The arrival of beautiful weather makes it an ideal time to discover new passions and learn unique ways to get your body moving. Since the beginning of the period of social distancing, we've all been finding new things to do with our time. And not surprisingly, this has led many Quebecers to start a new sport: running.

In addition to being beneficial for the body and mind, running is a great sport because it doesn't require a lot of equipment. All of you need is some good shoes, headphones, a little will power, and you're ready to go!

It's the perfect way to get your heart rate up without having to spend a dollar.

If you're new to the mythical world of running, we've made a list of a few things you should know before you get started.

Dominic Royer, kinesiologist and trainer at Boutique Endurance and Dominic Baillargeon, CEO and physiotherapist at Nxt Generation PHYSIO, gave us their best tips to make your races easier and more enjoyable.

By the end of this article, you'll know how to become the runner you've always wanted to be!

Dominic Baillargeon gave us a rather important reminder: "Just because you can train indoors for 30 minutes doesn't mean you can run for 30 minutes."

"It's a very repetitive movement, it's thousands of jumps in a short period of time. Imagine if you did thousands of squats for 30 minutes non-stop," Baillargeon pointed out.

 

1. Make sure to warm-up 

As with most things in life, there's often a tendency to forget to warm-up.

Before going out running, you can run on the spot, barefoot, three times for one minute to activate the nerves underneath your feet.

You can also walk outside slowly for five minutes to get your body heat up.

2. Take one step at a time

It's simple. Dominic Royer mentions that you have to be able to walk several times a week for a long time (20 to 45 minutes), without feeling pain.

Then, before you start trying to break records and running long distances non-stop, alternate running sequences with a little walking. Royer gives the example of alternating one minute of walking and one minute of running for a total of 20 minutes.

"Repeat this training three to four times a week and see how your body reacts. You can increase the running time over the weeks. The important thing is to run and walk very slowly for optimal recovery."

But when you start your jog, try not to get discouraged quickly.

3. Go slowly but surely

Your outings during your first weeks of running should be 20 to 30 minutes long (three to four km), done three to four times a week — and then you start to increase.

When you first start, run at low speed or even too slowly: you should be able to keep up a conversation easily. 

"People think that running fast is the best way to improve, but it's quite the opposite. Don't rush and listen to your body," warns the race coach.

When short distances become easier, you can slowly increase to five and six km.

4. Don't be in a hurry

Running requires great wisdom and incredible control. If you're in a hurry to improve, you'll peak or even hurt yourself. As Dominic Royer says, "remember that running one kilometre is always better than none."

So go one kilometre at a time and be proud of yourself!

 

5. Ease the impact

Increasing the number of steps to 180 per minute will help to better absorb impacts to avoid creating shock waves and injuries to knees, back, ankles, etc. 

You've probably seen, if you started running without paying attention to these tips, the pain is felt quite quickly afterwards.

Also, make sure to concentrate so that you don't land on your heels or toes. You really want to cushion with the middle of your foot.

6. Set realistic goals

For example: if you tell yourself that you want to run a marathon in the next few months on your first outing, such is not realistic.

Maybe your cardio will be ready, but your body and your muscles definitely won't be. Running is like any sport, it takes practice and proper physical preparation.

7. Make it a fun time

Prepare your best playlist, put on clothes that make you feel comfortable in and let's go!

Allow yourself to disappear into your thoughts, prepare your plans, and dreams in your head and the road will seem much shorter.

8. Buy the right shoes

The old sneakers that you've had in your wardrobe for three years are probably not adequate to start running. While yes, it's possible to run in any shoe, the fun can quickly be compromised and injuries can occur if you don't wear proper ones.

So buy a shoe that's comfortable, that you like, and that you have enough room in. If you're ordering online, take half a point larger than your other running shoes.

When you receive them, make sure you try them on for a good hour at home to see if anything bothers you. You shouldn't have numbness in your feet. Use well-known models that have received positive feedback in the past.

Dominic Royer advises a shoe with a lightly cushioned sole, without going to extremes, and to go with good value for money.

"It doesn't do any good to choose a shoe at $300. Even I, who've been running for years, go with models between $130 and $160."

9. Do mobility exercises 

Have you ever heard of a foam roller and a lacrosse ball? Well, they should become your new best friends.

Dominic Baillargeon illustrated that "a muscle is a pump, so you want to be able to activate it, contract and release it. If you can't relax, people who are less flexible have a higher risk of injury. It can cause a snap and even go to the sciatic nerve."

The foam roller and the ball allow you to be effective than regular stretching. You'll save a lot of time!

If you don't know how to use them, many physiotherapists offer mini-courses to help you be independent at home. You can also find interesting tips on the Instagram page of NxtG MOBILI-T.

You're now ready to take up your new hobby on your own.


This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.

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