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How to Run: Useful Advice for First-Time Runners

Our advice for first-time runners will start you off on the right foot

Did you just discover running? Welcome! Did you start running again after a long layoff? Glad to have you back. Are you returning from injury and ready to get back in a groove? Great news! The information contained in this blog post is geared towards first-time runners. But if you’re returning to running or have finally recovered from an injury, you can use this information too!

Remember: every runner starts at square one. You are about to embark on an amazing journey. It will include countless miles, early mornings, new friends, and plenty of finish lines! Take our advice for first-time runners and apply it to your journey!

Set a goal, find a training plan

Image of a runner posing in front of a 2020 Finisher backdrop after completing the 2020 KXAN Simple Health 5K. First-time runners should set a goal and find a corresponding training plan, like the free 5K training plan in this blog.One of the first things you want to do is set a goal. That could be a distance, a race, or a specific distance at a certain event. If you’re just starting out, an ideal goal race would be the Austin Half Marathon. The distance, 13.1 miles, is a great intro to the sport. Plus, you have plenty of time to follow this free half marathon training plan!

Set a larger goal and train for the Austin Marathon. Going from 0 to 26.2 is a great undertaking, but one that you can accomplish with help from this free marathon training plan. Want to begin with a smaller distance and get to the 3-block-long finish line festival before everyone else? Then the KXAN Simple Health 5K is right up your alley! The 5K distance is perfect if you don’t have that much time to train. Bonus points for getting friends and family to join you. Make sure you download this free 5K training plan and share it with whoever’s joining you.

Learn how to run your best

Running is simple, you put one foot in front of the other. But there are so many ways for you to run better and see improvement. Take proper care of your body, especially when you’re just beginning. Getting more sleep, taking time off, and hydrating properly are just a few of these 7 tips that’ll help you run your best!

Utilize these summertime tips

Summer heat saps everyone’s energy, most especially first-time runners. But you’re just starting out and are ready to keep running! Make sure you follow these summertime running tips to beat the heat like protecting yourself from the sun and learning why it’s important to adjust your running schedule.

Keep your motivation motor running

Image of runner from Mexico with his right arm flexed during the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. This blog post have tips for first-time runners, like how to be relaxed and run your best.Some times the motivation just isn’t there. The chances of skipping a run or missing a workout are higher with first-time runners. But you’re not alone! All runners face this dilemma. One of the best ways to keep your motivation level high is to find an accountability partner. This person will meet you early in the morning and make sure y’all complete the run. Yes, you guessed it, you’ll hold them accountable too! Here are 5 additional tips for staying motivated.

Tips for running in the rain

You might not know it yet, but running in the rain is an absolute treat! Just make sure you’re prepared so a fun run in the rain stays fun. These 7 tips will keep your training on track despite the weather. Just make sure you check the weather before you take off. Don’t run if there’s lightning!

Don’t miss your morning run

Getting up for your early morning run can be difficult, especially for first-time runners. Completing an early morning run really sets up the rest of your day nicely! But the battle with your alarm clock is real. This is the case for veteran runners too! Implement some or all of these 6 tips. They’ll help you get out the door for your morning run.

Long-run recovery timeline

You’re logging miles. Crushing your early morning run. Your weekend long runs are getting longer. What’s left? Learn how to properly recover from your long run with this recovery timeline. This long-run recovery timeline will help expedite the recovery process and help get you ready for whatever’s next!

This useful advice will help put first-time runners on the road to success. But if you’re returning from a long break or recovering from an injury, this information is just as beneficial. Get ready for an amazing running journey! Hey veterans, if there’s something that worked for you as a first-time runner let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Plantar Fasciitis: What to Know and How It Impacts Your Training

Ascension Seton’s Dr. Allen breaks down Plantar Fasciitis and its impact on runners

Plantar Fasciitis is an ailment that most runners will experience at some point in their life. Fortunately, there are many options for runners to overcome this injury. The most common symptom is pain in the heel. Typically this occurs in the morning and is aggravated during the push-off phase. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by the tightening and inflammation of the band of fascia (connective tissue) that connects the heel to the metatarsals. This tightening can be caused by a number of factors. One factor can be overly tight calf muscles that pull on the fascia under the foot. Treatment involves reducing inflammation, strengthening the muscles in the kinetic chain, and lengthening the fascia.

Build strength now so you can finish your race strong.

Preventative measures

It is important for all runners to build strength training into their schedule, especially if they’re training for their first marathon. Strength training has proven benefits like maintaining muscle mass throughout the lifespan, reducing injury risk, and improving running economy. Off-season strength training should lay the foundation for more sport-specific training throughout the competitive part of the season. When beginning a strength training program, high repetitions and low weight should be the primary focus. This helps build general strength. As training progresses functional strength is established. This eventually leads to an increase in weight and more advanced exercises like plyometrics and power-focused training at high velocities.

