Categorized as: How To

How to start Running – for the complete beginner!

Running for the Newbie

If you’re a looking to add more cardio into your weekly fitness regime,  you’ve been persuaded by co-workers to join their annual charity run, or if you’re a complete beginner and the mere thought of running exhausts you, then this beginner’s running guide is for you!

Running is an excellent form of exercise and has plenty of health benefits such as weight loss, cardiovascular health and mental health.  Ancient humans evolved running and it is one of the most basic human movement patterns. It is also thought to be the oldest ‘sport’ dating back to the very first Olympic Games. Today there are thousands of marathons and running events held each year in North America and millions of people who participate all over the world.

Running never interested me until this year when I was seeking to revamp my regular fitness program and needed some sort of athletic challenge again. I decided to join the Rep 1 Fitness trainers and clients at their annual 5 Peaks Trail run in Golden Ears Provincial Park earlier this year.

I was never a runner or a natural long distance cardio athlete. I tried running a handful of times but stopped well before any note worthy distance. Growing up a competitive gymnast I thought with the power in my legs and a good fitness background I would be able to run no problem. Think again! Long steady-state cardio like running was never part of our conditioning program in gymnastics and I soon found out I had to lose the ‘over confidence’ and learn how to run from scratch… 

Tips for the running beginner! 

  • Start Small and Build Up

The worst thing you can do for your body never-mind your confidence is to start off trying to run too much too soon.  If you’ve never run before we recommend starting with two days per week with at least two rest days in between. Start slowly and monitor how you feel. You should be able to breath comfortably while running as if you were able to carry on a normal conversation. If you find your breathing is out of control, slow down or walk for a few minutes. The key is consistency! Consistent weekly runs will add up to longer distances, faster pace and superhero status in no time! Check out our sample program below! 

  • Posture Posture Posture! 

When you’re running think upright posture, shoulders relaxed and a slight forward lean. A slight forward tilt will place your centre of mass on the front part of your foot and avoid the heel striking first. This allows the foot and ankle to use its proper spring mechanic. Core should be strong and stable. Elbows in, arms gliding close to your sides – lets please avoid the dreaded chicken-wing-elbows-flailing-out-to-the-side technique! 

Have a personal trainer at Rep 1 look at your form and running gait! 

  • Use a Fitness Tracker 

Use a fitness tracker app (there are literally hundreds to choose from!) on your phone or invest in a smart watch to track stats such as distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned. 

Apps We Like:  

Strava App 

Map my Run App

Run Keeper App

  • Follow a Consistent Program

Below you’ll find a sample running program that gradually builds up from a 2 km run to a 1o km run.  If you’re new to exercise visit your health care provider first to get cleared for running. If you’ve never run before we suggest building up your strength, endurance and running fitness base first. This can be done with walk/runs, alternating between walking and jogging intervals for 20 minutes a couple times a week. Specific strength training in the gym can also help build your running base and prevent injuries. 

Sample 8 Week 10 Km Running Program 

Cross Training (CT) refers to exercise like swimming, elliptical trainer or strength training. Remember running is the main goal here so do not exhaust yourself with overly intense cross training, it should be moderate and no longer than an hour. Make sure to always warm up first and cool down by walking and stretching after.  After your first ‘big’ run your body will want to rest and recover for a few days, read our article on rest and recovery here.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday Thursday  Friday  Saturday Sunday
Rest 2 km walk/run Cross Train or Rest 2 km walk/run Rest 2.5 km walk/run 20 minute run or cross train
Rest 2.5 km walk/run  CT or Rest 3 km walk/run Rest 3 km run 25-30 min run or cross train
Rest 3.5 km run CT or Rest 4 km walk/run Rest 4.5 km run 30-35 minute run
Rest 4 km run CT or Rest 4.8 km run Rest 5 km run 35 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 5.5 km run Rest 6 km run 35-40 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 5.5 km run Rest 7 km run 40 minute run
Rest 5.5 km run CT or Rest 6 km run Rest 8 km run 40-45 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 3 km run Rest Rest 10 km run!

If you begin to enjoy running like I did and decide to do a trail run like the the 5 Peaks or one for charity like the family friendly CIBC Run for the Cure make sure you know the race course. If it includes any hills for example ensure to add some hills into your training runs. 

Enough reading – let’s get running! Throw on some good running shoes, stay safe and happy running! 

Fun times with friends and co-workers at the annual 5 Peaks Trail Run!

Do I need a fitness tracker?

 

           Fitness tracking is not new!  ‘Back in the day’ there were books you could buy that supplied programs (for running, weightlifting, cycling, etc) and gave you charts to track your progress… with a pen!!!  But as we moved out of the era of the chisel and stone and into the 2010+ years, fitness everything can be tracked with the touch of a button, or even by just walking with a watch on your wrist.  What do you actually need to follow, or track, when it comes to personal exercise? Why is it important… or not?

           Consistency is the key to your exercise program.  Good days, bad days and in-between days are all important for you to show up and do something!  Tracking your activity/intensity level is another way to keep that consistency going. This just isn’t for fat loss but also for strength training.   

           Some people just track ‘steps’, and if they workout in a gym that day it usually helps increase their step number.  This is your base level of tracking but should not be discounted; hit your numbers every day and see results! Remember this will give you results for your aerobic exercise.  

