Here are some tips for the road, trail, track or treadmill, as it may be, to safely get you going again this spring:
1. Less is best! Start with shorter distances and less days/week than what you were doing when you were last regularly exercising. Many of my athletes start with a slow half mile, three days a week and they then build from there.
2. No heavy breathing! “Perceived Effort” is your best training partner. So, your effort, not your pace, should remain the same, no matter if it’s a long uphill or a steep descent.
3. Start slow! This is the best form of stretching, so make your first five to 10 minutes your very slowest of your outing. This allows your stiff body to ease into your run or walk.
4. Hydrate! Not only before, during and after your exercise, but throughout the day. It’s one of the most common causes behind fatigue and injury.
5. Core! If there’s one thing a runner or walker should be doing for cross training, it’s strengthening your mid-section, from gut to glutes. This helps to make you more mechanically and structurally efficient, especially for long-distance walkers and runners.
6. Nose over toes! Keep your foot strike under your frame so you hit your arch and not your heel first. So, as a rule, you should never be able to see your feet hit the ground.
7. Set realistic goals! Not only goals that are rooted in your ability and current fitness, but also ones that realistically and comfortably fit into your current lifestyle. This will not only help you stay injury free but also keep you from getting frustrated.
» Speaking of getting started, the Charlottesville Track Club will be once again be hosting its annual summer training program for those looking to run their first half or full marathon or to improve on a previous effort. Each summer, close to 200 folks of all abilities receive an individualized program and they train in pace groups for a fall event of their choice. Go to charlottesvilletrackclub.org for more information on this and the Women’s Four Miler Training Program, the CTC’s other popular summer group.
» Graduates of the CTC’s 10 Miler Training Program, many of whom started by coming off the couch at zero miles last October, will be racing in the granddaddy of them all on Saturday. If you or a loved one is racing, along with 2,500 other folks, I’d highly recommend checking out our race course tutorial, which gives you a hill-by-hill account of how to successfully navigate this legendary course. Go to cvilletenmiler.com to take the tour!
» Race Director Nicole Brimer and the Charlottesville Track Club are looking for race day volunteers for the 10 Miler. With several thousand dollars in proceeds being passed along to wonderful local not for profits like Building Goodness, this is a great way for your group to earn some community service hours. Please sign-up today on the race website.
» The Western Albemarle boys and girls did it again. The Warriors added the Class 3 Indoor Track and Field state championships to their double cross country state team titles from this past fall. This is simply an amazing team feat and, at the risk of jinxing them, I really do believe that they could make it a supreme hat trick by having both squads do the same at the outdoor state championships. Now wouldn’t that be something!
» While we’re talking indoor track, I’d like to call out some of our local athletes who raced their way to blue ribbons at the state championships: Western’s Zoe Clay (3,200 and 1,600), Joe Hawkes (3,200) and Julia Berg (1,000) and Albemarle’s Ryann Helmers (3,200). Helmers followed her Class 5 state win with a blazing 17:03 clock stopper in the 5,000 at the national meet in NYC. The Albemarle girls were second at the Class 5 championships, their highest finish in school history, and the lads from Fork Union Military Academy earned another state championship for legendary longtime Coach Winston Brown.
» Walking is one of the fastest growing sporting activities in America and Central Virginia has endless miles of public walking paths, practically right at our doorstep, to choose from. This winter has been perfect for trekking along these beautiful paths and the Lorenzoni family has taken advantage of these close-by hikes on a weekly basis throughout the winter. From in-town paths like Ivy Creek, the RTF, Monticello’s Saunders and Secluded Farm trails and the Ragged Mountain Reservoir to rural hikes like the Patricia Byrom preserve, Sugar Hollow and the endless labyrinth of paths along the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. And just added to the trail mix are the beautiful new trails at Madison’s Montpelier. How lucky we are to have such wonderful and accessible ways to find instant peace and tranquility on foot.
» Monticello will play host to the 10th running of the most grueling 5K in town on April 28. Despite its tough, all-uphill climb, the Montalto Challenge is immensely popular, because it treats the finishers to 360 degree panoramic views of Charlottesville and the surrounding area. Many of the past participants claim the views at the finish are the single most gorgeous of any race in Virginia! Some other fun upcoming races of note are the Big Brothers-Big Sisters 10K and 5K, The Run for Autism 5K and The Run to Remember 5K for Hospice of the Piedmont. Go to raggedmountainrunning.com for a complete list of area not-for-profit runs.
» We are thrilled that Charlottesville will be breaking ground for a brand-new track in the coming days. The absorbent surfaced track will be a 400-meter oval with eight lanes and lights for night time running. We are so grateful to Juan Wade and the City School Board and for the administrative staff at CHS, like Rodney Redd, who have worked so hard to make this community venue a reality. Curtis Elder, the legendary longtime CHS coach who the track will be named after, would have been so happy. We’re just as excited that Orange County High School has raised the funds to do the same for their outdated track. For the Hornets, when completed, it will be the first time in six years that they will be able to host a home meet!
» The 2018 Kids Triple Crown schedule will kick off with the Big Brothers-Big Sisters 1K on a beautiful Free Union farm on March 31, with the Run for Autism Quarter Miler to follow on April 14. The Discovery Museum and Ragged Mountain’s Annual Kids clinic, hosted by the coach Bryan Fetzer’s UVa track and field team, is set for April 7th at the UVa track. This fun interactive clinic is free to kids ages 3-12 but you must register ahead of time with the museum.
» Our collective running community is mourning the tragic loss of one of our own, as we remember the life of Andy Yost. This remarkable and kind man was struck down by a drunk driver while out training for the 10 Miler on a rural road in Greene County. He will be dearly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and a large group of those same folks will be racing in memory of Andy at this week’s 10 Miler. We send our condolences to his wife, kids, and family of friends at this very sad time.
Mark Lorenzoni has been coaching community runners and directing local races, on a volunteer basis, since 1980. Follow him on Twitter at @coachzoni or go to coachlorenzoni.com