‚ÄčEveryone has different goals and motivations when it comes to running. Now, Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya wants to run at top speed. For 26.2 miles, over grueling courses. In fact, that's what he did in the 2011 Boston Marathon. He finished in 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 2 seconds. And that set a new world record for the fastest time ever logged.

Of course, most of us in the running community only dream of running that fast for that long. But we still have a passion for racing and pursuing our own unique challenges. So, why can some of us dish out registration fees, make time commitments to running, and sign up for races months in advance? While some of us can't get off the couch?

Here's the difference-maker I've discovered. You need to have #runspo, or running inspiration! Maybe it’s raising money for charity. You could be running to honor a loved one. Or you might want to get in better shape.

Whatever your reason, it's got to be important to you. So you'll get you out the door on hot, humid days, or hit the gym after an exhausting day of work. Your reason must be important enough that you can overcome adversity on the way to completing your goal. And I'm here to help you find it. (While providing some tips to train smarter with less pain!)

 

Setting Realistic Running Goals

First, figure out why you run. Then,. write down goals that you can meet. Because, as my mentor says, “A goal not reduced to writing and reviewed often is a mere wish.” (Rem Jackson).

Now, lets look at your goals. They should be “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.) What does that mean? Let's say you want to get more active by training for a half marathon that's 4 months away. You'll likely have success because you have a specific goal of finishing a half marathon. Add in an underlying reason for why you want to run, and enough training time to be ready for the race day, and you'll likely succeed!

Even so, some things could get you off track. Jim Rohn talks about mastermind alliances. He states, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So, if there’s someone in your running group who misses workouts or pushes you to skip your planned runs? Maybe it’s time to find a new running crew that shares your aspirations. And to find new and better ways to train. Like this cool tip I'm reading up on now: running with a weighted vest!

Build Speed and Prevent Injuries: Run with a Weight Vest

Right now, I'm seeing more studies about the benefits of running with a weighted vest. First, it seems to help you safely increase your speed. In fact, I saw one study in which long distance runners increased pace by 2.9% after stealing this trick.

How could that be? Well, weight vests make your body work harder while your run. Then, when you take it off, your body still pushes hard. But without the added resistance, you simply start to train faster!

Plus, it could help you lose weight from running. Why? Some people who run wearing a weight vest notice their heart rates spike. Which means you're helping it reach peak cardio rates. And you could improve your cardiovascular health in general.

Plus, this heavy running gear could keep away running injuries. Yes, it's true: weight bearing can build your bone density. That's why studies suggest that weight training prevents bone loss or injury. Which could mean fewer stress fractures: yay!

Finally, when you wear a weighted vest, your runningh posture may improve. In turn, this can give you better balance. Which could translate to fewer falls. And related injuries.

Not into this training idea? No worries, I've got other #runspo suggestions for you. Like these tips to run farther. Without getting hurt!

The Best Training Method for Increasing your Mileage Beat running injuries and running blocks with #runspo and weighted vests for runners

I’m always a fan of people taking steps to become healthier. And that's part of why I love to offer my runner's extra motivation. But when you begin any new exercise program, especially when you’re first getting into running, the potential for foot and ankle injuries is pretty high.

So, to keep you on a happy, healthy and inspired path, try these five stay-safe tips from your Houston running doctor

  1. Start small: Don’t assume that you can get off the couch and run a 5K all in one week. When you’re first starting to run, keeping your mileage low and spacing out sessions will help keep your muscles from getting stress injuries
     
  2. Choose the right shoe: Instead of grabbing whatever sneaker is on sale or looks the prettiest, spend a little more time in a running store like Fleet Feet and invest in a pair of shoes that fits your needs (the experts in the store should help.) As an added bonus, paying a little more for your sneaks should help you stay committed to your new running program. 
     
  3. Drink up: Staying hydrated before, during and after a run will help you avoid a lot of the initial aches and pains new runners experience. 
     
  4. Just focus on you: Don’t compare yourself to other runners. Don’t try to pass people on the trail our speed up to match pace with the person on the treadmill next to yours. If you try to run like someone else, you’re more likely to get hurt. If you run like and for you, that’s when you’ll feel great and do your best. 
     
  5. Keep track: Download an app like Map My Run and keep track of how many miles you’ve been running and how fast you’re doing it. Not only will this help you limit your miles at the beginning, but it will also give you a great way of seeing your progress as you improve and keeping you motivated to keep at it.

Still need more helping with your running goals? Come in to the office today and ask for help! We can do a gait analysis, discuss orthotics and address any pain or injuries that may be holding you back from achieving your training goals. 

 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.