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Updated on April 27, 2012
Spring is a magical time that only occurs a few weeks out of the year. It’s when the world seems alive again—growing, sprouting, blooming right before our eyes. It’s easy to be swept up in that energy of revitalization. It inspires us to head straight for the door and run for miles upon miles letting the cool breeze and sweet smells encapsulate us every step of the way.
But hold your horses. Some of us might not be fully prepared to leap into that five-mile run.
That’s why we need your help. Take yourself back to those first few runs you ever did. There has to be one or two things you wish you’d known back then that you most definitely know now. It might be a certain meal you eat or a stretch you do that really does the trick. Maybe it’s an app you use or an outfit you wear that helps you train better than ever. And, yes, it can even be the running shoes.
For your insight into training, you could be greatly rewarded. What’s up for grabs? A New Balance outfit to cover your spring training needs. That’s right. We will dress you from head to toe in New Balance gear. This includes a technical running shirt, running shorts or skirt and New Balance running shoes of your choice.
So, how can you win? All you have to do is answer the simple question below in the comment section of this post:
What makes a good tip? Be specific, accurate and transparent. If there are sources, cite them. If you are living proof, show it. Did a YouTube video help you with a training method? Share it.
The best tips will be selected by the staff of RunningShoes.com. The winners will be announced each Wednesday for the next four weeks. Since a new winner will be chosen every week, feel free to enter multiple times with new tips! To kick things off, our first tip comes from the New Balance 5K Training program. It says: “On your first day of running it is ok to walk and jog. Trying to do too much too fast will cause problems.”
This very basic tip is something we often forget. Now tell us what else we’re missing from our routine!
UPDATE: We have our first winner! Congratulations to Laura Newman. We will be contacting you soon about your prize! Laura left the following tip:
“Low, slow, and close to the ground!”
Don’t over stride, don’t go out too fast, and don’t bounce. Basically, apply simple rules of physics. Run in whisper mode — if you’re stomping or thudding, you’re converting energy into sound and NOT into forward motion. If you’re a beginner, run til you can’t control you’re breath, and then walk (quick pace) til you can and repeat. I know it sounds too simple and obvious to work well, but it does. I went from 230 lb couch potato in March 2011 to walking. I started running August 9th, 2011. I ran my first marathon (River City) on March 25th, 2012 (4:58:17) and minus 100 lbs. Yes, you can too! If I can do it, anyone can do it! My favorite fitness app is Endomondo. It works on smart phones or you load Garmin or Fitbit data directly into it. It maps your runs, keeps your stats, calculates your pace, cals burned, etc. The stats and graphs make it easy for any newbie runner to dial into what works for you. Here’s the local news story covering my marathon. http://www.kcra.com/video/30757870/detail.html
This week we also have another tip from our partner New Balance. In the following New Balance-sponsored video, the following is suggested:
“A lot of overuse injuries come from not doing basic things like stretching and not warming up. Having a good routine in place is an important part of injury prevention.”
Watch the full video below.
We’re back again with the winner of week 2. And it is … (drum roll please!) … Jim Williams! Here is what Jim recommends for spring training:
Running need not be your end goal. Instead, make it part of your means to an end. Find yourself a road race six to eight weeks out from when you are starting out. Make that race your goal and running part of reaching that goal. The knowledge that you are working towards something bigger will help keep you motivated. I used a Couch to 5K app to get me started and found their corresponding Facebook page. After every training run, I posted my success on their wall. I found that many others were doing the same and it made for great encouragement and support. After finishing the 9 week app, I found that there is also a C25K Grads page that I still post to regularly. Post your daily successes on your own Facebook wall. Nothing beats encouragement from friends and family. You may even inspire someone else to start running too.
In addition to Jim’s tip, we found this great tip on New Balance’s Race Day Tips page. Check it.
If you run on a softer, uneven surface like unpaved ground you will have a lower impact workout and the muscles in your lower legs will get stronger to accommodate the uneven surface.
For those who feel like they can’t slow down, hold your horses. Our week 3 winner has actually increased her pace by taking brief walk breaks as needed. Check out what Rose has to say:
My absolute favorite training tip (and one that has gotten me this far into my running) is to not be afraid to walk. Jeff Galloway says it best, “Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.” I used to think that walking during my run made me “less of a runner” or that it was going to make me slower. Now that I’ve committed to taking walk breaks, I’ve not only dropped time off my pace but I’ve also been able to run longer distances and feel so much better the next day. So don’t worry if the crazy person running full speed past you is beating you while you’re walking–they’ll probably crash and burn 3 miles in while you’ll still be going strong.
While some of us might need to slow it down, others are ready to pick up the pace. If you are ready to really push yourself, the New Balance Race Day tips page offers this advice:
I try to keep my training runs intense. I don’t mean going all out all the time. But I expect my training runs to be fast. I want to teach my body to adjust to being as fast as I can for as long as I can. Then when race day comes, I’m all about keeping it comfortable. But since my training has been intense and fast for me, comfortable becomes faster.
If comfortable becomes faster, what happens when the temperatures outside start to rise? Our final winner Marcus gives us insight on how runner’s should dress no matter what them thermometer says:
New runners always struggle with how to play, “Dress the Runner.” Deciding what to wear for a given temperature can be tricky, and the wrong decision can make the difference between a great run and a miserable run. When I first started running twenty-five years ago, I learned about the “20 Degree Rule,” from Jim Fixx’s Complete Book of Running and I still adhere to it today. Whatever the current temperature is outside, I simply add 20 degrees to it, and dress if I were going to just “hang out” at that temperature. It’s a fool-proof strategy to keep me comfortable for the entire workout.
Last but not least, New Balance’s Race Day tips page leaves us with this sage advice: “Pace yourself and you will be on the winning side.”
This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. One winner will be announced on each Wednesday in April 2012. The contest ends on April 25 with the announcement of the final winner. The contest has now ended. Thank you to everyone who participated! Feel free to continue to leave your spring training tips in the comments section. Happy Training!