Top 3 Tips for New Runners

Top 3 Tips for New Runners
Karl, SF Marathon Training Coach and Runner

I love the smell of Cytomax in the morning……….it smells like victory. However on this morning all I can smell is fear, uncertainty, and nervousness. No, I’m not on the field of battle or amongst my fellow runners in a corral waiting for the starting gun. I’m standing in front of the SFM training class of 2010.

As I walk around to meet my newbies I can’t help to think of my introduction to running……  Ah yes, a cool autumn morning the sun is just starting rise and there is a cool nip in the air. As I take a moment to enjoy the fog dancing in the trees my world is shattered.  “Private! Private!! Just what do you think you are doing?!?! Shut up and drop!”  20 pushups later I’m heading down a narrow trail freaked and stressed, soon a sense of calm took over, my pace picked up, then I was hooked. Though I won’t be yelling at anyone today I hope I can inspire them and ease their minds a bit. There is a good feeling in knowing that in the next 18 weeks I’ll get to help people push themselves to the limit, reach a huge goal, and find strength that they never know they had.

Running involves a bit more than slapping on some shoes and putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession; granted for some it comes that easy. For the rest of us we need to learn how to run efficiently, what shoes, clothes to wear, and when to drink water.

The three most common things I have to tell new runners are:

1.       Get your shoes properly fitted. Don’t buy shoes because they look cool and will look good while you are strolling about town. Go to a running specialty store or sporting goods store that has a properly trained staff. They will put you in a shoe that will work best for your running style. Sports Basement, Road Runner Sports, Fleet Feet, and Metro Sport are a few of the several places in the bay area that can take care of you.

2.       Don’t run in cotton. Well you can if you like chafing and the feeling of wearing a wet towel while you’re running. Synthetic blends with the ability to wick sweat work best; check the tag to be sure the product wicks moisture.

3.       Don’t forget to fuel and hydrate yourself before and after your runs. Fuel, Food, water, and sports drinks are your friend, get to know them. You don’t start a road trip without filling your car with gas. So why would you set out on a two hour run on an empty tank? It doesn’t have to be a big meal, peanut butter and toast will do the trick. Personally my pre-run fuel of choice is Slim Fast; I’m not drinking it for diet reasons. I like it because it doesn’t sit heavy in my stomach, it hydrates, and it’s a good source of carbs and protein. In the end you just need to provide your body with fuel so you can break the fasting cycle……breakfast. After a long run (60+ min) you need to refuel with carbs and protein (4:1 ratio). This meal is needed to replenish glycogen stores and should happen within 30 minutes but don’t go over an hour; doing this will help to speed up post run recovery by preventing you body from looking to your muscles as a source of fuel.

In the end most  listen and those that don’t come to me and ask why they are constantly tired, sore, and “Why is my skin burning?” I just smile and remind them of the big three.

Another thing I tell my new runners is that they will get a lot of information of the coming weeks and it’s up to them to pick and choose what will work for them in the end, what works for me may not work for you……. You can lead a runner to the water stop but you can’t make them drink.

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