Exercises and recovery

Strength training exercises such as single-leg calf raises can be very beneficial for strengthening the kinetic chain above the foot, reducing the likelihood of developing Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, runners should incorporate stretching into their training program. This can help avoid overly tight calf muscle that can aggravate Plantar Fasciitis. Foam rolling and traditional calf stretches are both effective for loosening these muscles. Runners can also use a golf ball or other similarly sized round object to roll out the fascia on the bottom of their feet. It is also important that runners wear comfortable running shoes and limit their mileage increases to less than 10% per week.

Don’t let Plantar Fasciitis derail your training and you’ll be all smiles at the finish line.

This advice is intended to be for educational purposes. It’s in no way intended to be a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you are concerned about pain caused by running, Ascension Seton’s team of Sports Medicine physicians will work with you to address your injury. Runners can contact them by calling 512-324-0177. Additionally, they’ll work with you to establish a strength training program to prevent and address your ongoing running injuries. If you are interested in learning more about a strength training program for runners email ascensionperformance@ascension.org

About Dr. Allen

Dr. Jakob Allen received his Doctoral training from the nationally ranked University of Texas at Austin. He was an 8x All-American collegiate swimmer at Stanford, American Record holder, NCAA and Pac-10 Champion, and 2x Olympic Trials qualifier. Dr. Allen is now an avid cyclist and triathlete, frequently placing in the top-5 overall amateurs in Central Texas triathlons. He is driven to bring about the greatest potential of all athletes whether you are a weekend warrior or an Olympian.

Dr. Allen currently serves as the Sports Scientist for the Austin Bold FC team in addition to his work in the clinic. He believes that exercise remains one of the best ways to improve every physiological system in the body throughout the lifespan. Whether it’s helping prevent changes in mental acuity or improving muscle function, the benefits of exercise continue to be supported by scientific studies. Dr. Allen specializes in designing exercise training programs for improving muscle and cardiovascular health for aging wellness and masters athlete performance.

High Five Events Ranked #35 on 2020 Inner City 100 List

Placement marks the company’s first time on the 2020 Inner City 100 list

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) announced that Austin’s High Five Events is a winner of the 2020 Inner City 100 (IC100) award which recognizes the 100 fastest-growing firms in under-resourced communities across America. The winners were picked based on revenue growth and job creation during the four-year period from 2015 to 2019. Winners were revealed at the 2020 ICIC National Conference held virtually on December 8th. The full list is available here. High Five Events is led by Stacy Keese, Dan Carroll, and Jack Murray. They were ranked 35th on the 2020 Inner City 100 List based on its four-year revenue growth rate of 240.17% and job creation of nine. 

Great achievement

“This is a proud moment for us to be included on the IC100 list,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “This is another proof point that what we are doing is working. It is incredibly rewarding to be recognized alongside leaders from so many industries across the county.”  

Beginning with the launch of a single triathlon in 2003, High Five Events has grown to become one of the largest privately owned event production companies in the United States. High Five Events is a community-centric company based in Austin, Texas. Their staff has more than 100 years’ combined experience organizing large events across different venue types in a variety of locations. The 18-year-old company owns and produces the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, CapTex Tri presented by Life Time Fitness, Rookie Triathlon, Jack’s Generic Triathlon, and Kerrville Triathlon Festival. They also produce 3M Half Marathon presented by Under Armour and Cap10K.

2020 Inner City 100 list explained

In order to measure the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis, ICIC conducted an in-depth survey of winners. They gathered information on the companies’ estimated 2020 end-of-year revenue versus 2019. They also estimated 2020 end-of-year employment versus 2019 and information on a company leader’s approach to leading through the COVID-19 crisis. 

Each winner shared stories of how they had to pivot due to the pandemic, from transitioning manufacturing centers to produce PPE, to learning how to sell virtually for the first time, to even holding free office hours with tech experts on a weekly basis – countless examples of innovation, grit, and resilience. 

In addition to the survey, ICIC has collected demographic data on all the winners. They also used metrics around revenue growth and job creation, included below.

2020 IC100 Winners by the Numbers

  • Average Company Age: 17
  • Cities Represented: 56
  • States Represented: 29
    • Industries Represented: 25
  • Woman-Owned/Led: 42
  • BIPOC-Owned/Led: 51
  • Veteran-Owned/Led: 7
  • First-Time Winner: 71
  • Hall of Famers (will have won the IC100 for at least 5 times, including this year): 15
  • Average Four-Year Revenue Growth Rate: 310%
    • Average 2019 Revenue: $8,986,862.31
  • Total Jobs Created: 3,230
  • Total Employed by IC100 Winners in 2019 (year-end number): 7240

These numbers bear out some encouraging trends. This year’s IC100 list had the highest number of women-owned/led companies. There was an increase of eight companies from 2019 and 17 since 2015. The 2020 list also contains the highest ever number of BIPOC-owned/led companies. This is an increase of seven since 2019 and 11 since 2015. 

