By Craig Weyrich, PT, NASM-PES
I am a runner. I started running when I was 13 and it has been my passion ever since. When I finished competing in college, I studied physical therapy so I could help injured runners. Years later, I started coaching middle school cross country and track so I could pass on my love of running. As the popularity of running continues to grow, people frequently ask me for the best way to start running. The physical act of running is a simple one, but successfully starting a running program can be daunting without some guidance. The purpose of this article is to help you, the new runner, hit the road with confidence and maybe develop a love for running along the way. Below, I have outlined some items that I feel are essential for the new runner (or any runner for that matter). I will attempt to keep the list brief to stop myself from droning on, but I welcome questions and comments as I hope to regularly provide advise and content to this forum in the future. So, in no particular order, here we go:
· Be safe. First off, make sure your cardiovascular system is ready to start running. It's a good idea to get a physical and share with your doctor that you are starting a running program to rule out any problems that may make running unsafe for you. This especially applies to the guys as we tend to not get regular check-ups as often as women. Also, be safe when you are on the run. Be aware of your surroundings and run with others, or at least let people know your route and when you expect to be back.
· Have a plan. You are much more likely to be consistent and more successful if you have a plan to follow. It is a lot harder to skip a workout if it is in writing (a commitment to yourself) than if you make it up as you go. There are many good places to get a training plan. Many running stores offer walk to run or couch to 5K groups regularly. Books and websites also offer good beginning programs (runnersworld.com, jeffgalloway.com are good starts). You can also find a personal coach to devise a plan for you, just make sure they are either USATF or RRCA certified. Where ever you get your plan, put it on a calender, check it regularly, and stick to it.
· Get fitted. Go to a quality running specialty store to get fitted for your shoes. Running is a fairly inexpensive sport overall (although it is easy to go overboard!), so don't cheap out on your shoes. A running shoe specialist will ask you questions, check your foot type, and maybe even watch you run on a treadmill to make sure they get you in the right shoe. They are generally passionate about running as well and genuinely want to get you in a pair that will work best for you. The right shoes can help you stay injury-free, don't chance it at a department store to save a few bucks. Also be aware that most shoes are only good for 300-500 miles depending on the model, so keep track and change out your shoes when appropriate. The supportive material inside the shoe can break down long before the outside looks overly worn.
· Start slow. Probably the most common cause of injury I see in new runners comes from progressing too fast. If you are not accustomed to running, it can take a few weeks for your body to adapt. If you do too much too soon, you are setting yourself up for an injury. A good rule of thumb is to increase mileage/running time by 10% per week. This can be tough early on when dealing in such small increments, but it is better to start out slow than to push too hard and be sidelined.
· Have a goal. Make at least one, and make it measurable. I usually encourage my kids to make three: one that is fairly obtainable even if everything isn't perfect, one that is challenging, but can be done with hard work and considerable effort, and one that is possible, but very difficult to accomplish (one that you'd be ecstatic if you got, but won't be disappointed if you don't). I would keep the goals running specific (complete a certain distance, run a certain time, run a certain distance with x number of walking breaks). Although your overall goal may be to lose weight, there are too many other factors involved to hold your running accountable for that goal alone. If you make weight loss a goal, make sure you have other running goals on top of it.
· Keep a journal. Running journals are great tools and can help you keep track of what is working when things are going well and help you figure out the problem when things are not. Keep track of mileage, time spent running, conditions you ran in, how you felt. You can even keep track of what you ate prior to running and what shoes/equipment used. The more detail the easier it is to pick up on patterns. Make sure you include the good and the bad. Training mistakes are going to happen, journals help you learn from them.
· Be Patient. The human body hates change. Running forces changes. You will be uncomfortable, possibly sore. It will be hard at first, but if you stick with it your body will adapt and it will get easier. It takes about three weeks for these adaptations to occur, so stay consistent and it will happen. Have you ever gone to a health club in the 1st week of January? It's packed. By week 3 it usually starts to thin out. People get frustrated that they aren't noticing changes and quit. Convince your body you are in for the long haul and it will reward you with increased strength and stamina, fail to be consistent and the changes will not come and running will stay hard.
· Discomfort is okay, pain is not. As stated in the last paragraph, starting something new (particularly running) can be uncomfortable. Muscle soreness, cramps, and maybe even blisters can be expected, but sharp pains or discomfort that lasts for days is abnormal. Seek medical attention early before it turns into a bigger problem (Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers offer free injury screens at all locations 1-877-97-REHAB). I will also do a series soon on common running injuries to help prevent some of the more common running ailments.
