Thinking of trying out a new sport in 2018? Throughout January, we will be sharing tips to give you the extra nudge you need to take on that new athletic feat! Today, we start with running.
We’ve barely dusted off the New Year’s Eve confetti, and it’s already time to hit the ground running… literally. We’re talking to you, swimmer, cyclist, gym enthusiast, and any other athlete not currently in love with running. New year, new you, new sport!
Of course, we’re not suggesting you drop your first love. But, if you resolved to push yourself further, train harder, or just branch out more in 2018, running may be for you. Here are some tips to get started and ways we think adding running to your repertoire will help you be the best athlete you can be:
- Form First – You may look at runners and assume they run like any of us – whether taking off to catch our escaping dog or seizing a poorly thrown Frisbee—just for a much longer distance. No, no, dear friend. If you run with poor form, you risk injury and will find the run less enjoyable. The quick and dirty advice: avoid heel strikes when you run. Try to land flat-footed or on the ball of your foot. Run tall with your head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over legs. Also, there is a “lean from the ankle” camp you can check out. There are great resources out there to help with form. Read up before you lace up!
- Listen to Your Body – We know you hear this all the time, but with a new discipline, you’ll be listening for different cues. Running will engage your muscles differently. It will also take a different toll on your feet, back, hips, and leg joints. Know that fatigue or pain you’re accustomed to in the pool or on the bike may mean something else when you’re on the track. Be prepared to dial it back, walk it or adjust your training if needed for the next run.
- Plan Carefully – As those joints and muscles are engaged in new ways, you’ll need to be vigilant in planning your running sessions around your current training schedule. An intense run on Tuesday is likely going to impact your abilities to go the distance on Wednesday. Be mindful of what you need to get done. Intentionally plotting your runs into your existing schedule will help you enjoy running while not sacrificing performance in your primary sport. When and how much you run will need to vary in tandem with your other athletic demands.
- Don’t Jump Ship – Remember when you first started this sport you now love? It was hard. You made mistakes. There’s a good chance you thought about calling in quits a time or two. Like you did then, stick it out with running. Does it seem to zap your energy for other training sessions? Revisit your calendar to create a better schedule. Drop your distance or lower your pace/intensity. Allow yourself the time to play around with form, technique, and planning.
- Seek Community – You’re likely not the lone athlete in your field of expertise looking to branch out. Find some likeminded athletes and train together.
Paying Dividends –
- For swimmers, running can improve your cardiovascular fitness and further strengthen your hip, quad, and hamstring muscles—all necessary for a strong kick, stamina, and form in the water. Running will also help with conscious breath control.
- Cyclists will also benefit from the leg, glute, and core muscle workouts running provides. The impact-heavy process of running also improves bone density.
- Most obviously for all athletes, you really only need shoes to run. If you’re traveling or only have access to your bike/pool at very specific times, running is a great way to stay active and keep moving.
One of the great things about being an athlete is that constant desire to push limits and reach new heights. Integrating new disciplines is a way to more fully engage your body and expand your abilities.
Are you an athlete who introduced running into your existing regimen? What challenges did you face? What benefits did you see? We would love to hear from you. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If cramping has kept you from running before, or if it comes along with your new endeavor, we’re here to help! HOTSHOT is the only product scientifically proven to treat and prevent muscle cramps! Pick up your supply here.
Best of luck as you begin this new challenge!