Angela LaBorde Pequino |
My legs are moving as fast as they can when I take my first few strides down the street. I think to myself, “Oh it won’t be long until I feel this way throughout the whole run.” Moments later, I stop and walk, winded and out of breath. This is what getting back into running has looked like for me. It definitely hasn’t been easy, but I know I’m moving in the right direction. Whether you’re coming back from an injury, or just deciding to start running after some time off, you have to start somewhere. If you’re looking to begin, here are some things that have helped me along the way.
A lot of Stretching and Strength
Stretching is a big part of running. Your muscles need to be flexible and loose in order to work optimally. It’s important to stretch both before and after running. In order to activate your muscles do dynamic stretches, where you’re moving while stretching before beginning your run. After the run, be sure to stretch statically, where you are still. It’s also important to do core, hip, and arm exercises. One to two days a week, carve out some time to strengthen the rest of your body.
One Day at a Time
It’s important to take each run one day at a time. In college I remember having an off day. I told my teammates I would run more the next day to make up for it. They told me not to do that and to just run my best at each run. That was something I never forgot. Don’t beat yourself up and make up for it the next day. Do what you can today. If it’s not that far or fast, it’s okay. Take each run one step at a time.
Celebrate the Small Things
Be proud of yourself for what you’re doing. Get excited about the little things. The other day I ran half a mile farther than I have been. Even though it’s the slowest and least amount of mileage that I’ve ever done in my life, I felt proud. When you do this it helps motivate you to continue trying your best. Celebrate every step!
Pick a Distance or Set a Time
After your first couple of runs, you will get an idea of how far you are able to go. Once you establish that distance, try to run a little farther each week. If focusing on the distance is overwhelming, then you can focus on time. Try running for ten minutes one week and then fifteen the next.
Don’t Run Every Day
Crazy, right? When just starting out it’s actually better to NOT run every day. Run three to four times a week. This gives your muscles time to recover.
Remember to take your time and be consistent. You will get to where you want eventually. Do what’s worked for you in the past as well. Happy running! Let’s get back into this together.