Melissa Walsh

Ready, Set, Train!

Powerplay Communications | January 2011

Ready, Set, Train!

Oprah said, "Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." So it makes sense that many folks undertake conditioning for a long-distance running event, such as a 5K, half marathon or marathon, as a new year’s resolution.

Start slowly Training the body for endurance running is like training a child for living life. It requires patience and wisdom. Don’t expect too much too soon. Sports performance trainer and Rochester resident Caryn VanBeckem stresses the importance of starting slowly when beginning to condition the body for running.

“The New Year’s resolution runners say ‘I’m going to work out everyday,’ but they’re likely to give up after a few days,” VanBeckem warns. With running, they start out running a few miles and are too sore to want to keep going. She advises starting small, such as just walking, then patiently evolving a routine of alternate walking/running a few times a week. Eventually the walker/runner will fall into a runner’s stride.

Van Beckem suggests listening to music and walking to one song, then running to the next song, and so on. This is called “tempo” running, or “interval” running. To improve running speed and performance, a runner may also employ the technique of “Fartlek Intervals,” or picking a target, such as a mailbox, to set as a marker to sprint to, then run a slower rhythm to the next mailbox, sprint to the next, and so on. In addition, she advises following a smart, effective running training program that includes strength training, including weights, resistance bands, stability balls, etc.

Running benefits “Injury prevention is number one,” said Caryn. Especially when stretching properly, running strengthens tendons and muscles to prevent injuries, such as tendonitis. She says it’s important to have an “active,” or “dynamic,” warmup before a run. Then following a run, rather than before the run, a runner should undergo “static stretching.”

Weight loss is another running benefit, but people should not expect quick weight loss. “That’s not healthy,” Caryn warns. Undergoing a good cardio workout like running and the increased muscle ratio that goes with that will lead to an increased metabolism, and weight loss, or fat loss, will result naturally and gradually over time.

A better mood is another perk of running. Caryn says, “The ‘runner’s high’ happens because of the endorphins that are released when you work out. And you gain a great sense of accomplishment.”

Keep moving “If you’re really sore, the worst thing you can do is to sit and do nothing,” advises Caryn. Keep moving, but cautiously. If you’re sore from a run, then simply go for a walk the next day. Listen to your body and take breaks accordingly. Pick a day of the week, say Sunday, to do a different workout, maybe something lighter.

In cold weather, were proper attire. Avoid cotton, and keep the mouth covered with a scarf or bandana, breathing through the nose, not the mouth. Be careful when changing running surfaces, such as from outdoors to the treadmill, or vice versa. Adjusting to the new terrain could cause injuries, like shin splints. You may need to change shoes or simply pay closer attention to your step and form.

Fuel-up your engine Proper Food Intake for High-Impact Exercise 2-3 Days prior for a High Impact Activity, lasting >90 Minutes   Complex Carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, etc.) 24 Hours Prior Any Activity lasting >90 Minutes Complex Carbohydrates (bagel, pasta, potatoes, etc.) 2-6 Hours Prior to Activity Proteins (chicken, fish, tuna) Protein Bar 30-60 Minutes Post Activity Proteins, Carbohydrates & Fat Drinkable Carbohydrates with Protein

Proper Hydration for High-Impact Exercise Day before high-impact - hydrate throughout the day with water 2-3 hours prior to high-impact exercise - hydrate with water or a moderate amount of sports drink (12-16 oz.) During high-impact exercise - hydrate with water and sports drink, alternating every 10-20 minutes Post high-impact exercise - hydrate with water and moderate amount of sports drinks(12-16 oz.)

Courtesy of CORE Fitness   [PHOTO] Caryn VanBeckum, MS, CSCS, USAW, is a Sports Performance Trainer at CORE Fitness in Troy and a Physical Wellbeing instructor at Oakland Community College

[PHOTO] Deb Cagigal of Rochester Hills finishes in the Chicago Marathon.