First, we gave you eight runs around New England this spring to get you motivated. But if that didn’t do the trick, maybe some advice from the experts will. Check out these five tips for both newbies and elite runners from some local running mavens who know a whole lot more about speed than we do.
Starting from scratch
If you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle and you’re looking to get started on a healthier path, Joe DiStefano, co-creator of the Spartan SCX Certification program, has this suggestion. “For a month walk as much as possible, get up every 15 minutes and squeeze your butt cheeks, get to bed by 11 p.m., get rid of anything with sugar, and don’t drink anything but water. Once you lock those habits in, then start exercising.”
Lisa Klinkenberg is a seasoned Boston-area competitor. She’s competed in numerous running events and has become heavily involved in the OCR scene. Here are her recommendations for setting reasonable goals.
1) “Move every day. No matter what it is, get in the habit of moving every day.”
2) “Find a community.”
3) “Register for a race. Having a deadline will add a new, different motivation to train – you’ll have a reason to get out there when you’re looking for an excuse not to today.”
4) “Run outside.”
5) “Start with a 5K.”
DiStefano: “For a seasoned runner, old-school strength training is best. For most folks, a little of that but Airdyne bikes and Concept 2 rowers are tremendous for short sprints. Day hiking on tough terrain, or if you’re in the gym, the StairMaster is a great machine.
Klinkenberg: “Core work, yoga, and functional body-weight movement.”
Shoes and gear (and chaffage solutions)
John Goldrosen, board member of Colonial Road Runners and longtime director of the Blue Hills Trail races, has this to say about shoes: “The wrong shoes will get you injured, so the right shoes are whatever allows you to keep running. To me, shoes are right when they are so natural on your feet and fit so well that you don’t give them any thought. Fitness will help you run faster, not any particular shoes.”
On chaffing, Klinkenberg recommends “avoiding cotton and ill-fitting clothes that seem to rub. Aquaphor is also a very good product.”
Mistakes to avoid
Goldrosen’s words of caution on mistakes he often sees: “Not listening to their bodies and becoming injured … being obsessive about meeting a goal and feeling discouraged to fall short. I cringe when I hear someone say or write, ‘I need to run x miles on Saturday…’ It should always be, ‘I WANT to run x miles.’ Also, doing all their running on pavement is a mistake. The elite runners (whether Kenyan or American) do most of their running on dirt roads, and less elite runners who are doing 40-70 miles a week can reduce the risk of injury significantly by varying the surfaces they run on, as well as pace.”
[Photo: Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff]