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October 21, 2012

Top Ten List for Runners

by Anne Paddock

Runners can be an opinionated lot as every road running enthusiast has a system that works for them regarding training, diet, clothing and yet, there is a lot of crossover. Consider shoes – most runners agree the foot needs some type of cover especially for distance but the recommendations vary depending on the type of arch support, stability and cushioning needed. No one shoe works for everyone just as no one set of recommendations work for every runner. That said, I have learned a lot over the past few years and although I’m not an expert, I wish I knew then what I know now:

  1. Find a comfortable fitting shoe and cautiously approach any new trend in footwear. I was always a Mizuno wearing runner and swore by the mens shoes because of the extra width.  A few years ago, I switched to a much lighter shoe that was absolutely easier to run in (there is a difference between a 10-12 ounce running shoe and a 15-16 ounce running shoe) but didn’t give me the cushioning I needed. Within 6 months, I had a fractured metatarsal and was down for 7 weeks. I went back to Mizuno’s with Lynco orthotics and my feet are doing fine. The old cliche “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” comes to mind.
  2. Drink lots of water especially if temperatures are above 70 degrees. I wear a water belt with a container of water when temperatures are 70 or if the run will last more than an hour.
  3. Get lots of rest. It’s sometimes hard to go to bed early but your body will benefit greatly from much-needed sleep.
  4. Dress for the weather. I dress differently for a run in 40 degree temperatures than 60 degree days. In fact, I have categories in my head that tell me how to dress when the temperatures are above 70, 60-70, 50-60, 40-50 30-40, and below 30. No matter how I feel in the house, I let the weather report guide my clothing decisions.
  5. Make ice your new BFF.  Take an ice bath after every run. For runs that are 6 miles or less, I only submerge my feet in ice for 15 minutes but for every run 8 miles and longer, I submerge my whole lower body in 20-30 pounds of ice in 6 inches of cold water for 15 minutes. It’s tough (the first minute is the worst) but the ice  really makes a difference in how my feet and legs feel later in the day.
  6. Wear a Road ID bracelet. This bracelet has become a semi-permanent part of my wrist. A small mental plate with 6 lines of information attached to a rubber band or a velcro band, the Road ID provides necessary information if something happens.
  7. Tell someone where you are going.
  8. Listen to your body. Nearly every runner runs through some sort of discomfort that comes with running long distances or running fast. There are different types of discomfort and if an injury occurs, pain signals are sent for a reason: to stop doing what you’re doing. Listen. Assess. See a Doctor. Ice. Rest.
  9. On unfamiliar runs, pay attention to road names. If a road has the word “mountain” in it, be prepared to run uphill. I was in a rural area in California a few months ago and ran up a road called “Mountain View Road” which turned out to be a 4 mile climb.
  10. Finally and most importantly, enjoy your runs. Some of my most pleasurable runs are where I take my heart rate monitor off and just run for the pure joy of the sport. Know that every run is a worthwhile run.

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