HOW TO JOG…SAFELY (NOW THAT MY YOGA STUDIO IS SHUT DOWN INDEFINITELY!)
A mere two days into our post apocalypse, social distancing experiment, around the fortieth time my first grader reminded me of how bored she was, it really hit me. It could be months before I see the inside of a yoga studio again! That was precisly the moment when the shock waves shot through me. For years, those rooms, with that smell — that strange smell of lavender and tee tree, mixed with whatever the hell they use to cover the smell of 40 sweating bodies in an 108 degree room — had become my sanctuary! At least twice a week for the past four years I have counted on yoga to be my…well, to be my everything! What the hell was I going to do for the next‘God only knows’ how long without it? After only one day of back-to-back FaceTime calls with clients, my first day at that, I was in physical pain. Staring at a computer screen of talking heads is in no way the same as being in back-to-back in-person meetings. Not to mention the effect it was having on my head, neck, and shoulders to stare down at a computer 16 hours a day.
As I contemplated the horror of what the mental and emotional costs of this new normal could actually be, not to mention the thought of seeing myself in a bathing suit after having been home bound, trapped in my apartment for maybe months (and right before beach season no less), I reminded myself, ‘Sam, why don’t you go do some meditation!’ Without another thought, I picked myself up and brought myself into the other room. About 40 minutes later, after a much needed, as relaxing as could be, meditation, a thought popped into my head. Why not take up jogging again? The weather has been so nice and with spring just days away now, it’s only going to keep getting nicer!
The only problem of course is that I have not run in years! Once I found yoga, that was it. I swore my allegiance and never looked back! As I thought about more I realized I have absolutely no idea how to go about running. Do I even own running shoes?
Oh, I have sneakers. But are they the kind that you’re supposed to be running in down the streets of NYC? The last time I was serious about running on pavement was about the time I was competing in our annual middle school color wars tournament. Luckily, as the CEO of a mental health and wellness company, and soon to be owner of a fitness studio, I knew exactly who to call to find out.
So for those of us stuck inside for the foreseeable future, having had your exercise routine halted, here’s what you may want to consider to hit the ground running!
I asked MYND MVMT’s Nutrition & Health Coach, Morten Jensen, who has spent the last year marathon running and training, and is currently in training for 12 more marathons, for some basic beginners’ tips. Here’s what he had to say.
Running Tips for Beginners
1. Make sure to use shoes designed for running! Believe it or not, shoes really do matter! Especially when it comes to running! Make sure that you are using shoes designed for running before you start pouring the pavement. Trust me. This is an important detail!
2. Warm up using some dynamic stretching for about 5–10 minutes. Dynamic stretching includes things like butt kicks, high knees, leg swings and maybe even some bodyweight squats and lunges. Stretching with movement.
3. Don’t do too much, too fast! Of course it wouldn’t be hard to imagine those of us who are particularly competitive to try and go all out on our first day, just to prove to ourselves that we can! Start out with run-walking, alternating from running to walking and back again. As eager as you might be, your body isn’t used to the impact of running yet, so do yourself a favor and start out slow. Try alternating running and walking, for example one or two minutes running followed by one or two minutes walking. Play with it, and build on that.
4. Short steps — not long strides. Short and easy steps are much more effective and less taxing for your body than longer strides. Your foot should land mid-sole and directly underneath your body, not out in front. This helps to avoid injuries.
5. Don’t forget your arms. You want to find a comfortable rhythm when you’re running, and using your arms effectively can help you do that. Arm swings can help you keep your balance while running while reducing energy expenditure. It also helps to propel you forward and lift your body off the ground as you are running. As much as possible, your arms should move straight forward and back and not cross the body.
6. Go for a softer running surface. You want to ease your joints into the impact of running and choosing a softer surface in the beginning like dirt path can help you do just that.
7. Always cool down, which is easy to do with a slow walk home after your run and finish with some stretches.