Running has taken me on quiet the journey since I began to train more consistently 2 years ago. I originally took it up as an outlet to escape from practicing the guitar. At the time, I never would have thought that this activity would reshape my life. I went from being somewhat inactive to running 10k’s in 35 minutes and marathons in under 3 hours. I would recommend running to everyone, especially musicians who seek a healthier lifestyle. In this post, I’d like to share 5 tips to help begin this journey.
1.) Find an easy path
Come up with a relatively flat running route that has a smooth surface. Parks always work well because of the mixture of greenery and concrete surfaces. On light running days I usually run on grass or dirt trails to help my body recover from a hard workout. Parks also work well because they are more conducive to running without interruptions.
2.) Start slow
Many people make the mistake of starting out too fast. Instead of paying attention to the pace, pay attention to the effort. This will help you cover more distance over a period of time. Also, you might want to use a heart rate monitor to help guide your effort. If you’re listening to music, it can be helpful to run to the tempo. If it’s too quick, try running in half time. Interestingly, some runners use a metronome to work on their turnover (strides per minute). As you become more acclimated, set a goal for yourself. It might be to run a 5k or run straight for 30 minutes.
3.) Actively stretch throughout the day
As musicians we tend to slouch over quite a bit when practicing or composing music. We also tend to sit for a long period during the day. I’d recommend sitting up straight whenever possible. Not only will it prevent neck and back problems, but you’ll also concentrate and play better. Flexibility and running go hand-to-hand. It’s much easier to run when your muscles are loose. Stretching helps with preventing injuries, too. Come up with a routine you can do throughout the day. Also, make sure to hydrate by drinking plenty of water. By doing a little bit at a time, it will really go a long way in promoting an active and healthier lifestyle.
4.) Run while listening to your favorite songs
As a musician, I find running with music has a positive effect, especially if you’re running by yourself. I used to run to tempos a few years ago to improve my time feel when playing guitar. Of course it all depends on personal taste, but I prefer listening to moderate to fast tempos that have a bit of punch. I prefer rhythmically active songs with strong drum and bass grooves. I tend to listen to funk, flamenco, latin, African, gospel and jazz. As an experiment, see how it feels running to a fast 4/4 as well as running to a moderate 12/8.
5.) Stick with a running routine
The beginning stages are always tough, but stick with it. Eventually running becomes a part of you just like practicing. If I’m tapering for a race or recovering from a marathon, it feels weird not to run as much. As you continue your journey other aspects of your life will improve as well. In fact, you’ll probably want to eat healthier and sleep more often once you’re fully invested. You’ll also most likely improve rather quickly once you begin. This is an important trait for well-trained musicians since often times it’s harder to improve your skill set after playing for many years. By improving yourself in other areas, you’ll improve your musicianship.