Running coach gives advice for new runners during COVID-19

With gyms, and pools, and basketball courts closed, and fitness classes canceled, many people are getting into or returning to running. It's the perfect, and perhaps one of the only ways, to get in your cardio during COVID-19.

Philadelphia-based running coach, John Goldthorp, says he's noticed many people getting outside and hitting the roads for a run right now.

"I don't have scientific proof but it certainly seems like more and more folks are flooding the local running parks and paths and rail trails to release some pent up energy, and it's totally understandable as running is a very accessible, low-cost way to get fit and even boost your immune system," he said.

Goldthorp is a certified running coach and personal training who offers online coaching services to runners looking to improve their performance, and he designs individual assessment sessions to help runners move more efficiently so they can run more comfortably and be less prone to injury.

So, if you're just getting started with running, he says, "Like anything in life, too much is too much and one of the challenges runners face is finding where that line is...There's a lot of stress that's put on your body, and it's really important to have some patience. It takes time for our bodies to adapt to the stress that goes along with running ."

If you've been a runner in the past and want to get started again, he advises: "For those of us who haven't been running in a while, but maybe we have some running in our history we sort of just have to think of ourselves as a beginner all over again. We tend to think oh, I'm used to running marathons I can just go run a marathon, but it doesn't really work that way. Our bodies definitely adapt to the stress we put on it and adapt to the stress we don't put on it.

So again, it takes some time and some patience to build your running back up slowly One tactic that I like to use a lot is to mix walking and running and especially if you're starting out for the first time. I would walk more than I run."

He suggests the following workout.

"So, a really nice way to begin is to go a brisk walk for maybe four minutes and then break into a run at a nice, easy sustainable effort for one minute and you might bounce back between walking and running for 5 rounds or 4 rounds, maybe 20-30 minutes. And that's usually a pretty decent place to start, and you can do that 3-5 times in a week and you can sort of change that ratio every week as you go along. So, maybe in week two, you could add 30 seconds of running and take away 30 seconds of walking and the ratio will change over time."
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