How to break into running!

A great way to augment your Booty Camp workouts is to add some extra curricular cardio sessions i.e. running! We often suggest this in our homework notes “to get in some cardio sessions” but I thought I’d give you a little more specific information to getting out there and getting going.

Get out there and do it: Sometimes the scariest part is just getting started. Don’t avoid it by saying you’ll get started next week or next month or when things slow down at work, home, etc. Start today! If you run today then tomorrow will be that much easier.

Start slow: There are no expectations from anyone but you, so go easy on yourself. The fastest way to burn out and/or quit is to go out there with too high of expectations and push yourself too hard. There are so many health benefits from running that you’ll want to find a way to enjoy it not over do it. You’ll want to be able to carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing- remember to breathe! A good way to begin if you’re new to running is to walk briskly for 5 minutes to warm-up then jog until you feel out of breath then slow down and keep going or walk until you catch your breath, when you’ve caught your breath begin to jog again, alternating back and forth between running and walking. Be sure the walking is brisk and you’re swinging your arms to keep up the cardio. Set a goal for how long you want to go out – a good starting goal might 30 minutes overall. Another good way to do this is to pick out landmarks along the way and tell yourself you’re going to run to the bench and then walk to the lamp post and so on until you’ve gone out half your time allotment and then head back. It will go by quickly in this manner. Each time you go out you can try to run a little bit longer with shorter walks in between. You’ll find over time that you can increase the jogging intervals and decrease the walking until you can jog for the entire 30 minutes. You are all already capable of this as its very similar to our roving workouts so don’t let any mental barriers keep you from accomplishing your goal.

Find a running buddy: One of the best ways to keep yourself from letting excuses deter you from your runs is to run with a buddy. If you’ve made arrangements to meet up with a friend (or friends) then it becomes harder to skip out and let that other person down. This has worked well for me over the years- usually one of us will be feeling more motivated then the other and can say “come on let’s go” and I’m always glad when we’re done that I didn’t skip.

Don’t get bored: switch it up! The options are endless for routes to take once you leave your front door. Once you’re up to jogging for 30 minutes you’re likely running 2.5-3 miles, you can use the odometer in your car and drive your perspective routes to see how far they are. I also like to get online and use a site called www.MapMyRun.com where you can map different routes and it keeps track of the mileage, elevation gain, all kinds of information and it will even store it for you. You can use your house as a starting point to then drag a marker around the different streets until you create a run that seems appropriate in mileage. You can create a 3 mile run, a 4 mile run and maybe even a 5 miler so you can alter your schedule to fit your available time- maybe throw in a longer run on the weekend. It is important to not keep repeating the same route. In order to get the most out of your workouts long term you’ll need to switch your routes periodically- you can do it by simply jogging your route backwards or have different versions. Don’t be afraid to add in some hills for extra benefits. Another favorite thing for me personally is to have a route where I can see how much area I’ve covered. One of my routes is what I call the “bridges”. I start at Montlake play field and run over the Montlake bridge then along the University of Washington to the University bridge, turn by Red Robin and head back over to the Montlake field. It is so satisfying to stand at the University bridge and look towards the Montlake bridge and really see how far I’ve gone! Its also good to get some runs in on softer ground and get off the pavement. We have Seward Park of course but there’s also the arboretum, foster island, cougar mountain and many others. We are so lucky where we live to have access to so many beautiful areas so take advantage of it!

Pick an event: Many of you have already done this- I know there’s a group who trained for the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon, many are signed up for the Danskin Tri-athalon and there are countless other fun runs out there. It’s good to pick a goal to aim for, it helps motivate and keeps you on a training schedule. Plus you get cool t-shirts and its so satisfying to have an accomplishment like that under your belt.

Equipment: Running is wonderful in that it requires so little in terms of equipment.
All you need is running shoes, good jog bra and shorts/t-shirt. Once you get going and are hooked I can’t recommend enough the benefits of getting fitted for the right running shoe. You’ll need to go to a specialty running store like Seattle Running Company (Capitol Hill) or Super Jock and Jill (Greenlake) and have an experienced staff person fit you in a good pair of shoes. Most of us fall into one of three categories; neutral runner, suponate or pronate which just refers to how your foot strikes the ground. There are different running shoes built to specifically support each of these conditions and you’ll want be fit for what’s right for you. The payoff will be exponential in terms of comfort and longevity for your running career.

I hope that’s enough information to get you out there and started. I didn’t even touch on the many physical and psychological benefits so I’ll save that for next time but in the meantime- get out there!

— Trainer Theresa