DO MORE THAN JUST RECORD YOUR STEPS:

 

           But those ‘steps’ are just one piece of the puzzle… how hard did you workout that day?  A heart rate monitor combined with a step, or kms, tracker will also show you how many calories you are ripping through when you are doing a heavy sweat.  The HARDER you work, or the longer the duration, the more you burn fat! So, whether it is steady state, intensity intervals or even group fitness, the heart rate monitor will reflect what you are burning.  This calorie count, along with your step count will give you some very satisfying numbers to add to your daily life.  Blazing through 750 calories and 8,000 steps is a solid justification for that glass of wine!  (life is about balance people!)

          Working with a certified personal trainer is the ultimate fitness tracker!!!  This is a person who goes through all your peaks and valleys with you and they see the progress.  Your fitness coach will know your initial struggles and the victories that you have had along the way.  There should be a fitness assessment and record of your initial fitness values. Whether is range of motion, cardio, or strength you will know ‘where you came from’ when it comes to working in the fitness centre.  If you are in Vancouver and looking for personal training please stop by our fitness facility if you want your progress charted!

         Fitness tracking is here to stay!  There is not a bike ride I go on without tracking my km’s, my average speed, and even the wattage I am pushing into the pedals.  There is not a workout that my personal trainers haven’t designed for my needs and goals. I’m addicted to the numbers and if you are into fitness you should be too!  It will keep you honest and give you the consistency you need to keep progressing. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Getting better!

How To: Ring Muscle Up

Curious what the proper form looks like during a Ring Muscle Up? Jamiel shows us his technique! Now that is impressive… #FocusFriday #FlexFriday

How To: Increase Pull Up Strength

If you’re like trainer Krista, and looking to increase your pull-up strength, try focusing on the slow eccentric (negative) portion of the movement. Avoiding swinging or bouncing during the exercise helps prevent injury and strengthen the connective tissue around the joints involved in the movement. #FocusFriday #FlexFriday

How To: Lunge W/ Single Leg Deadlift

Krista from Rep1 recommends this combination of a lunge, right into a single leg deadlift to fire up the backside and challenge your balance! 10-15 reps, then switch legs. #FocusFriday

How To: Ab Wheel Rollout

An Ab Wheel Rollout perfectly executed by #Rep1 Trainer, Jamiel! Work those abs and keep your core strong with this exercise! #FocusFriday

Foam Rolling

If you are a gym rat and have been for the past decade, you’ve noticed a change in the gym. People have been starting to use this weird roller and grimacing while sitting on it. You are probably aware of the name of this practice: foam rolling or self myo-fascial release (SMR). But why are people doing it if it hurts so much?

WHAT IS FOAM ROLLING?

  • Foam rolling, or SMR, is a fancy term for self massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. It can be performed with rollers, Theracane, trigger point balls or even your bare hands.
  • Trigger points are “knots” (a bunch of overactive muscle fibres) that can be found in the muscle. It is very easy to find them: they hurt under pressure. A common example is the tenderness you feel when you put pressure on some specific area of your IT band (side of your thigh).

WHY SHOULD YOU SPEND TIME ON THE ROLLER?

There are many reasons why, here are the most common:

  • foam rolling can assist in releasing trigger points and breaking up adhesions and scar tissue.
  • foam rolling increases the blood flow in the muscle.
  • foam rolling forces the muscle to relax. It stops the overactive muscle from starting the movement and allowing the under-firing muscle to work properly. This gives you a short window of time where you can teach your body a proper movement pattern. As you probably guessed, this is my favourite reason.  An example would be the client that performs push-ups with a shoulder shrug: chances are the upper trapezius are overactive, and start before the rhomboids can kick in, releasing the upper traps with SMR and stretching allow you to perform a proper push up (article coming soon).

  • I like to use rolling as a compliment to stretching. Imagine an elastic band with a knot in the middle, if you pull on it, the elastic stretches but the knot doesn’t. Foam rolling allows you to “untie” the knot before stretching, making your stretching session more efficient.

HOW NOT TO DO IT

  1. do not simply roll back and forth. It takes longer to get the relaxation that you are going for
  2. Make sure not to roll the same body part every day: you will be rolling your muscle/tendon to a pulp, creating dysfunction, and increasing the chances of injury.

HOW TO DO IT

There are two techniques that I like to use:

  1. find a tender spot and hold for a while (usually 30 seconds). You want to hold the tender spot until the pain disappears. I don’t like to give a number because it adds tension/stress to a practice that is designed to actually relax you. I like to tell my clients to breathe deeply while rolling, inhale through the nose, and exhaling completely through the mouth. This helps with the relaxation. The more relaxed you are, the quicker the pain will go.
  2. find a tender spot, and then stretch/contract the muscle. This is a more “aggressive” technique. Yes, it is my pick! One example of this method is rolling your quads (front of the thigh), then curling the leg as you would do in a hamstring curl 3 times.

A few muscles that could typically use some SMR love:

  • Calves
  • Quads
  • Hip external rotators
  • Lats
  • Rhomboids
  • Pecs

Let’s recap:

  • make sure you spend some time rolling before or after your work out, it can really help you stay injury free
  • roll out different muscle groups, and make sure you don’t always do the same spot.
  • do some stretching after to make sure the knot is completely released