Tag Archives: running tips

7 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail running is a great way to enjoy the changing leaves, crisp air and great outdoors this fall.  It’s also a little different from road running, requiring a different mindset, different muscles and a bit more time.  Here are seven tips from Team FitNice to help your trail trail runningrunning program get started in the right direction.

Accessorize.  Make sure you’re prepared for a trail running workout with trail shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses and bug spray.  You can also check out running gaiters.  These fashion accessories help keep your ankles and feet safe from stones, sticks and other trail debris while you’re out enjoying nature.

Work on your core.  Running on uneven ground challenges your balance.  The muscles of your core, abs, obliques, lower back, are what help you stay on your feet.  The stronger they are, the more stable you’ll be and that means less likelihood of injury.  Practice balance and core strengthening exercises regularly to help your trail running performance.

Leave extra time.  You’ll be looking for the path of least resistance, rather than the shortest route from Point A to Point B on the trails and that might mean switchbacks or taking the long way around.  Run for time, rather than distance until you’re familiar with different paths and the difficulties they each ask you to face.

Start slowly.  Trails are different than roads or treadmills.  They’re uneven, inconsistent and tougher on ankles and feet.  Adjust to trail running with runs short than you’d do on the road and build up trail runningover a few weeks until you feel 100% comfortable.

Keep going slowly.  With dirt paths, roots to watch out for and lots of other potential obstacles, trail running requires more effort then road running.  Slow down and run by effort rather than pace, even if it means walking uphills in the beginning.

Stay safe.  Consider head lamps, pepper spray and reflective gear.  Always be sure to take an ID, tell someone where you’re planning on going and when to expect you back.  If you can, take your cell phone or a map and be aware of what’s going on around you at all times.  Knowing the rules of the trail, such as yielding to downhill runners, equestrians and cyclists as well as staying on marked trails and running through, not around, puddles will all help you get home safely.

Bring fluids.  Trail running can be unpredictable.  Mud, rain, snow and streams all have the potential to make your run a little more hazardous, making the time it takes you to finish hard to determine.  The last thing you want to do is run out of water, so wear or stash it.  If your route crosses parking lots or picnic areas, drop a water bottle off before you start to run.  You can also use handheld water bottles, mini-bottle waist belts or a hydration pack to make sure you don’t get thirsty.

With these tips, the trail running portion of your workout is sure to be fun, safe and good for you.

Have questions about trail running?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

Start Running: Minutes, Not Miles

Many new runners are excited about getting into the sport and becoming a part of the supportive, energetic and wonderful running community.  Unfortunately, this enthusiasm is frequently derailed by injuries.  By no fault of their own, many new, uncoached runners head out blindly.  There are lots of C25K plans out there, each one with same goal: to get you from your minutescouch to a 5k Finish Line.  The problem is knowing which one is right for you.  Here’s how to approach any C25K or beginner running program and keep your training low stress, high reward and injury free.

Run for minutes, not miles.  Running for minutes ensures you get the designated time you need logged, which is more important than how far you actually travel.  Aerobic capacity is the amount of oxygen your body can use during a specific period, especially those of intense exercise.  The better yours is, the further and faster you can go.  Aerobic capacity is not built with interval training, but rather with long, sustained moderate efforts.  Running for minutes allows you to find this zone and build your base without stressing out or feeling pressured about how far you’ve gone.

By running for minutes, not miles you also decrease the intimidation factor.  An additional 5 or 10 minutes each week is much friendlier than adding as much as two minutesmiles.  Two miles?!?  That’s a long way and can take a long time.  Having success by adding 5 or 10 minute time increments will help you stay motivated, see the weekly successes you deserve and steer clear of injury.

Staying injury free is the most important part of any training plan, be it a C25K or marathon, and new runners who concentrate on miles alone tend to increase their weekly mileage too quickly.  Putting lots of new miles on legs that aren’t ready can result in injuries ranging from shin splints to stress fractures.  When running for time, not distance is the focus of your plan, you’ll gradually add minutes, and miles, while being less likely to rush and get hurt.

Coach Meredith is a USATF Level One Coach and can’t wait to help you start running!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below today!

