Running can offer both mental and physical health benefits which proved to be true in recent times. In a RunRepeat study addressing the running boom during the pandemic the survey revealed that out of 3,961 runners, 28.76% of current runners are “new-pandemic runners” that began over the past year. The study also found that motivation for running has changed, physical health is the primary motivation for 72% of new-pandemic runners.
Health Coach, Running Coach, and CrossFit Coach, Jen McMahon has worked with many clients to help them achieve their running goals. McMahon recently starred in a running documentary called, ‘Road to 50 Miles’ about a friend she trained for her first Ultra Marathon (she ran with her too).
If you are new to running and looking for new ways to improve Jen reveals her tips below that you may need to be answered.
Recess: Can you share 1-3 stretches that are ideal for new runners?
Jen McMahon (JM): When thinking about running stretches, I like to really target multiple major muscle groups.
- Runners often end up with tight IT Bands running down the sides of your legs between your hips and knees. One of my favorite stretches to tackle is a yoga favorite, Pigeon Pose. To stretch your right side, start in a high plank position, swing your right leg in front of you and allow it to bend across the front of your body. Slowly walk your elbows down to the floor as it is comfortable for you and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
- Another potentially sensitive area for runners can be the backs of the legs in our hamstrings and calves. One way to stretch both at the same time is with a stretch/drill that some runners call sweeps or the death march. Start in a standing position, step your right foot in front with your toes up. Hinge forward and sweep your arms slowly down to the sides of your right leg toward your flexed foot, reaching as low as is comfortable for you, balancing on your left leg and right heel. Repeat on the left side. Depending on how tight or sore your calves and hamstrings are, you may want to continue on each side repeatedly for up to about 30-60 seconds. This also makes for a great warm-up drill to get your legs ready to move!
Recess: Why do you think running has gained some popularity recently?
JM: With the pandemic beginning last year and people needing to stay fit in a safe and effective way, I’ve seen a lot of people turn to running. Running is an ideal option these days because you can get out and run anytime with little training, you can get an efficient and great workout, all while keeping gear and equipment costs relatively low. Runners can really choose how much time they’d like to devote to any given run. A good run can be anywhere from 20 min to 4 hours. It can give you time alone to clear your head or have fun running and connecting with others.
Recess: What is your number one running tip?
JM: My favorite running tip is to start where you are. This is really true of anything, but many people compare themselves to others or even compare themselves to what they used to be able to do and just end up frustrated. If you can really just enjoy the process without judgment and shame, running can be a lot of fun! The sky’s the limit with what you can accomplish with running!
If you haven’t tried running, would you now?