Whether a beginner or return runner, it’s important to start slow and work your way up to high-intensity workouts. The more varied your physical activities are, including field sports and hiking, the better a runner you’ll be says Club 16’s director of personal training
The Vancouver Sun 2020 Sun Run is April 19, more than two months away, but now is the time to start training, including cross-training in the gym and in other sports.
“The first thing they should be doing is just start by walking and getting comfortable with daily exercise,” says Tim Kelly, director for personal training for the Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness chain.
The next step is alternating walking with running on a graduated scale, eventually running more than walking, he said.
This is good advice for beginners or first-time 10K participants, as well as for former runners or athletes, to slowly build the muscles and movements needed for distance running.
“Some people say, I used to run, but the body’s not used to running, so it takes time for the muscles to adopt to the new activity,” he said.
As they train, runners should incorporate some resistance training.
“It’s really more for preventing injuries,” said Kelly. “You need strong legs and strong hips, as well as a good strong core and strong arms that help propel you forward when you run.”
And “a focus on resistance training is going to make you a better runner overall,” he said.
At first, runners can start using body weight only, by doing leg squats, lunges, pushups, planks and glute bridges, before incorporating weight machines or free weights, said Kelly.
It’s important before beginning training to be assessed by a personal trainer, who can do a movement assessment because each person’s imbalances and asymmetries are unique, said Kelly. A personal trainer will develop a training regime that will take those shortcomings into account.
The training in the gym should increasingly become more dynamic and intense to produce fitness results, he said.
They could do a cross-training program designed specifically for running and participate in other sports during training for the run.
“The more different types of exercise you do, the better athlete you’re going to be,” said Kelly.
And he said it is important for each person to push themselves to improve their fitness level without causing pain or injury.
“It’s all about listening to your body,” he said. Pushing yourself to the point of muscle soreness the next day is okay, but pushing through the pain during training is not.
“Soreness is expected afterwards, but not during,” he said. “Don’t try to run through the pain, you’re only going to make it worse.”
Complementary sports include any fields sports that involve high-intensity sprinting and then backing off, such as soccer, basketball or baseball.
“Hiking is probably going to be the best because you’re going up and down, climbing over rocks and you’re basically doing a slowed-down run,” said Kelly.
It’s important to alternate intense training days with less-intense days, and incorporating a stretching and strengthening session, such as Pilates or yoga, at least once a week “is a good way to slow things down” while still training, he said.
And fascia stretching for runners is an important way to flush out the lactic acid that causes soreness by increasing the blood flow to the muscles you work, he said.
“A foam roller is a runner’s best friend.”
And when injured, it’s usually ice for the first 12 to 24 hours to treat the inflammation and heat to increase the blood flow after that.
To avoid injury, “it’s just important that you vary your activity by switching the body parts you train and alternating aerobic versus resistance and short distance runs with long distance runs.
And on rain or snow days is not excuse to interrupt your training but instead move it indoor to any cardio machines, like ellipticals, stationary bikes or treadmills, said Kelly.