You see your friends catch the running bug one by one while others are all talk, and you’re too busy to make up your mind? Although running has many benefits, you have to know the basics to get off on the right foot. | By Marjolaine Jetté
WHY TAKE UP RUNNING?
No doubt, running is good for your health! It helps control your weight and prevent chronic diseases as well as certain cancers, adding life to years.
Plus, according to Sophie Allard, author of La course à pied au féminin, running has many other benefits. In fact, it helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, in addition to improving sleep and PMS. All good reasons to lace up more often!
THE STEPS TO FOLLOW
It’s never too late to take up running. However, it’s a very demanding sport for a beginner. According to Jean-Yves Cloutier, consulting coach for Montréal’s Oasis Marathon, the most common beginner errors are to run for too long, too often and too fast. It’s important to start with a training program that’s chosen according to your current level of physical fitness. This program gives you the necessary guidance to avoid doing too much in the first week.
The most common beginner errors are to run for too long, too often and too fast.
WHAT IS YOUR LEVEL OF PHYSICAL FITNESS?
According to Cloutier, co-author of Courir au bon rythme, published by Éditions La Presse, which has sold more than 20,000 copies since it appeared in 2011, it’s important to choose a program that suits you. Before starting, if you’re able to walk quickly for 30 to 45 minutes per week for a few weeks already, here are the three recommended steps.
STEP A*: Go from walking to running. The goal is to run for 10 minutes non-stop after eight weeks of training where you alternate running and walking.
STEP B*: Run for 20 minutes non-stop. Still while alternating between walking and running, increase the length of your run until you’re able to run 20 minutes without walking.
STEP C*: Aim for your first 5 km race. Over a period of roughly eight weeks, run three times per week until you’re able to run a distance of 5 km. Get inspired by a workout program for improved fitness.
THE RUNNER’S DIET
Your diet and level of hydration will certainly play a role on your energy level and physical well-being during a race. Natalie Lacombe, co-author of Course à pied – Le guide d’entraînement et de nutrition and the successful book Nutrition, sport et performance, shares her tips here.
The golden rule: for 75 minutes or less of exercise, water is enough. However, if it’s hot out and you’re sweating heavily, plan to drink more and put electrolytes in your water. You should take small sips (drinking 150-350 ml) every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout.
Some people prefer not to eat right before running. However, liquids and simple sugars can give your body a little energy boost. If you have time to plan ahead, eat a low-fat snack (mostly composed of carbs) at least one hour before working out.
Running a marathon… backwards!
Backward running has been gaining ground in recent years. In fact, the 4th UK Backward Running Championships will be held on August 11. Why? It seems there are many reasons for taking it up, like burning 30% more calories with less effort. In fact, apparently, at the same speed, running backwards leads to a 15% faster heart rate since more muscle groups are engaged. Plus, several studies have shown that backward running requires significantly fewer steps to cover the same distance.
If you’re a new runner, you might experience joint pain. While respecting your body, know that several natural products can help you continue your training without being held back by discomfort. Adrien Gagnon offers a wide range of them, from a cream to capsules and even a liquid.