In my last running post, I wrote five suggestions for those who wish to begin running. For musicians, running is not only a great way to exercise, but it also helps with clearing the mind from practicing, teaching or composing. Listed below are five additional tips that will help promote the enjoyment of running while preventing injury and burnout.
1.) Invest in the right pair of running shoes
This is one, if not the most important investments that runners should make when putting together a routine. Although it’s tempting to purchase shoes that look cool, doing so might contribute to injury. Instead, find a running specialty store and ask for a gait analysis. A specialist will then make a few recommendations based on how you walk and run. It’s important to remember to keep it simple and wear what feels best. It’s also a good idea to periodically check to see if your gait changes over time. I went from wearing stability shoes to wearing neutrals and flats within a year.
It’s always worth the price. Shoes of running quality tend to cost between $100-140. To cut the cost, try finding an older model that a manufacturer wants to discontinue down the road. You can usually save between $20-30.
2.) Subscribe to running magazines and watch races
Trade magazines such as Runner’s World and others can help you stay up to date on nutrition, race planning and other items of interest. Although I typically stay away from forums due to negative opinions, I’ll read the posts from authoritative sources. I suggest taking the information you currently need and revisit when you want to know more about a topic.
Personally, a source of inspiration is watching major marathon races. There is no better inspiration than watching events such as The New York City and Boston Marathons. To see the energy from the crowd and to watch the elites race always motivates me to run at the best of my ability. If you need a little extra push, immersing yourself in the culture will help you tie up your shoe laces.
3.) Run with a group
Running solo is a great way to collect your thoughts and relieve stress. Running with a group or a friend can provide extra encouragement and support in your journey. I’m a firm believer that you’ll improve much quicker by running with a group because of the camaraderie running offers. If you run with a group of people on your level or faster you’ll notice the gains in fitness if you keep with it. Don’t feel intimidated by joining a running group; typically runners are some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.
4.) Sign up for a race
Signing up for a race is one of the best ways to improve your fitness level. Races hold you accountable for your training. Races also aid in setting goals, both short and long-term. There is an excitement about a race that can encourage you to better yourself for the next one. It’s also a great way to meet and connect with like-minded people. Besides, after awhile you’ll probably want a medal to show off your level of dedication, right?
5.) Don’t overdo it
From my observations, a great deal of runners overdo it. A popular talk in running circles is mileage per week. More miles per week does not necessarily mean improved performance. Each workout has a specific purpose and if you do too much at the start, you’ll either burnout or injure yourself. If you feel pain, simply don’t run! You can take comfort in knowing that some of the best east African runners will take a month off after competing in a marathon. Cross-training, strength training and core stability workouts are great alternatives that will help you run stronger. By connecting all these pieces together, you’ll be well on your way to running consistently.