By: Kalena Shoman
Having the chance to sit down with Tucson runner and 800m Mexican National Champion, James Eichberger, taught me a lot about the initial struggles that people face when starting a running routine. How do you know your body’s limits when beginning a new routine? Is there a wrong way to go about running? What are the risks a new runner can face? How you approach these questions can either make or break your running experience.
RBar Energy Athlete: James Eichberger - 800 Meter Mexican Nation Champion
Getting in the Groove:
Start off slow. Walking is the best way to condition your body to get used to the movement. Once you trust that you’re ready to run, keep a steady pace. Try not to overdo your first few weeks of activity. You can walk for five minutes, then jog for one and continue as desired.
Another way to overdo things is to run every single day, without giving yourself a rest day. Just like a machine, your body gets tired and can over work itself to the point of either straining and pulling muscles or even fracturing and breaking bones. A good pace to keep is two days on, one day off. This gives your body the time needed to rest, but doesn’t let your body lose its muscle memory.
Choosing the Right Shoes:
The type of shoes you buy are extremely important, just as much as their condition. When looking for the proper running shoes, go to a running store. An educated sales person should be able to take a look at your feet and stride, then determine which type of shoes would benefit you. They should be looking for the movement of your arches and ankles. With this, they can give you several options, but remember to follow your intuition. If they bring you a shoe, that for any reason is uncomfortable or hurts, don’t buy it. Listen to your body and go from there.
The condition of the shoe, is also just as important as the shoe itself. If they’re too old, you could face lack of vital support. However, just the same, if you’re shoes are too new you could end up straining your feet and ankles. In this instance, try wearing your new shoes around the house or to the grocery store a few time to break them in. Your body will greatly appreciate it.
When should you Stretch?
So, there are two main types of stretches: static and dynamic. Before going for your walk, you want to stay away from static stretching, which would be considered any stretch that you hold for a period of time. Dynamic stretches such as jumping jacks, knee highs and leg swings would all be a good options for pre-run stretching. Dynamic stretching awakens your muscles, getting your blood pumping and has a positive effect on your power, endurance and flexibility. Static stretching before a workout of any kind will leave your muscles feeling weak and unsteady, however it is suitable for post-run stretching, when muscles are loose and warm. This increases flexibility will positively impact future performances.
Post Running Regimen:
James mentioned that nowadays people are realizing the effects of continually pushing themselves and have taken the initiative to become more of a recovery driven culture. The harder and longer you walk, run or workout, the more time you need to give your body to heal itself. Outside of lounging around or taking warm baths, you can utilize self-rolling massage sticks to relieve the knots and nerves in your calves and upper legs. As for your feet, try rolling a tennis ball along the bottoms to alleviate pain and soreness. A benefit to the tennis ball tactic is that it’s self-controlled, which gives you the power to massage as you wish.
Getting the hang of running can be an adventure in itself. So, create a few playlists of your favorite inspirational music, get some comfortable running clothes, and let the sky be your limit. If you need an extra push, invite a friend or reach out to a current runner to help support you in your adventure. It can be as simple as adding a 30 minute run into your current routine, or you could possibly change your entire lifestyle. Make of it what you will; the possibilities are endless.