Training Tips

Warm-up – Stretching – Cool-down
Muscles are very much like rubber bands.  If you stretch them cold they can snap and tear.  So it is important to warm up your muscles before you stretch.    Because you are probably using muscles that are normally inactive you should expect some muscle soreness.  Stretching before and after running can limit soreness but probably will not eliminate it totally.

see also:  Stretching Worksheets One and Two from the main menu.

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Running Form
Running efficiently and using proper technique will make your workouts more enjoyable and will help in preventing injuries.  Follow these suggestions:

· Shoulders, arms and hands relaxed
· Don’t grit your teeth or clench your fist
· Keep you shoulders relaxed and not hunched
· Arm swing should be forward and back and not across your body; hands should brush at hip level
· Keep head up and eyes focused straight ahead
· Keep stride comfortable
· Breathe naturally through mouth and or nose

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Try to run at a pace that you can maintain for the entire time you are training.  You should be able to carry on a casual conversation with a running partner while you are working out.  If you are breathing heavily you are probably going too fast and need to slow down a bit.  Duration or the length of time you are running is more important than the intensity or how hard.

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Injury Prevention
If you follow the above tips they can help you avoid injuries due to running.  The most common problem that runners have is that they do too much too soon.  Don’t be over anxious to build your time too quickly.  Some common things to watch for:

· Hot Spots
-these are areas on your feet that are warning you of potential blisters.  Do not ignore them.  Sometimes your sock is simply folded over or you are rubbing somewhere against your shoe.  Make sure your socks are dry.  A touch of vaseline can help to avoid the chaffing.
-another common spot is on your inner thighs.  Vaseline will help this area as well.

· Muscle soreness
-some muscle soreness is normal and should be expected.  Using ice on sore muscles will never hurt them and will relieve even normal soreness to some degree.  If you have a more serious pull (which should not occur if you are training SLOWLY) ice will keep any swelling to a minimum.  Soreness should disappear as you continue exercising and using the same muscles.
-if soreness continues for more than few days or turns to pain cease running and seek additional medical attention

· Regular stretching will aide greatly in preventing muscle soreness and/or muscle pulls.
· Follow nutrition tips in the next section.

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When should you NOT run?
There are times that you should not run and not feel guilty about missing your training.  Don’t be stubborn.  Recognize when training will not be good for you.

     Don’t run if:
· You feel greatly overtired and physically or mentally need a break.
· You have a cold which is accompanied by chest congestion and high fever
· You have a serious illnesses
· It is unsafe weather (i.e. icy conditions, poor visibility)