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Getting back into running- advice?

Becky2010-05-01 06:44:33 +0000 #1
I've been an "on again, off again" runner since college. Never really got serious about it, and typically run only when I can't ride (e.g., travel). That said, I've decided to start running with a couple of friends at a local park once a week. Both the social interaction and the cross-training will be good for me.

Cycling has given me the fitness to do 2 or 3 easy miles without too much trouble. I'm more concerned about the effects of impact on joints and muscles that aren't accustomed to running yet. I'm also concerned about a nagging IT band that, while better than it used to be, still gives me little twinges now and then (treating with active isolated stretching, foam roller massage and ice, as needed).

So, experienced running ladies, what advice do you have with regards to injury prevention and how to safely "ramp up" distance for someone trying to get back into running?

ETA: I do have good shoes that were properly fit by a local running store, so I think I'm ok there.

Thanks in advance!

indigoiis2010-05-01 06:46:37 +0000 #2
You may want to check out Chirunning. There is a book and dvd, and a website. It definitely helped me with running pain and injury free. Your local library probably has the book so I always recommend that first, and then if you would like to own it, you can order it on their site.
OakLeaf2010-05-01 06:52:03 +0000 #3
+1 on Chi Running.

And something that's more implicit than explicit in Chi Running - foot strength. Even if you don't decide to transition to barefoot running, you need to have a good foundation, or all the rest of your body mechanics will be off. Yoga and other barefoot regimens - and just walking around barefoot or in Vibram Five Fingers shoes - are good for building foot strength. That's assuming you have healthy bone structure in your feet (I still haven't found an expert I trust to tell me about mine - but that's another thread).

Having come in two years from running 3-4 miles only when I traveled, to running 3-5 miles once a week, to my first half-marathon yesterday, IMO you need to do any activity at least three days a week to be able to gain fitness and learn good form. I don't necessarily ride three and run three every single week - it depends on what I'm training for at the time.

The general rule is increase mileage by no more than 10% per week - less than that if you're having trouble with injuries. And be diligent about stretching immediately after a run. A thorough stretching routine takes me at least 20 minutes, sometimes more, which is kind of annoying if I'm running short, but I think it really helps ward off injuries.

Good luck and have fun!
Becky2010-05-01 07:50:28 +0000 #4
Sounds like I need to find the Chi Running county library system only has it in Spanish!

Regarding stretching: does it have to be immediately after activity, or can I drive home from the park first (maybe 15 minutes) and stretch where it's warm and dry?

I've heard of the 10% rule and it makes sense, but what's a safe distance to start with, or is it simply what I can run without "bad" pain? (Injury type pain, rather than good "new muscles" pain.)
hoffsquared2010-05-01 07:01:28 +0000 #5
+1 on ChiRunning.

There is a nice brief pre-run stretch routine in the book.

I've also found some short yoga routines helpful for post run stretching. Women's Running Magazine had a routine from Sage Rountree. She has quite a few videos : & podcasts : on her website. She also has training routines for several distances.
indigoiis2010-05-01 07:50:33 +0000 #6
I don't stretch beforehand, but I do loosen up as per the Chirunning exercizes in the book.

For stretching after, I am not that diligent but I do stretch enough to loosen up the hardest used groups. I try to incorporate it into whatever else I am doing at the time if I am pressed for time. Sometimes I run on my lunch break and don't have time for 20 minutes of stretching, so I will stretch while I am "mopping down" and changing in the bathroom. When I am untying my shoes... when I am brushing my hair... etc.

I also have a farm and in the a.m. have to feed the animals and clean up after them - I try to use that as an opportunity to do both stretching and strength training. Otherwise I just would not have time.

Becky, if you want to borrow my Chirunning book, I can send it to you if you promise to send it back when you are done. PM me if you would like to borrow it.

Becky2010-05-01 08:55:38 +0000 #7
Indy, that's so generous of you! I'm going to check a couple of used book stores nearby but, if they don't have it, I may take you up on that offer.
tjf92010-05-01 09:29:52 +0000 #8
+1 on the 10% rule. If your 40 or over, I've even heard 5% per week is a safer rule. Personally, I think 30 minutes is a good place to start - long enough to feel like you've gotten a workout in, but short enough that you won't hurt yourself. If you weren't already in good aerobic shape, I'd suggest couch to 5K. If you find yourself with little aches and pains you still might want to go that route because it really eases you into running and gives your body a chance to adapt to the impact.

I have a good friend who was in a similar place as you - aerobically fit, but not in running shape. She used couch to 5K, then one hour runner, and then kept building. She's running her first half this coming weekend, and she's only had minor aches and pains through the process (she started the program back in June-ish, I think).

Best of luck with your running! If you are interested in couch to 5K or one hour runner, google them and you should find info. If you can't find it, PM me and I can send some info on.



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