7 Tips for Running in Snow

Winter isn’t over yet, and there’s probably more snow on the way.  Good news or bad, the same way driving on slippery roads can be treacherous, running in snow can be dangerous, too.  Anything more than an inch or two can put an unfortunate cramp in a training schedule with business closures, poor road conditions and unshoveled sidewalks.  As we head towards March, many runners are deep into training routines for Spring races and a day or two off because of unsafe running environment is much less than ideal.

Here are 7 tips from Team FitNice that will help keep you safe, warm and injury free when you want to, or have to, go running in snow.

Slow down.  You won’t want to run your usual pace in slippery conditions because it’s harder work.  Much like running in sand, running in snow recruits muscles in your inner and outer thighs that don’t work very hard on solid ground.  With them pulling overtime, you’ll feel fatigued sooner.

running in snowUse trail shoes, spikes or Ice Grippers.  Making sure your shoe has ample traction is incredibly important when running in snow.  Good treads, spikes or ice grippers add traction to each footfall and mean you’re less likely to slip, slide or take a spill.

Two pairs of socks.  If you’re heading out in the snow, you’ve probably already faced the fact that your feet might get wet.  Help keep them warm and dry with two pairs of sweat wicking socks.  Make sure your shoes still fit with an extra pair, but don’t be afraid to loosen your laces.

Change your stride.  A shorter stride will help you balance, lowering the risk of slipping and falling.  You can also improve balance by making sure your foot lands directly under your hips.  This increases the surface area of your foot that touches down and better Blizzard of 2014stability.

Find fresh snow.  At least snow that’s crunchy.  Plowed, packed snow is much more difficult to navigate that fluffy stuff that helps you grip.

Think with your eyes.  You want to be seen, so dressed in brightly colored clothing and wear a safety vest or reflectors.  You also want to avoid potholes and icy patches, so be sure to constantly scan your surroundings.

Focus on effort.  It’s hard to run adjust your stride and run in snow.  Be sure to account for the extra work your muscles are doing when you choose how far or how long to run.

Keep your running shoes close and your shovel closer as you prepare for your Spring Race Season.  Use these tips to stay injury free regardless of weather conditions and remember to always put safety first.

Did weather force you to change your schedule?  Ask us to help you get back on track!

Tips for Cold Weather Running

It’s January, and as the days roll on, the cold stays put.  Most of the nation recently experienced the brutality of 2014’s Polar Vortex, and even though everyone got through it, it’s not going to be hot any time soon.  Dealing with cold weather workout conditions, and running in cold weather, is very different from training in hot weather, so here are six tips from Team FitNice to help you find success training in chilling temperatures.

Layers.  But not too many.  When you first hear it’s going to be 20 degrees, you want to grab every piece of clothing you own and put it on.  Resist the urge!  It’s better to have too little than too much, which will end up leading you to get too hot.  Running warms the body up, and does it quickly, so dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer than it really is to prevent overheating.  If you do decide to

Clothing choices.  Speaking of those layers, it’s important they’re made of the right stuff.  Wear things made out of technical fabrics that will wick sweat, and choose items with zippers at the neck and underarm for additional cooling when you’re ready.  Be sure to include gloves or mittens (usually warmer than gloves) and a hat or ear warmer.

cold weatherHydration still matters.  Even in cold weather, you can become dehydrated.  You might not be sweating as much as you do in June and July, but you’re still doing it.  Ice water likely won’t be your first choice when it’s below freezing, and that’s OK.  Be smart, especially if there’s clean snow on the ground, that’s all the water you need.

That burning?  It stops.  The pain in your lungs during the first few cold runs of the year will go away when your respiratory system adjusts.  Take it slow and know the reason you’re only getting half a breath in before there’s screaming in your chest isn’t because you’ve suddenly fallen out of shape.

Shoes.  Snow on the ground?  Sport runners with as little mesh as possible, or if you live in a very snowy locale, pick up a pair of waterproof shoes.  Make sure you have enough tread to deal with snow covered terrain or the possibility of icy patches.  Socks that wick sweat cold weatheraway are a must, and you can always consider wearing two pairs when it’s nasty, just be sure to loosen your laces.

Change ASAP.  Your core temperature drops as soon as you finish your run.  Take off sweaty clothes, head to toe (including sports bras and hats), as soon as you can to prevent a case of the chills.  Drink something warm, like coffee, tea or hot chocolate with your post race food.  Not wrapping up near home or a coffee shop?  Take a thermos to keep your beverage hot.

Want help handling the cold or shopping for cold weather gear?  We’re here!