Running tips for newbies

Do you know how long a 5K is compared to a 10K? How about the difference between sports beans and GU? Do you wish you knew what type of shoe best fits your stride?

For all of you newbie runners out there, there’s a lot you need to know before going into your first race. To avoid injury, over training, and, yes, even black toenails, there are a few steps you need to take before earning the elite runners’ status.

Avoid going too far too soon
Increasing your mileage too fast doesn’t give your body the proper time it needs to adjust to a new sport. Start out slow and listen to your body. Be careful not to increase long runs by more than a mile each week. And don’t forget to take at least one day of rest per week — your muscles repair themselves on rest days.

Great (and free!) training programs can be found online at www.runnersworld.com.

Buy shoes that fit
The wrong shoe can affect your entire run and cause injury later on. Avoid running in cross-training shoes, walking shoes or street sneakers. Experts at a running specialty store will watch you walk and run, measure your stride and find the right shoes for your body.

Try Rapid Transit (115 Allen St.)

Stay properly fueled
On warm days and long runs, make sure to carry water with you to stay hydrated. If you don’t like carrying a water bottle, fuel belts, which strap around your waist and hold mini water bottles, are a convenient way to bring water on a run.

GU (a packet of gel), sports beans (chewable) and Gatorade are great supplements to replenish lost electrolytes and carbohydrates halfway through a long run.

Wear comfortable clothes
Runner’s tights, windbreakers and Nike running shorts are excellent investments, and athletic socks that aren’t too tight are essential, too. Many runners make the mistake of wearing uncomfortable socks, which can lead to black toenails.

Mix up your workouts
To optimize your training, don’t forget to include speed workouts, hill workouts and cross training (like cycling, swimming or lifting weights). Mixing up your workout will provide the best results, allowing you to kick asphalt on race day.

Photo by Ian Lopera