Ever watch marathon runners cross the finish line, secretly wishing to be part of that adrenaline-packed crowd? Whether your goal is to raise your fitness level, reduce stress, lose weight, improve cardio health or complete, it’s never too late to trade in your couch-spud status for a runner’s high – regardless of age or fitness level. We at Redirect Health know what kind of struggle it is to stay active. Let us get you started on that first step to running.
The First Step to Running
Your Heart will love it. Running even five to 10 minutes a day at a low pace can drastically reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, says the journal of the American College of Cardiology. The chief goal is to avoid injury. “Most injuries occur from running too far, too fast,” says Nate Wallack, manager at Runner’s Den, 6025 N. 16th St., a Phoenix family business started in 1978 by his father Robert “Rob” Wallack.
Over the years, Runner’s Den has organized training programs and sponsored races for thousands of runners of all levels. “One thing new runners all have in common is that it is going to take a while to become accustomed to spending that much time on their feet.”
For that reason, he likes time-based training for beginners. “There’s nothing wrong with taking some walking breaks if that’s what helps make the workout more comfortable,” Nate Wallack adds.
“The goal in the early stages should be keeping your heart rate up for the amount of time you’ve committed to and getting a feel for where your limits are. “Running is such a great sport because it can be made specific to the individual. The key is finding the goal that’s going to work for you."
BEGINNERS GUIDE TO RUNNING
• Start with a 15-minute brisk walk 3-4 days a week. Add 5-10 minutes until reaching 35 minutes at a relaxed pace.
• Been off the grid? Walk for two weeks or do aerobic exercise 30 minutes per day 4-5 days a week before running. Increase running no more than 10 percent per week.
• Set short and long-term goals — a huge motivator for runners of all levels. Try setting a new PR (personal record) in a specific race or distance. Track your progress.
Stretch after you’ve warmed up. It generates blood flow and increases flexibility.
• Wear a heart monitor.
• Stay hydrated.
• Breathe through your mouth. It brings in more oxygen than breathing through your nose.
• Eat for energy, clean and lean
Where Runners Get Their Start
Scottsdale attorney Marc Blonstein took up running after his office gave him and his wife Joy a jogging stroller before the birth of their daughter, Rachel 19 years ago. He admits getting into shape wasn’t fun.
“It hurts,” Blonstein recalls. “It was tough to keep going those first few weeks.”After entering his first 10k, he was hooked. “I hired a coach and changed up my training routines. Running really started being fulfilling.”
His advice to beginners: “Run short distances. Be patient. Gradually increase distance and it will be a lot more pleasant getting there.”
Forty races and an Olympic triathlon later, 48-year-old Blonstein has upped the ante, training for his first half-Iron Man. “Once you start setting goals for a purpose, you see what impact they really have.”
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
• If over 40 or have health issues, see your doctor.
• Purchase quality running shoes.
• Wear non-cotton socks. Cotton absorbs moisture that can cause blisters.
• Wear clothing to keep cool in summer, warm in winter and dry when it’s wet.