There's No Such Thing as a Stupid Question!

Here are so FAQ's about running that many of you want answers to, but are too afraid to ask! 

"This might sound like a stupid question but, what should I be eating before, during, and after my run?"
-Tim
Tim, there's no such thing as a stupid question!  Diet and nutrition is very different for each person individually.  What you eat before you run will depend a lot on the time of day you exercise and the intensity level you are exercising at.  Many people don't have the time to eat and digest food before running, especially if they're running early in the morning.  If you're going out for an easy run (an hour or less) you may be fine to go on an empty stomach.  If your run is going to be more than an hour or at a higher intensity level fueling up before will be critical.  Remember to keep things simple, before a run you want quick energy; this generally means foods lower in fat and protein and higher in carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates will boost your energy levels without upsetting your stomach.  For more specific pre-run meal ideas check out this article from Runner's World.
These days most people use sports nutrition supplements to get the energy they need during their run.  If you're not familiar with these products check them out, brands like Gu, Hammer, Honey Stinger, Huma, Cliff are all examples of sports nutrition.  Once again you'll have to figure out what works best for you, for instance you might do better with a gel compared to a bar.  Make sure to try different options during your training, but whatever you do make sure you use the same product on race day that you trained with.  
Post run will be your time to recover.  Running will deplete your muscles of nutrients and in order to get back out the door tomorrow you need to fuel for recovery.  A good guideline to follow for your post run meal is at least one food from every category.  For example, make sure you get adequate protein to help with muscle repair, a small portion of healthy fats to help keep you full longer and add great flavor to your food, and a healthy portion of carbohydrate to replenish sugars in your body.  Once again for a more detailed plan refer to this article from Runner's World.  Always remember that none of our recommendations will do you any good if you're not properly hydrated, our bodies run on water! Last but not least, keep it simple and do what works for you!  Happy eating!

"This might sound like a stupid question but, I've always wanted to run a half marathon. What do I do next?"
-James
James, there's no such thing as a stupid question! You're going to want to make sure you have a basic fitness level. For instance, can you run three miles, three to four times a week? If not, you should probably focus on a shorter distance race and work your way up from there. The training will basically consist of low mileage runs throughout the week with a rest days and one long run per week, typically done either Saturday or Sunday. The low mileage runs will increase in distance each week. We can take you through our Fleet Feet Half Marathon Training program- check out this link and we can shoot you some further details! http://www.fleetfeetscottsdale.com/training/advanced-sign-up-today
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale
"This might sound like a stupid question but, where should I go to the bathroom on race day?"
-Julie
Julie, there's no such thing as a stupid question!
Most races will provide port-a-potties, keep in mind that there will often be a line so be sure to give yourself time to go and make it back to the starting line in time for the race. If you feel the need to go during your race, many will often hold it in until they find a restroom, will go off course to find a local restroom, or will pee themselves. Hint: look at the race map- oftentimes they will show local port-a-potties near the course! Don't be afraid to hydrate because you're afraid you won't find a place to go- your body needs the water! Throughout your traning, you will get to know your body and will be able to plan accordingly!
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

 

"This might be a stupid question but, how long should my first runs be?"
-Sherri
Sherri, there's no such thing as a stupid question! During the first week, 15 minutes is plenty. After that, your goal should be to increase the time very gradually. 
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might be a stupid question but, what do I do if I can't run non-stop for 15 minutes?"
-Zack
Zack, there's no such thing as a stupid question! Don’t feel badly. In the beginning, most people have trouble running for even a few minutes. In other words, you’re normal! I suggest the following training plan.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

