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How to plan your New Year’s resolution to start or restart running

It’s no surprise that fitness is one of the top New Year’s resolutions year after year. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the top resolutions that isn’t fulfilled.

What can you do to maintain your resolution? Try starting with something simple like running. It’s inexpensive, you don’t have to join a gym, you can do it any time and you don’t need a personal trainer.

But you do need a good plan. Physician Assistant Kevin Casey is an avid Ironman and marathon competitor, and he has five tips to help you maintain your resolution.

  1. Go small and build up volume before you build up speed. Run slow and increase volume even if that requires you to run/walk at first. This will help you avoid injury, ensure a greater chance of success and you won’t be as sore the next day.
  2. Cross-train to build up your core. Your core is critical when it comes to running success. Try plank variations, mountain climbers, reverse lunges and bridges.
  3. Don’t skimp on shoes. Running shoes last a lot longer than they used to, so it will be worth your effort to find a good pair. Get properly fitted at a reputable running or triathlon store where they will look at your gait and see how you strike the ground. They can make recommendations on shoes that work for you.
  4. Couch-to-5K is a great guide. It suggests you start with a run/walk and then build up into running. Always do 10-15 minutes of core exercises to get your heart rate up and to activate muscles that are key to running.
  5. In cold weather, ALWAYS take 10 minutes to warm up.Mini squats, jumping jacks and plank exercises (try bringing knees to chest) activate important muscles. Warming up these muscles makes the ease into running less stressful on the body.

Kevin Casey, PA-C, is a Physician Assistant with OrthoCarolina. 

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