· Don't stop at just running. Supplemental training outside of running can pay huge dividends in injury prevention and performance. Many running injuries can be traced back to weak core muscles or poor mobility. A simple core program a few days a week can go along way towards helping prevent bio-mechanical breakdowns. In future posts I can cover some key exercises to help enhance your running success.
So, there you have it, my list of essentials for starting a running program. It is by no means all-inclusive, and hopefully not too overwhelming. Once again I welcome questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics. I look forward to helping enhance your running experience in the future. Happy running!
Craig Weyrich is a licensed physical therapist and USATF certified coach in Yorkville, Illinois.
By Ashlyn Adams Romaine
At age 42, in March of 2012, I started running with a group in my town following the Run for God program. It was started by someone who felt the call from God to do this. I actually missed the first meeting ... and wasn't so sure that I was sad about it.
Day 2 ... I arrived ... we stretched, we warmed up, we talked. The program started with a 5 minute warm up walk -- then run for 60 seconds (aka 1 minute) and walk for 90 seconds for a TOTAL time of 20 minutes. I, who was about 5'4.5" and about 133 pounds kept thinking (and telling the timing people) that their watches were WRONG ... 60 seconds HAD to be up. And I was yelling it from the back of the pack. And as I was yelling, my thighs ... oh how they burned.
Anyway, we progressed ... and we sweat ... and we didn't die. And I learned lessons along the way. And I learned about mantras. "No White Flags" became mine after reading about former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason and his fight with ALS and how I just knew that he'd do anything to be able to WALK much less run. I didn't love running -- I didn't hate it either. My husband encouraged me to find something I might like better. I said "It's called Run for GOD ... GOD doesn't quit and neither will I".
And we completed our goal 5k in early May. It started at 9 am ... that's LATE and HOT in south Louisiana. It took me more than 43 minutes ... and some walking ... but I did it. I finished. And I wasn't happy. I wanted to RUN the whole thing. I didn't consider myself a runner.
The group kind of broke up during the summer with differing schedules and all. So I ran alone ... in the late evenings. And then fall came and WOW it was a little cooler. So I decided to sign up for an 8k Wounded Warrior Run sponsored by a local running store. I trained and trained. I worried and I worried. And on the ride to the start with a friend, I wanted to throw up. What had I done? The sponsoring store personnel told me that running, walking and even crawling were ALL acceptable modes of getting to the finish. Crawling? I can do that.
And I made it! Without crawling and only walked .33 miles of the 5. It was for such an awesome cause -- a friend of mine texted me right before. "Your purpose for running is greater than ANY finishing time". And she was right.
10K around the corner ... I was ready ... and not nervous at all. It was going to be what it was going to be. And I finished ... in the back but that was ok. I was a runner running against ME! No one else.
More 5ks. Let's see, there's a half in New Orleans in February. Friend to me: "let's do it"!! She was coming in from Seattle to do this on the anniversary of her mother-in-law's death -- a mother-in-law that she never met. Cancer sucks. Anyway, we trained distantly ... we motivated each other distantly. And on February 24, 2013, we ran our first half. She finished before I did -- I ended with horrid IT Band issues. But my purpose for running WAS greater than my finish time .. I was running for too many friends and family members who have been affected by cancer.
So off to the chiropractor and the physical therapist. And they both firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. And now that on I'm on the road to recovery, I see that. I've met some wonderful people along the way ... I've found a running support system ... I've done more than I ever thought I could or would with this body that God gave me. One that works and moves when so many don't have that ability.
Running has made me a healthier person ...I've lost a few pounds ... improved my cardiovascular health while lowering the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Running has made me a more resiliant person ... I'm still learning to deal with disappointment and injury and the feelings that go with these things. Patience has never been my strong point but through this experience it's getting perhaps a little better.
I'm so glad that I didn't quit ... and even today I keep plugging away. Afraid to take the "risk"??? Don't be ... the rewards way outweigh any risk and for me it's totally been a journey. A journey in learning about myself, about life and for me about giving Glory to God on every run.
And never forget, the hardest part is lacing up your shoes and once you set out, you are lapping everyone still on the sofa!!!
