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How to Hit the Ground Running, Literally

Simplicity makes running a fun activity that can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels.
Luis+Diaz+%28left%29+and+Steven+Castro+%28right%29+go+for+a+run+at+the+Anaheim+Coves+while+practicing+proper+running+techniques.
Juliana Garcia
Luis Diaz (left) and Steven Castro (right) go for a run at the Anaheim Coves while practicing proper running techniques.

Running is a sport that requires little to no effort when it comes to getting started… well kinda.  All you need are comfortable shoes and an open road or park. While the thought of running may be daunting at first, it is a highly accessible and satisfying activity to partake in. To begin on your running path successfully, the most important things to remember are to start slow, have the proper gear, and keep a positive mindset.

Why we should run:

Incorporating running to your life, even in small amounts, can lead to significant physical and mental health benefits. According to Everyday Health, running daily can help prevent your chances of chronic diseases, improve cardiovascular health, boost mood and energy levels along with other benefits.

Casual runner Manuel Padilla stopped to chat with Inside Fullerton at the Anaheim Coves on a Saturday morning. He did soccer, track and field and cross country growing up, and continues to keep fit by running. 

“Now as an older guy, I still continue to run for health and I like running because that’s a de-stressor,” says Padilla. “I like to de-stress and just don’t have any problems and get my sweat on and continue running until I get tired.”  Some runners sometimes experience a runner’s high and that is your body releasing endorphins. Padilla states, “It just feels good. It gives you satisfaction from your hard work.” 

What to wear:
Luis Diaz, who is in the men’s cross country team at Fullerton College, stretches before a run. (Juliana Garcia)

To avoid injuries, it’s important to have comfortable clothes and shoes that provide proper support.

 Running shoes can be expensive, but investing in good quality shoes can help keep you motivated and committed to your running routine.

“You definitely should invest in running shoes, it’s the most valuable thing, it makes a big difference,” says Sean Sheil, the full-time assistant coach for the Fullerton College men’s track and field team, adding,“There are different types of running shoes based on the person’s foot strike.”

Cyrus Burton is a cross country athlete who has been running at the high school and collegiate level for five years. Burton’s favorite running brand is Brooks. He states that they are one of the better running brands that provide the best support from what he has tried. 

Wellness Plan:

Before a run, it is important to fuel your body with nutritious foods. Having some sort of carbohydrate is ideal before running since your body uses carbs as a primary source of energy. “Athletes like weightlifters will say protein is the most important which is true for other sports but for runners getting carbohydrates in because you burn so many calories running,” says Burton. 

“I usually like eating a waffle because I find it really tasty,” says Luis Diaz, a member of the men’s cross country team at Fullerton College, “It digests really easily so it’s good to eat before a run.” Steven Castro, another member of the men’s cross country team, chooses a banana because it gives him energy throughout his runs.

After your runs it is crucial to eat to help recover and replace energy that your body burns. Burton likes to have a bagel with peanut butter after his runs, while Diaz prefers a Clif bar. 

Stretching before a run is a crucial step to warm up your body and is key to preventing any serious injuries. (Juliana Garcia)
Where to go: 

As a beginner, it is important to start running in a location that is safe. Some runners might prefer going to trails while others prefer parks. “I feel like trails are the best,” Castor says. “Usually because it keeps on going and I can go for longer.” Diaz also opts for trails.  “I like to go on trails because it is also softer on the legs and it’s just really nice because if you run on the street it is kind of dangerous.”  Some safety tips for your run are beware of your surroundings, wear bright or reflective clothing and let someone know your location. Juanita Cooke Greenbelt Trail and Laguna Lake Park in Fullerton, as well as the Anaheim Coves Trail are some popular spots among local runners. Building confidence and comfort in a running spot will help you develop a running routine that you can sustain. 

How to prevent injuries: 

For beginners, Sean Sheil, the Fullerton College running coach, recommends starting off running anywhere from as little as 15 to 20 minutes at the most half an hour. As a beginner, you are more prone to injuries, so it’s a good idea to warm up first as well as start slowly to build up your tolerance. “One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is that they don’t warm up properly,” says Sheil. “They start off too quickly.” He explains that the body works much better at a higher temperature, so you need to start slow.  He recommends dynamic stretching before a run which includes high knees, lunges, butt kickers, and karaokes. 

Proper breathing is important to improve your overall performance. Sheil explains that “Sometimes people will confuse the relaxation technique with exercise.” When stretching or resting, it’s a good idea to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, but that’s not the case with running. ”You want as much oxygen in your lungs as possible,” he says.

 

Taken from the Fall 2023 print issue of Inside Fullerton. Read it here.

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About the Contributor
Paulina Alonso, Staff Writer
Paulina is a journalism major. She enjoys listening to music, spending time outdoors, and trying new hobbies. She is a very personable and likable person. Her end goal is to work at a sports stadium as a broadcaster.

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