(NC) After a long winter of being inactive, you’re probably dying to get out in the warm weather and hit the pavement. But pushing yourself too hard can cause injuries. Before you take a spin around the block or try your first marathon, follow these tips from Michelle W. Book, holistic nutritionist, to safely get into the swing of things.
Don’t go too fast or too long to start. Warm up by walking for a few minutes, then running for a few minutes, then walking again. Alternating between running and walking will give your body a chance to slowly build up the strength and endurance you lost over the winter. Gradually decrease the amount of time you’re walking and increase the amount of time you’re running and before you know it, you’ll be doing a 5k run effortlessly.
If you’re running less than an hour, water is typically a good choice. Anything more than an hour or where you’re sweating extensively, and you’re going to need to replenish important electrolytes that you’re losing. Coconut and maple water make great natural sports drinks, while electrolyte powders are another option growing in popularity. You can find them all at your local Canadian Health Food Association member health food store. It’s also important to remember to drink throughout the day, not just before and after your workout. To prevent dehydration, drinking eight to 10 cups of water a day is a good rule of thumb.
If you’re just getting back into your running routine, you may start to crave carbs. This happens because carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source, but it doesn’t mean you should load up simple carbs like white bread and sugary snacks. Focus on complex carbs instead, like brown rice or pasta for sustained energy release, or chia seeds, which also provide protein and omega-3 fats. Chickpeas are another great energy-rich food for runners, packed with protein for an added boost. Having adequate stores of carbs and replenishing during an extended workout have been shown to improve performance and delay fatigue.
Find more tips online at chfa.ca.