Here we go:The Mooseheart Centennial Challenge kicks off the Centennial Celebrations on July 27 at 9am. Mooseheart Child City and School will be celebrating its 100th year and needs your help to renovate the Pre-K through 12th School. Challenge participants will walk/run around the Mooseheart stadium track for 100 minutes (1 hour and 40 minutes). There’s a $10 sign-up fee which would include a Centennial Challenge shirt and a Commemorative Medal. Each participant will commit to raising a minimum of $100 to benefit the School Renovation Fund. These donations are tax deductible and can be done online athttp://www.moosecharities.org/store/Wish/CentennialChallenge.php.
MOOSEHEART is a residential childcare facility, located on a 1,000-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago. The Child City is a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school. MOOSEHEART cares for youth whose families are unable, for a wide variety of reasons, to care for them. Some have lost one or both parents; others are living in environments that are simply not conducive to healthy growth and development. Whatever the reason, the men and women of the Moose, through unparalleled generosity and volunteerism, furnish the resources necessary to care for children in need. The Moose fraternity provides children with a wholesome home-like environment and the best possible training and education.
Awards will be given to the participant with the Most Laps and Highest Funds Raised. There is a maximum of 150 participants – sign up today (or make a donation to the event)! Questions about the event contact Ann Price at 630.859.6615.
I don’t like my alarm…so annoying. Snooze. But I roll out of bed, into my shorts and trainers, and hit the pavement. After about 3 seconds, I feel great! What a great way to wake, clear my head, plan my day. I run with good tunes in my head, a smile on my face, and appreciate my life.
It all started a few years ago, when I needed something short and sweet just in case I couldn’t get any real workout in during the day. I figured I’d at least have done something good for me. Now, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!! I feel stronger. I’ve increased my endurance. I feel more alive throughout the day. Mentally, I am more on task. My whole day is more productive as I tend to be more energized and efficient.
Speed isn’t my thing. “Slow and steady wins the race,” is how I roll. But the benefits are wonderful. It is a whole body workout… legs, glutes, abs, back, chest, shoulders, respiratory, cardio…all good. The run also sets me up for an awesome stretch afterwards because warm muscles are stretchable without fear of tearing.
My early morning run is my sanity-feel good-prep for my day-me time. Best part of my day!
Orange County, CA
My name is Megan, I am 32 and this is my story:
Have you ever been riding in your car, air conditioning on full blast, music blaring and seen one of those "crazy people" running down the road? All you think is, why are they running? You quickly glance in the rearview mirror. There has to be someone wielding a knife chasing them, but there is no one. So for the rest of your cool drive you are thinking how that runner must have a screw loose, running covered in sweat, looking uncomfortable, maybe a little miserable even and how you could NEVER do that. Heck your thighs rub together and belly jiggles just walking to the couch. I lovingly have referred to those as "chub rub" and "bingo wings" over the years and running was what you did, only if being chased and after being certain the person in pursuit didn't have a gun.
All of this changed when I decided I was worth more than being the girl on the sidelines. I had friends who ran and talked about the elusive "runners high" and I was convinced this same high was found in a good chocolate milkshake. Needless to say, it wasn't. My weight and sloth like tendencies were proving that more and more each day. I joined Weight Watchers at 309lbs and when I hit 30 lbs down I decided to reward myself, not in the usual "binge on my favorite foods" way, but instead I saw a coupon for a 5k and went for it. This was not your everyday 5k. This was the Pretty Muddy Women's mud run in Oct. 2012. I convinced (maybe even conned) 3 friends to do it with me and cursed the whole way wondering what I was thinking. I cant even tell you the elation I felt crossing that finish line. I couldn't walk for the next 2 days but I was already wanting to do another race.
I hadn't trained for that 5k. Hell, I hadn't even walked around my neighborhood. I knew that if I was ever going to do something like that again, I was going to need to get in better shape. So in December 2012, I joined a gym. I would walk my 20min miles and be bored. So I added in some jogging. Then I added spin class, then yoga, and weight lifting I was feeling stronger and looking better. I was only jogging 10-20 seconds at a time but, holy cow I was doing it!!!