Takes you from ground zero to running 45 minutes using a one minute walk, 10 minute run program. Stage one will get most people ready for a 5k race.
Week
Walk Minutes
Run Minutes
Repetitions
Total Minutes
1
1
1
7
14
2
1
2
5
15
3
1
3
4
16
4
1
4
4
20
5
1
5
4
24
6
1
6
4
28
7
1
7
4
32
8
1
8
4
36
9
1
9
4
40
10
1
10
4
44
Gradually weans you off walk breaks so you can comfortably run 60 minutes without stopping. Stage two will get most people ready for a five mile race.
Week
Walk Minutes
Run Minutes
Repetitions
Total Minutes
1
1
15
3
48
2
1
15
3
48
3
1
20
3
63
4
1
20
3
63
5
1
30
2
62
6
1
30
2
62
7
walk 1, run 40, walk 1, run 18 (total=60 minutes)
8
walk 1, run 45, walk 1, run 13 (total=60 minutes)
9
walk 1, run 50, walk 1, run 8 (total=60 minutes)
10
run 60 minutes continuously!
"This might sound like a stupid question but, how often should I run?"
-Danielle

Danielle, there's no such thing as a stupid question! For beginners, I recommend three or four days a week. We also recommend alternating between running and rest days. This will give your body time to recover and adapt to the stresses you’re giving it.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, how far should my runs be?"
-Heather

Heather, there's no such thing as a stupid question! We intentionally avoid mentioning distance in this plan because if you focus on distance, you’ll likely also start focusing on speed. In the beginning, you should avoid an emphasis on speed because too fast too soon can lead to injury.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, how fast should I be running?"
-Charles
Charles, there's no such thing as a stupid question! You should be able to comfortably carry on a conversation and you should not be out of breath. This is, for some people, a hard guideline to follow because they feel as though they are running too slow. If that’s you, please remember that in the beginning part of your running career it’s vital that you focus on a pace that is comfortable. Why? Because, without getting into the science of it, running too fast too early does not build the proper cardiovascular improvements you need to be a successful runner. So, take your time and enjoy yourself!
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, I’m afraid I won’t be able to stick with the plan – how do I stay motivated?"
-AJ
AJ, there's no such thing as a stupid question! Here are a couple of tips to help keep you motivated throughout your running journey!
  • Sign up for a race. Do it now! Having a race goal (and race fees!) on the line will be a powerful source of motivation. I guarantee it.
  • Run with a partner. And promise to get each other through the rough patches. Neither of you will want to let the other down.
  • Focus strongly on getting through the first three weeks. It takes roughly three weeks to establish a habit. If you can get past the first three weeks, your mind and body will find it much easier after that.
  • Don’t overdo it. Running too fast, too far or too often in the beginning can burn you out, make you sore or get you injured and none of those things are very motivating.
  • If you are taking up running to lose pounds, try not to focus solely on weight loss. This is because especially in the beginning of your running career you will likely gain some weight due to muscle growth – a very good thing because muscles burn fat. To get your attention away from the scale, take tape measurements and photos of your body every few weeks. You’ll be happy to see the inches dropping even if the pounds don’t initially follow suit.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, how do I know if I'm running correctly?"
-Lyndsey
Lyndsey, there's no such thing as a stupid question! 
This is a wise, common question among beginners. Unfortunately the answers are often not as good as the question. Beginners are often told to run in a manner that feels “natural”. I have a very different opinion. I believe that, for many of us, “natural” doesn’t always mean correct. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it is often said that 50 to 60% of runners are injured every year. In the past, many experts told runners to land on their heels and roll forward toward their toes. As I see it, the problem with landing on your heels is that it means your foot is landing ahead of your body – your feet are acting like brakes. And this, in my opinion, can lead to all kinds of problems.Thankfully, I am noticing many sources on the web starting to convey a different message – that landing on our mid/forefoot is the way humans are supposed to land. I recommend you check out the Pose Method of Running and ChiRunning – two methods that teach similar ideas. I have personally had a great deal ofsuccess using the Pose Method.You may also want to spend some time reading up on barefoot running. Finally, you might ask yourself why most of the top distance runners on the planet do not land on their heels.My long-winded answer is over but I’d like to leave you with two messages. First, that this is the time to figure out how to run correctly. After the beginner part of your running career, it is more difficult to change how you run. Second, that you should research this question until you are satisfied you have the right answer. You might start with searches on running formrunning technique, or running mechanics. Good luck!
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, should I stretch?" 
-Brad

Brad, there's no such thing as a stupid question! 
Only a few years ago, the answer from just about anyone you asked would have been an absolute “yes!”. But more recent research has been telling us other things:
  • Stretching before running may actually be bad for you. It may lead to injury.
  • It is better to warm up slowly (e.g. by starting out walking) than to stretch before you run.
  • Stretching after five minutes of easy running is more advisable than stretching before running.
  • Stretching after you run is always a good thing.
  • Doing stretching as a standalone activity (e.g. taking up Yoga) can be extremely beneficial to runners.

