Basic Information To Get You Started

Training for races is crucial if you want to run well and accomplish your long term running goals. At Fleet Feet Sports Columbia, we believe that group training can help you meet new friends and stay motivated with your running. But, we also want to help you learn things that can help you keep running for life. In the book, "Run Fast: How to Beat Your Best Time Every Time", Hal Higdon (a senior writer for Runner's World Magazine), writes, "One of the appeals of an endurance sport such as running, of course, is that you can overcome a lack of natural ability--considered by many the most essential ingredient for athletic success--with dedication and training." This is what we believe, and we know that we can help you make running a part of your life.

Here are our tips for running faster and more effectively, and some key phrases you might need to know in order to start talking like a runner.

1. Just do it. Running is one of the most liberating activities that you can take part all that's required is you. But, if you've never run before or you haven't run in a long time, don't lose patience with yourself or feel intimidated. Begin by walking and push yourself to do a little more, or go a little faster, every single day. If you're new to running, please come in and see us. While you are liberated by running, the experience is even better if you've got on proper shoes.

2. Join a group. We don't just say this because of our training groups. We say this because group running is safer, more fun, and is proven to keep you motivated and accountable. Once you begin running regularly, you'll notice how much better you feel in all facets of your life. Why not share your improved mood, stamina, and health with those around you? One of our favorite things at Fleet Feet Sports is the fact that many of our clients return after their first round of training and bring along loved ones. This helps everyone, and definitely makes us feel as though our clients are really our friends and family.

3. Dress the part. We are committed to helping you understand the ins-and-outs of running. At Fleet Feet Sports Columbia, running education begins with Fitlosophy. We are committed to getting you into the right shoes and the right running gear so that your only focus during a run is to hit your paces and have fun. Proper running shoes and gear cut down on injuries--it's really that simple. Fleet Feet Sports Columbia  has employees who are runners of all different ages and abilities, and we love nothing more than to talk to you about your personal running, or exercise journey and help you meet all of your needs.

4. Read a little. In addition to the right gear, it's important to understand why your coaches are asking you to do something. Reading a little (or a lot), about running can help you figure out how to help yourself run better. Plus, it's always good to know what you're doing and why you're doing it. Here are some key phrases that you might hear that are particular to running.

        Running isn't easy.

  • Running tears apart muscle. But, so does all physical activity. When you exert yourself, your muscles undergo little tears that your body repairs. The reparation process is helped along by nutrition and proper sleep. (One of the reasons why all of us at Fleet Feet Sports Columbia love to help you boost your nutrition!) Each round of tearing and repairing makes the muscle stronger. So, in order to get better, we have to hurt a little.
  • There are differences between aches, pains, and injuries. If your muscles hurt after a run, you probably worked hard. If you are in pain in a concentrated area, you should consult your coaches to see if there's anything we can do to help you. An injury is when these aches and pains are prolonged and do not subside. Please see your doctor if you think you might be injured. If it's something that's annoying or achy, though, we can absolutely help you. Blisters, chafing, achy feet, and side cramps are all parts of running. Luckily, Fleet Feet Sports Columbia has employees and  training coaches to help you minimize these discomforts.


  • "Running Base":'  You'll hear other runners mention this. It refers to the foundation of miles that you build so that your body is strong enough to handle a race. Usually, a person's base is a little longer than the race they intend to run. Sometimes, in the cases of 10K or half marathon races, your coaches will have you run the full distance a few times before the race itself. This is typical and helps you realize that your body can handle the race. Longer miles at a slower pace (slower than your all-out fastest training pace) are typical during base building. It's helpful to continue having some of these longer runs--either in the form of your weekend long runs or in long recovery runs--every week. But remember: long, slow runs make for long, slow runners. If all of your runs are easy, you aren't training properly.
  • "Tapering";  This means backing off of the mileage in order to refresh the legs before a race. Usually, tapering occurs a few weeks out from whatever race you're training for. A taper means that your runs will become shorter and faster. The week before a race, your runs should make you feel confident--not sore. Tapering is strategically planned so that you have your best possible time on race day. And, as you run more and more races, your coaches can help you figure out just how much tapering you need and how to best do it.
  • 'Cross training' : Any physical activity, other than running, that helps you improve your endurance and fitness. So, biking, elliptical, swimming, canoeing, lifting weights, and brisk walking all apply. If you're being physically active, you're getting stronger.
  • 'Strength and conditioning":  These include activities that are non- or low-impact. The stationary bike, the elliptical, and the pool are great examples of strength and conditioning exercises that won't tear down muscle too drastically. 
  • 'Runner's High': The reason we are all here. (Just kidding. But seriously, isn't it?) Running produces massive amounts of endorphins. Endorphins are the body's naturally produced 'feel good drug.' So, the more you exercise, the better you feel. In most cases, research shows that you need 30 minutes of vigorous exercise in order for the endorphin-fueled high to kick in. Push yourself to run a little longer. We promise you'll feel better.

 We love our clients and hope that you'll become one of them. We are committed to helping you have a great time and a positive, life-changing experience.

For any other training-related questions or concerns, Thanks & Happy Running!

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