Friday, December 21, 2012

Have You Lost That Running Feeling?

It's that time of year again.  New Year's Resolutions (many of which will never come to fruition) are made, gym memberships are bought, and people get excited about getting fit and changing their lives.  Only two problems... First of all, January is really cold!  Not the best motivator.  Second, and most importantly, it is hard to get in shape when you haven't been working out.  It 's tough to figure out where to start and what to do, and even once you determine that, your body is going to be tired and sore while it's adjusting, and that can take a few weeks!  So how do you get that runner's high everyone is always talking about?

Even as someone who has run competitively for years, now that I am no longer on a team that has set practices and consequences for not running, I really struggle to train consistently.  The best thing you can do to stay injury free and enjoy your running is to join a training group (like ours - they're free!) or get an accountability partner to train with.  The only way to experience enjoyment of running is to do it consistently enough that your muscles strengthen, you build endurance, and your body adjusts.  This is tough to do without something motivating you to run consistently for a few consecutive days and weeks.  Grab a friend or two, or 180-something in the case of our running groups, and your runs will pass by so much faster while you talk, laugh, and complain your way through the miles together.  And once you get those first few weeks in, you'll really be able to enjoy your runs!

The other critical aspect of running enjoyment is staying injury free.  As you all know, getting fitted for shoes (hopefully at Tri-State Running Company) is the first step in preventing pain and injury.  Additionally, though, you need to do some strength training, stretch to improve flexibility, and practice efficient running form.  If you watch the above video, you can see a small sampling of some common running form issues (exaggerated for your enjoyment, of course).  To make sure you aren't "that awkward runner", sign up for one of our free form clinics or yoga for runners classes on under the Events - Health/Injury Clinics tab.  Here you will also find information on our free injury screens if you are already experiencing some type of injury.

Once you have your running buddies and you're strengthening your core and focusing on your form, you should be able to "get back that running feeling" (or maybe experience it for the first time ever!).  Just make sure you increase your mileage slowly and train conservatively.  Happy running... hope to see you out on the roads and trails!

Please feel free to comment if you have any wisdom to share about how to enjoy running!

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