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These practical running tips will get you on the right path for a spring jog
It’s true that the West Coast has more than its fair share of grey days, but Vancouver is a great city for jogging. With access to plenty of trails, paved roads and hills, we are spoiled with scenic outdoor exercise space. If you feel like running is something you want to try out this spring, here are some helpful tips to get you on the right path.
You know how people say, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail?” Like most clichés, this saying is annoying but has a root of accuracy. Plan to succeed by keeping a weekly dry erase board on your fridge recording your runs and noting how each one goes (what works and what doesn’t.) The following week you will be able to plan more effectively based on these notes and it will help motivate you to keep improving.
Get a Suitable Shoe
You need a shoe that will support the way your foot hits the ground and that suits the terrain that you plan to run on. A good place to find a shoe expert is at a running store that also hosts clinics, like The Running Room. A good store will measure your foot and determine if you have any imbalances without trying to sell you the leather protector spray at the register.
Before you start running, always stretch for at least 5 to 10 minutes. After warming up, a dynamic stretch where you are actively moving is beneficial rather than holding a stretch while you’re standing still. Try to alternate forward and side lunges, making sure you are actively warming and stretching the your hips. For a cool down, you do can more traditional static stretches, always making sure to stretch the hips/buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings.
Choose a Run
If you’re looking to participate in running events or even marathons, check out a website like runguides.com. This site has a large list of runs for 2014 held in Vancouver and also allows you to select a month and distance in its search engine.
To find out what surface you like to run on, you need to try different things. Here’s a breakdown to help get you started.
Pros: Predictable, even texture which makes accidental injuries, such as twisting an ankle a lower risk. The texture of sidewalks also helps prevent slipping during wet weather.
Cons: Cement does not absorb impact well, so make sure you are wearing good shoes and allowing your joints to rest between sessions.
Pros: Asphalt is easier on the joints, muscles and tendons than its neighbour the sidewalk and also makes it easier to maintain a running rhythm.
Cons: This is pretty obvious, but you put yourself at risk when you share the road with large and fast moving masses of metal. Take precautions such as wearing reflectors at night, running against traffic, always assuming a car doesn’t see you (you be the one to move out of the way) and running without earbuds.
Pros: Ever-changing terrain means less repetition of movement, which decreases the likelihood of associated joint and muscle problems. Also, Mother Nature’s asphalt (packed dirt) is pretty effective in absorbing impact (she’s so wise).
Cons: Unpredictable ground can make it easy to trip or lose your footing. Just make sure to always be aware of your path, erring on the side of caution rather than speed.