Then came the knee pain, the hip pain and the back pain. What!? I was losing weight and building muscles.How could this be happening? Then the blisters came. So I timidly entered the new running store across the street from the gym. I was nervous about it. Heavy people don't run and runners are an elite group of people. I felt I had no right to enter their inner sanctum. Boy was I wrong! The staff at Lucky Foot not only got me in the right shoes but they made me feel good about the steps I was taking. (Pun intended)
In March 2013 I did my second 5k. With my father in law coaching me along, I completed it with my fastest pace ever, 13:41. Yes it is slow but I had never even done that in those mandatory gym class miles. I was dumbfounded. Plus, with the right shoes I didn't have any pain. I could conquer the world that day.
Next up was the 10k in April. Of course I chose the 8th largest road race in the US (go big or go home right??) I was stoked, my 4 woman team from the pretty muddy was now 6 and we wore tutus! My goal was to finish it. Which I did in under 2 hours. Again it was slow, who cares, I was faster than those people sitting on the couch watching the race on TV. I got high fives from my friends from Lucky Foot at their tent. I got cheered on by the thousands of people out there. I was a rock star but was I a runner yet?
Since then I have done another 5k and an 8k. I still walk most of it. We always wear our tutus. The team TuTu Many Races had 15 members at our last race. My goal is to do one race every month. I even have my sights set on maybe doing a half marathon in November. (Does this make me crazy??) I know I am slow but the short jogs have turned into minute runs. I was always saying I am a "runner" (notice the quotations). Until one day I read a quote that basically said if you just run one or two steps, you are a runner. I spoke to people I thought were "true runners" and they said I was a runner. They embraced me with open arms. They gave me advice, encouragement, and support. They told me I inspire THEM. What!?! (That made my brain explode.) I have people on Facebook tell me I inspire them too and ask to join my team. How can I inspire anyone?
Since my newfound love of running I have found I am more excited to try new things to keep me active. Just last week I was in the Outer Banks on vacation. I ran almost every morning. I even did a quick beach run (which is extremely difficult,) but my biggest accomplishment was climbing the dunes at Jockeys Ridge. I have been to the Outer Banks the last 18 years and always thought there was no way I could (or would) do that. This year I said to myself, "you are a runner now, you can do anything" and so I climbed the first one with my husband. He looked at me and said "wanna do another?" And we did. There are no more limitations for me and I conquered something that I swore to myself I could not even attempt.
I am still 267 lbs. I have a long way to go on my weight loss journey. The difference is now I have more of a sense of self. I know where I am going and how many steps it will take. I have new paths and trails to lead me there. I have made new friends along the way. I have joined Facebook groups to ask my questions and inspire me. I found that I there is a plethora of people to ask for support. I have, more than anything, found that runners aren't really an "elite group" like I originally thought. Runners are more than happy to show you how to find your way. They welcome you into their family like you have been there the whole time and I kinda think we have. A part of me always wanted to be a runner and it breaks out every time I jog to that next mailbox and decide to keep on to the next. It comes out one step at a time. But it always comes and it fights with the part of me that doesn't want to keep on. But... When my inner runner wins, I know that I AM A RUNNER and I can conquer anything and there will never be too many races, instead there will always be TuTu Many Races.
By Lisa Talbot Lundrigan, MAMe and Dad after the 2013 Boston Marathon
One day, out of the blue, my dad showed up. I was about 8 years old or so. He’d been there all along actually, living in the house with us, caught up in a gambling addiction that financially and emotionally decimated our family. But that is not the man I think of as my father. That man was living a lie, was overweight, was smoking, and was focused on feeding his addiction. That man hit rock bottom and began a twelve step recovery program. And the man who was born at that time decided that running would be part of his plan to change everything about his lifestyle.
And so, this new man, who was still living in the body of a 35 year old overweight smoker, began a running program at our local track. My mother and I would go with him, joining in as he ran a lap, waiting while he smoked a cigarette, and then joining him again for the next lap. It was as simple as that. And over time, day after day, the cigarette breaks became fewer, the laps became bigger, and my dad, athletic and disciplined, emerged. In his first road race, even the town ambulance finished ahead of him. It didn’t matter. He kept running. In the running boom of the 70’s he found his passion, he found his truer self. He became the man I most admire.
I spent my childhood and teens in the company of runners. Dad raced often. He marathoned twenty times; including six Boston Marathons. He achieved success as a runner, and remarkable success as a man. He rose to prominence in his profession. He became a leader in our community. He helped countless people at the beginning of their journey to be better versions of themselves. One of those people was me.
A sweaty mess after my 10k, with my Dad and Son.
