Be Fit To Run – Running After A Long Layoff
Running isn’t something that you typically here your typical meathead chatting about endlessly, but the truth of the matter is I really enjoy running. It helps me focus, clear my head and I really don’t have to engage in any other thought process other than right foot, left foot, breathe.
Running is one of those essential movement skills that everyone should be able to do in at least some capacity. However it is often one of those skills that goes by the wayside when the weather is less than favorable outside, like Canada’s overly long winter this year, which brings up the subject of how to get back in shape for running.
You Have To Be Fit To Run
Contrary to popular belief you have to have at least some sort of physical strength and fortitude to even contemplate running for any length of time, especially if you’re overweight.
Now, I know, I know—everyone has told you that if you’re going to lose fat you’ve got to run. Well, they’re not wrong necessarily, save for the fact that if you don’t have the core, leg and mobility to run you’re just asking for injury.
Many people start their training ventures in running and there’s nothing wrong with that providing they go slow and at their own pace.
The problem lies in the fact that most people just think they can get up and go for a 5K run and be fine the next day. They get up, tie on their favorite pair of sneakers that are worn down to the heals and splitting out of the toes, strap on those headphones and hey, rock on, right?
The next day after they’ve completed a supposedly easy 5K they’re in agony. They can’t run, walk, squat to go to the bathroom and they’ve got aches and pains everywhere. Sound familiar?
Building Up To Running
Of course, this scenario is true. So many people start off on the wrong foot, literally when they begin a running program without any sort of preparation phase or build up phase and this is a terrible mistake.
In order to build your body up to start running, regardless of your age, body composition or level of fitness training (as even regular gym goers may suffer the same consequences) one needs to fully prepare for the onslaught of high impact aerobics.
You can do this with a couple easy exercises in the morning to help prepare for your run and then tackle the run in short bursts of activity intermixed with walking.
This is the easiest way to ease your body into activity that it may not be used to in order keep the overall shock and awe the body experiences to a dull roar. Does it mean you’re not going to be sore or tired? No, but you should be able to continue doing activities regularly and not stop from being too sore. That’s the goal. To be able to consistently engage in exercise. Not a one shot and then a swing and a miss!
Start off your morning with some DYNAMIC STRETCHES, not static stretches as these don’t warm the body up before running. You can stretch statically after you’re done.
-Foam roll all the major muscles groups, like the quads, hamstrings, IT bands (especially the IT bands), lower back and calves to get rid of any knots.
-Perform a nice calisthenic warmup of body weight squats, forward lunges, mountain climbers, leg whips and some jumping jacks before heading out to increase your heart rate, start sweating and get those joints lubricated before pounding the crap out of them on the pavement.
-Start your run slow and build up in intensity. Depending upon your level of conditioning start off with running steady until you have to walk. It could be a minute, it could be 5 minutes. Doesn’t really matter, just go for as long as you can and then take a break. Walk it out for a minute and then continue.
-For beginners start with about 10-15 minutes of running. Intermediates can go from 30-60 minutes of running and walking.
If you can already run steady for 60 minutes or more, try to increase your intensity by speeding up every so often for a set time, like a minute and then cruise for another minute. This will help you build up your speed. Again, many variations you can do here.
-I don’t recommend running over an hour very often as this tends to do more to break you down than improve your speed. I like running, but I’m not a marathoner. If you are, then you’ve got to run more for distance and I’m sorry.
-Don’t run long distance over 3 days a week, unless you’re adding in short sprints. You’ll only end up with diminishing returns and injuries that will take you out of the action. Try adding resistance training into your workouts to increase your overall leg, core, and lower back strength so you can run faster and improve upon your body’s resiliency.
There you go, that’s pretty much how to prepare for running after a long layoff. Apparently this winter is not going to last forever so it’s time to start preparing for those nice long morning runs now. Get ready, the ice and snow are almost gone. Will you be ready to start your running routine? Take my advice and you will dominate your run in no time.
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