In 2015, there were 60.84 million runners and joggers on the road. Between 37 percent and 56 percent of these runners suffered an injury.
Running offers a multitude of health benefits:
• it relieves stress
• burns calories
• releases endorphins
• reduces the risk of heart disease
Although running seems like a straightforward sport to get into, without proper knowledge and safe practices it can be difficult and possibly even harmful.
According to Erin Hickok, the store manager of Runners Route, a new runner’s first step forward should be creating a plan and setting a goal.
“Having a goal will help you figure out what kind of training you should do,” Hickok said. “For running a faster mile, you’ll have to do programs with more speed work in them. If you want to do more distance running, it’s going to be about building up mileage. You’ll do programs with tempo runs and intervals.”
Free training programs and running schedules can be found online at sites like, www.runnersworld.com. However, if new runners want more hands-on and personal training, private running coaches can be hired as well.
Once a goal and plan has been set, new runners can focus on gear. The most important pieces include shoes and socks. Proper running shoes are critical for safe running practices as they assist in absorbing the shock forces that come from the repeated impact of striking a foot down. Well fitted shoes also provide support by stopping a runner’s medial arch from collapsing as they run.
A pair of running socks can prevent blisters and provide compression for blood circulation throughput the feet. Hickok dissuades anyone from using cotton socks while on a run.
“Cotton traps the sweat against your foot, which lead to blisters. On the other hand, nylon or polyester socks will pull moisture away from your skin, which prevents blisters.”
Other useful items include sunblock, sunglasses, handheld hydration units, belted hydration units and anti-chafing products.
Also, gearing up for a run, runners should plan on wearing brightly colored clothing and lights or reflective gear at night. This can prevent accidents by increasing the visibility of the runner.
Finally, the last thing a runner should do before taking off is warming up. Runners should spend at least 10 minutes actively warming up. Examples of warm ups include leg swings, high knees, butt kicks or brisk walking.
“People should avoid static stretching before a run. Static stretching is when someone is holding a stretch over 30 seconds. This stretching makes it more likely for a runner to pull something because you’re making the muscle stretch and contract before it’s ready, before it’s warm,” Hickok said. “Static stretching is a good post run exercise.”
Another post run activity is eating. A light snack can be eaten before a run, but a nutritious snack or meal with plenty of water should be consumed within 30 minutes after a run. Eating after a run will replenish your body with the essential nutrients that are needed to help your body repair and recover. Possible snack options include a banana with peanut butter or yogurt with mixed fruit.
Running can be extremely difficult, not only physically, but mentally as well. Sometimes personal motivation can fall short. To aid with motivation, a new runner might look into finding a partner, which can hold a new runner accountable, as well as be a source of external motivation and support.
O‘ahu has many open running clubs. Some of the sponsors for such events include Runners Route, Lanikai Juice and Mid-Pacific Road Runners Club.
Other local running information about races, clubs and events can be found at facebook.com/hawaiisportmag/timeline.