“IC100 companies are forces of economic opportunity, optimism and transformation in their communities, and it’s an honor to recognize High Five Events’ leadership,” said ICIC CEO Steve Grossman. “Especially during this incredibly challenging time, as small business owners reckon with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, these pioneering entrepreneurs have demonstrated a deep commitment to and passion for their local communities.”

Lactate Threshold Breakdown for Runners

Understanding lactate threshold and how it impacts runners

Running can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Some runners are content with completing a few miles every other day. Other runners like to take a deep dive into their data and analytics. They want to understand their bodies and improve their performance. One frequently used term in the running community is “lactic acid.” But what exactly is that and how does it impact you? Ascension Seton Sports Performance’s Dr. Jakob Allen explains lactate threshold and how it impacts runners. To get tested, email Dr. Allen at Jakob.allen@ascension.org for more information and to schedule your appointment. Their goal is to help you become a better runner!

Lactate threshold explained

The burning, aching sensation that accompanies intense efforts is all too familiar to athletes. This feeling can also occur when runners begin to increase their mileage and running pace. Most athletes have probably heard the terms lactic acid or lactate threshold thrown around by coaches. What do these terms actually mean? Lactate was originally believed to only be produced when the body lacks oxygen. It’s now known you produce lactate even at rest. Far from the cause of fatigue, lactate is shuttled around the body to areas where it is needed as a fuel source such as the heart, muscles, brain, and liver. 

During high-intensity training, muscle contractions result in a build-up of metabolites and depletion of glycogen (the fuel inside muscles). This is when lactate is associated with fatigue. At rest and during low-intensity activity, lactate doesn’t build up in the muscles. It is shuttled to areas where it is needed faster than it is produced. Lactate threshold is the point at which the rate of production of lactate is greater than the rate of removal from the muscles. Athletes can only sustain exercise above this threshold for a limited amount of time before exhaustion. Pro tip: this is great information for boosting your mental toughness.

Why you should know about this

While lactate does not directly cause fatigue, it is still the best metric available for detecting when the body shifts away from mostly aerobic metabolism to rely more heavily on anaerobic metabolism. Anaerobic metabolism can only be sustained for a short period of time before fatigue occurs. Studies show that lactate threshold, or the point at which this transition occurs, is the best predictor of overall endurance performance abilities. If two athletes have the same VO2max, but one athlete can maintain a higher fraction of that VO2max without build up of metabolites (i.e. lactate, hydrogen ions), the athlete with the higher lactate threshold will always win. It’s an objective performance metric that gives invaluable information about your endurance abilities.

Dr. Allen recommends athletes measure their lactate threshold at the beginning of the training season to get a baseline. This can be used to establish training zones unique to their individual physiology, optimize performance, and avoid overtraining. Additionally, he recommends athletes come in for testing once every 3-4 months. This allows the team to monitor training progress and reestablish training zones. As the racing season approaches, the lactate threshold pace can be used to determine exact pacing strategies, no matter the distance. For example, marathoners usually set their race pace right around their lactate threshold. Measuring your lactate threshold gives you the ability to establish your race pace while knowing it’s truly what you’re capable of. Pro tip: learn how long it could take you to finish a marathon with this helpful pacing chart.

How the measurement is performed

Lactate threshold can be performed in a clinical setting or in the field depending on the athlete’s preference. Ascension Seton Sports Performance adheres to the most stringent COVID-19 policies. They are also happy to offer the service outdoors if athletes would prefer that. The test involves either running on a treadmill or outdoor track or cycling on a stationary ergometer. As you exercise at increasing intensities their team measures the changes in various physiological parameters. This includes changes in lactate as measured from a drop of blood from the finger or changes in expired gases collected from a mask over your mouth. 

About Dr. Jakob Allen

Dr. Allen received his Doctoral training from the nationally ranked University of Texas at Austin. He was an 8x All-American collegiate swimmer at Stanford, American Record holder, NCAA and Pac-10 Champion, and 2x Olympic Trials qualifier. Dr. Allen is now an avid cyclist and triathlete, frequently placing in the top-5 overall amateurs in Central Texas triathlons. He is driven to bring about the greatest potential of all athletes whether you are a weekend warrior or an Olympian.

Dr. Allen currently serves as the Sports Scientist for the Austin Bold FC team in addition to his work in the clinic. He believes that exercise remains one of the best ways to improve every physiological system in the body throughout the lifespan. Whether it’s helping prevent changes in mental acuity or improving muscle function, the benefits of exercise continue to be supported by scientific studies. Dr. Allen specializes in designing exercise training programs for improving muscle and cardiovascular health for aging wellness and masters athlete performance.