Of course, you can walk during your runs! Some people who are just getting started with running assume that walking is “giving up” or cheating. But taking walk breaks is actually a smart strategy for building your endurance and improving your running. Even after they’ve been running for a while, some runners still use a run/walk strategy, especially for long runs or races. There’s no shame in walking!
FAQ Category: The Coaches' Corner
How do I get rid of a side stitch?
A side stitch, or a sharp pain on the lower edge of the ribcage, can be a huge annoyance for runners. To get rid of one, try gently pushing your fingers into the area where you’re feeling the stitch — that should help relieve some of the pain. Then, to get rid of the side stitch, try altering your breathing pattern. Take a deep breath in as quickly as you can, to force your diaphragm down. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and then forcibly exhale through pursed lips.
If you get a cramp in the middle of a run, you might want to try changing your breathing/striding pattern. If you always exhale when your right foot strikes the ground, try exhaling with the left foot strike.
If all else fails, you may have to stop and walk briskly for a few seconds while concentrating on deep breathing. Continue running after the stitch goes away.
Is it OK to run every day?
Most runners need at least one, even two, days off a week from running. Research has shown that taking at least one day off a week reduces the frequency of overuse injuries. If you take at least one day off, your body will have a chance to recover and repair itself. You’ll find that you’ll actually feel better during your runs.
The best days for rest will depend on what type of runner you are and if you’re training for a specific event. If you tend to run a lot of miles on the weekends, then Monday might be a good rest day for you. If you’re training for a marathon and you do your long runs on Saturday, you may want to rest on Friday, so you have fresh legs for your long run.
Should I try to improve my distance, or my speed?
As a new runner, it’s better for you to start with trying to increase the distance (or time, if you prefer to measure by time) of your runs. As you build up your endurance, your speed will also improve.
Don’t rush into formal speed training, such as interval workouts, just yet. Doing too much running at too high an intensity is an easy way to get injured. After you’ve been running for about two months and have a nice base, you can start by adding strides into one of your weekly runs. You can also try picking up the pace towards the end of one of your runs. Wait until you’ve been running for 3-4 months before you start to add tempo runs, fartlek runs, or interval workouts.
What should I eat before a race?
It’s not a good idea to run immediately after eating because it may lead to cramping or side stitches. Your best bet is to eat a snack or light meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running.
Pick something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. Stay away from rich, very fatty, or high-fiber foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress.
When does running get easier?
This is a very common question among new runners and there isn’t one answer that fits everyone since beginner runners sometimes struggle for different reasons. Many new runners might feel that the turning point is when they can run continuously for 30 minutes. At that point, they start to feel more comfortable and confident. So, it takes a little bit of patience to build up your fitness and get to a point where running feels easier. Just keep working on increasing your distance little by little – it does get easier.