Coaches' Corner

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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!

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.