-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, should I change how I eat now that I’m running?"
-Patrick

Patrick, there's no such thing as a stupid question!  For beginning runners running under an hour a day, nutrition is not a big issue. You really do not need to add anything special to your diet. That said, if your nutritional habits were poor before you started running, this is a good time to fix them. Water is a runner’s best friend. Drink water before and after you run.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, 
I am taking up running to lose weight – how much can I expect to lose?
-Katie

Katie, There's no such thing as a stupid question! Ahhh, the age-old question. There are many factors to consider. I could/should write a book (hmmm…). For now, here are a few things for you to think about:
  • Running is at the top of the list of activities for the number of calories it burns so you’ve made a good choice including it in your weight loss strategy.
  • Many runners don’t lose weight because they reward themselves for running by eating more or binging. So, rewards are sometimes not very rewarding in the long term.
  • While you are likely to lose weight running 30 or so minutes three times a week, more pronounced weight loss usually doesn’t happen until you are running more frequently and for longer durations. The message: Stick it through as a beginner and you’ll reap the benefits in much greater quantity for the rest of your running career.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, how should I dress for running in hot weather?"
-Jaqueline
Jaqueline, There's no such thing as a stupid question! When running in hot weather, it is important to wear moisture wicking material-shirts, shorts, socks, sports bras (for women). NO cotton! Your sweat will sit in the material and will not dry quickly and could cause chafing. Always make sure you have some type of hydration system, whether it be a hydration belt or hand held water bottle.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale'

"This might sound like a stupid question but, how should I dress for running in cold weather?"
-Vivia
VIvia, there's no such thing as a stupid question! When running in cold weather, a base layer that is close to the skin will help keep you warm. A compression pant and gloves are also essential. Wear moisture wicking material because even though it is cold out, your body will still sweat. You don’t want to be running in anything that isn’t moisture wicking because your sweat will sit in the cotton and will not dry quick, causing you to be cold.
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, how do I know which sports bra is right for me?"
-Paige
Paige, there's no such thing as a stupid question! It is important for women to get fit for sports bras. Many women do not wear the right size sports bra, which can be damaging to the body and will not be helpful. Be sure to get fit into your right size and wear a supportive sports bra, so your chest stays in place while running and exercising. 
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale

"This might sound like a stupid question but, where should I go to the bathroom on race day?"
-Julie
Julie, there's no such thing as a stupid question!
Most races will provide port-a-potties, keep in mind that there will often be a line so be sure to give yourself time to go and make it back to the starting line in time for the race. If you feel the need to go during your race, many will often hold it in until they find a restroom, will go off course to find a local restroom, or will pee themselves. Hint: look at the race map- oftentimes they will show local port-a-potties near the course! Don't be afraid to hydrate because you're afraid you won't find a place to go- your body needs the water! Throughout your traning, you will get to know your body and will be able to plan accordingly!
-Fleet Feet Scottsdale
"This might sound like a stupid question but, how do I know the difference between general soreness from running or a potential injury?"
-Carl
Carl, there's no such thing as a stupid question!
As a beginner runner or somebody who is starting running after a long break, general soreness is inevitable. Muscles will feel tight and sore to the touch and joints might be slightly achy, versus something more serious that might be marked as a sharp pain. A good rule of thumb, if your muscles are sore, continue exercise at a lower intensity level. If you are feeling any sharp pain, rest. If it doesn't go away, see a medical professional. 


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