Starting Out

Summer Camp is Coming Soon…

As school continues on, summer camp appears to be in the far distant future but it is less than two months away.  If you are new to running, it is a great opportunity to prepare your mind and body for the upcoming cross country season.  Returning runners understand what to expect but can start to prepare now.  New runners can start a program to build up their endurance to be ready for the season.

Here are a few important tips for new runners (and returning ones, too):

Gear

There are some really nice looking shoes and clothing great for running but they may not be right for you.  Everyone’s stride and foot strike are different and it is important to get shoes that are right for YOU.  Discomfort and injuries can occur due to wearing the wrong shoes.  It is recommended you visit a running store specializing in helping runners get the best fit with their shoes.  The store should analyze your gait, watch your stride and recommend multiple pairs of shoes for you to try.  Try them on with an open mind and with more than a fashion eye.  Comfort and function are the most important part of the shoe.  Great designs and colors are more awesome when the fit is perfect!  

Here are a few area stores that specialize in helping runners get the right pair of shoes (no endorsement or recommendation stated or implied).

A Snail’s Pace (Brea)

Top Speed Running (LaVerne)

Legacy Running Co (Whittier)

Road Runner Sports (Costa Mesa)

Fleet Feet Sports (Rancho Cucamonga)

Runners High (Long Beach)

Socks and clothing are important too.  You want to get socks that wick moisture away from your feet.  Avoid socks that are 100% cotton.  They absorb moisture and can create an uncomfortable experience and potentially lead to skin and foot problems.  Consider cotton, wool and synthetic blends or synthetic fibers for best performance.  You may also want to consider padding (heels, balls of feet), seamless toes and the rise and fit of the sock as there is nothing worse than a sock that slides into your shoe during a run.  

With clothing, again avoid 100% cotton.  The cotton will absorb moisture and wet fabric will stick to the skin causing irritation, chafing and/or blisters.  Look for blends and synthetics that wick moisture away from the skin for the best comfort and performance.

Not all gear is right for everyone.  We all have different body types, mechanics and sweat patterns.  Shoes, socks, shorts and tops that are perfect for one person may be extremely uncomfortable for someone else.  Ask your coaches and experts for advice and get the gear that is right for you.

Start Easy

You don’t win the race on the first day of practice.  Depending on your fitness level and running experience, you may actually need to start with a run/walk program.  Start easy, take it slow.  If you’ve never run before start by running every second or third day, one to three miles at a time.   Instead of distance, you could even start with running for time—10 minutes to start and then begin to work up to 45 minutes.  Don’t be afraid to take walk breaks if necessary.  Before you know it, you’ll be running three miles or more comfortably.  The cross country season is long and the only way to be successful is if you are healthy enough to toe the starting line.  The biggest mistake a runner can make is to do too much, too soon, too fast.  A general rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage no more than 10% per week.  Three to five days of running per week is enough to prepare you for summer camp.  Proper rest, hydration and nutrition will help get you ready to tackle the summer.

Improve your chances of avoiding injury:

Wear the right shoes/gear

Ease into your running

Get proper rest, hydration and nutrition

For more great tips refer to resources such as runnersworld.com and search for “beginners”.

We look forward to seeing you July 9th for the start of summer camp and a healthy and successful season.