In the early 90s, after having been overweight myself, I lost a significant amount of weight in mostly healthy ways before becoming caught up in the devastating disease of anorexia. I had no desire to follow in my father’s running footsteps at the time. In fact, he and I had become distant, our relationship strained by his divorce from my mother; a divorce that was likely inevitable and healthy for both of them in retrospect. Almost accidentally, I began running and I liked it. I was living in San Diego at the time, where nobody knew me as Ed Talbot’s daughter. I ran pre-dawn, just like him. I preferred longer distances, just like him. And miraculously, I found a path out of self-destruction in running, just like him. Running became important enough to me that I had to eat enough to continue to do it. And that, it turned out, was enough to keep me alive. After a couple of years I began fantasizing about running a marathon and turned to my dad, who was still in Massachusetts, for guidance. Conversations that began about a training plan turned into conversations about our lives and goals. After an overuse injury derailed my first marathon plan, I regrouped and set my sights on the 100th Boston Marathon, the people’s race. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run my first ever marathon in Boston that year and my father was waiting for me at the finish line. As I hugged him I blurted out “I want to do it again!”
And I have. I’ve run other marathons since then, including this year’s Boston. I’ve also had two perfectly healthy children in my 40s and I ran until the day they were each born. For the past twenty two years, running has been the most stable thing in my life; the thing that grounds and soothes me. I love watching new runners get caught up in the joy of the sport. I love that my kids know me as a person who gets up before the sun does to run. And I love that I am a part of a running community; that my solitary pre-dawn footsteps are connected with every one of your footsteps. And it all began with that overweight man on the track who one day decided that enough was enough.
A little black book with calories? Yes, calories. Do you know how many calories you’re consuming every day? Well, not only will keeping a food diary help you determine just that, but recent studies have also suggested keeping a food diary may be helpful to losing weight.
From beverages to snacks and for especially meals, a lot of my patients have lost weight by simply jotting everything down in a little black book. Being aware of what you’re putting in your body gives you the power to control what you’re eating and may stop you from overeating. Most of my patients tend to underestimate the number of calories they eat. I have found a substantial amount of unaccounted calories, ranging 700-1200 calories.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Little black book! Whether it’s a notebook, a laptop, personal digital assistant (PDA), and cell phone, keep your little black book handy.
Write or type! Write or type everything you consumed in your little black book. Don’t wait until the end of the day to mark everything down because truth be told - you will forget. Water, soda, apples, chips, cookies, sandwich, salads, pasta, or beer – keep track of everything. It’s best to write immediately following your meal or snacks.
Portion distortion! Practice makes perfect. Get yourself a measuring scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons for accurate results.
Cook up a storm! Rather than eating out and not knowing how many calories you’re eating, cooking at home will give you more control over what you eat. You will know exactly what the food contains and how much of it you're consuming.
Don’t skip dessert! You’ll have your moments when you want to reach for your favorite bag of chips or indulge in a piece of chocolate cake – regardless; don’t forget to enter it in your little black book.
The little black book that could be the first step to helping you lose weight. Give it a try!
By: Susan Lupackino, MHS, RD, LDN of food is good
It's no surprise explorer and navigator, Christopher Columbus, dubbed papaya as the “fruit of the angels”. The papaya fruit is sweet with musky undertones and smooth as butter.
Papayas are native to southern Mexico and Central America and are now grown in all sub-tropical and tropical countries. Papayas are spherical or pear-shaped fruits that carry many vitamins and minerals.
Papayas are very nutritious. A serving or one papaya provides over 300% of your daily value of vitamin C, about 118 calories and 1 gram of protein. Papayas are also rich in vitamins A, E and K and contain a high content of folate, potassium and dietary fiber. They also contain a high volume of antioxidants that react to synergistically to provide DNA-protecting effects. Together, these nutrients help reduce risks of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Papayas are in their peak season from June until September. Once considered quite exotic, papayas are available in your grocery store all year round.
Below is a quick and easy recipe for papaya pudding:
Preparation Time: less than 5 five minutes
1 ½ cups sliced papaya
2 tablespoon low-fat milk
1 teaspoon sugar
Blend the papaya, milk and sugar in a blender. Pour the mixture into cups and put to chill. You can dazzle the pudding with a touch of whipped cream for a sweeter treat. Serve chilled.
Papaya pudding provides about 20-25 calories per serving. You can enjoy all 4 servings for a scrumptious and healthy snack!
A random collection from the world of RunJunkEes