Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
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Blog Archives - 2012
Newbie Guide...Part II

The process of becoming a full-fledged runner isn't as easy as it people make it seem. Here are more tips to help you get there:

Glutes: Your butt plays a big role in your running. Your stride is driven by the gluteus maximus and medias. These muscles tend to get soft since they are often neglected. Work in an office? Then you NEED to do these simple yet efficient exercises to strengthen them. Your office chair is the enemy here, that's for sure. Squats and lunges are two easy moves that help strengthen your glutes. Lunges are simple, but instead of stepping back each time, turn them into walking lunges, feeling the stretch deep in your hamstrings and glutes. Squats are definitely one of the more fun exercises. You can do a normal squat without any weights, or you can double the benefit with the bar w/ weights above your shoulders. Make sure you feel your butt working to keep you balanced.

Torso/Abs: Remember my post about cardio junkies?? Well apply that to this post too. Your abdominal muscles are always engaged while running, keeping you balanced and helping you with your posture. This is why you must have good form when running. Beginner runners almost always lean too far forward, causing the feet and knees to take all of the force with each footfall. This has quite a detrimental effect on your legs, so keep that in check. Run tall. That's what my coach has always told me to do. Don't stare at the ground while running, it causes your shoulders to hunch and throws off your center of gravity. Always be looking up and shorten your stride. Like I said before, pretend you're running on eggshells. You'll be saving tons of energy and reduce impact on your joints.

Stomach: Runners love to eat. It's as simple as that. And the better you eat, the better you run. So I guess that's a win-win situation. You need to eat real food. Not the processed junk full of added sugar. Remember, sugar only gives you a quick boost that doesn't last long, but healthy protein will work for you over a much longer period of time, allowing you to run longer and with more vigor. If you're planning on running more than 4 days a week, you should be having an adequate caloric intake. That means never letting your stomach growl. So every 3 to 4 hours, eat a small meal of about 400-600 calories to keep your energy levels up.

Arms: Your arms help you with your pace and efficiency. When you swing your arms faster during a run, your pace increases with it, and vice versa. Any way you set your arm speed, your legs will follow their lead, thus, giving you a nice manageable pace just for you. Don't let your arms hang limply at your sides, but don't bend them so much that they inhibit your form either. Your shoulders should be relaxed and your hands should be kept around waist level. My cross country coach always told me to pretend that I'm pulling tissues out of my pockets. It helped with my form, and still does now. Also, relax your hands. Don't keep them balled up in fists, just loosen them up.

Eyes: The best piece of advice I can give to you regarding your eyes is to just keep them on the horizon. Keeping your eyes up automatically relaxing your torso and straightens your posture, allowing your abdominals to take over and keep you balanced.

That does it for the newbie guide!! I feel like it's lacking, but I promise there will be more to come, regarding the brain/mindset and your heart and lungs. Until next time..

Happy Trails (newbies)!

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