor Brittany Moran suggests focusing more on time than kilometres and doing run/ walk intervals. Start with five to 10 minutes of walking, alternating with one minute of running, then two minutes of running for five to 10 minutes, and finishing with a 10-minute walk. Do this two to three times a week, and increase your time by 10 per cent each week to work up your kilometres.
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IF THE (RUNNING) SHOE FITS
The perfect shoe is different for everyone, depending on individual anatomy and gait. “If you try on running shoes, make sure you run around the store in them, and make sure that everything feels comfortable,” Moran says. Layering is key when it comes to clothing. Start with a sweat-wicking base layer and, depending on how cold it is, one to two additional long- sleeved tops. For outer attire, a windbreaker jacket is key. Moran advises dressing for 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside (including wind chill): if it’s 10°C, dress as if it’s 20°C, to account for your body heating up as you go.
TRAINING GOES BEYOND THE ACTUAL RUN
t’s also important to stretch before and after your run. Marra suggests dynamic stretching beforehand movements that allow your joints and muscles to go through a full range of motion–like swinging your leg back and forth or standing knee hugs. Post-run, do five to 10 minutes of static stretching to help prevent injury, especially hamstring, calves, glutes and quadriceps stretches. And stay hydrated. Mara recommends drinking two to four lites of water per day, or more if you’re especially active.
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