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Running this fall? Learn how to get a strong start

Maximize your run through Fort Smith and River Valley

It is great to run during the fall. The air starts to get cooler and the humidity drops. This makes it a great time to start running for the first time or to reach that elusive personal record.

So the million dollar question: How can I get the best out this time of year? No matter where you are in your running journey, you should strive to get the best out of it. There are 3 key ways to do this.


Water. We've all learned at some point that we are around 60% water. It has endless uses in our body, from making sure our temperature is properly regulated, delivering oxygen to organs, lubricating joints, acting as a shock absorber for the spinal cord and brain and it makes up the majority of some of our organs like our brain, heart, and lungs. You can see why everyone, especially the runner needs proper water intake. Even though we are going into fall, it still is reaching 90 degrees some days. Running on the trails or pavement jars the body. If we aren't getting enough water we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage when we run, even risking our health. A good, rule of thumb is men should strive for 15 ½ cups of fluid a day and women should strive for 11 ½ cups of fluid. This is the bare minimum, for someone who is active or trying to be. In reality, for you, this is most likely more. We live in Arkansas, even though it is close to Fall, days in the 80s and 90s will be here for a while. So if you plan on running this week, make sure you've already drunk plenty of water before you start. For you morning runners, that means hydrating the night before. Take in some water during your run. Afterward, make sure you drink plenty of fluids to recover.


Whether you have a goal of running a marathon, finishing a 5k or just want to start exercising, your nutrition is extremely important. I'm going to keep things pretty basic here. Whatever your goals, you need to eat for them. You can't train past a crappy diet. You should be eating foods that can support your body with the right amount of calories and proper nutrients. If you're not eating correctly, you'll start to notice that you fatigue easily, which can make you more prone to injuries.

When you look at what to include in what you eat, strive for whole foods that include whole grains, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and good quality protein. An easy tip, try to do the majority of your shopping along the perimeter of a grocery store. There you will find the majority of the whole foods a store has to offer. If you need help with making a healthy meal, check out the link at the bottom of the page.


Now, you've done the first two steps, you've properly hydrated, and you're eating well, so what's left? Have a plan in mind when it comes to your runs. Look at what your goals are, whether it is to get in shape, run your first race or lose weight. If you have a proper plan in place, then your goals are that much easier to reach.

The great thing is, there are many great coaches here in the area to help you out. Currently, True Grit Running Company has group runs twice weekly, with runners at all skill level. If you are eyeing a race soon, like the Jim Rowland River Valley Run, they have put together a training group that runs three times a week designed to get you to peak by race day. Lastly, there are great apps available like couch to 5k, Zombies, Run, Strava and Runkeeper if you want to go the solo route.

When it comes to training, there is one last topic. Cross training. Simply enough, it means training in something else other than running. What you pick doesn't matter too much. But what does matter is that you have some variety. Our bodies thrive on variety. So spend a day doing yoga, weight lifting, swimming, Pilates, CrossFit or spin classes. Just get active. You'll be amazed what it can do for your health, longevity, and performance.

For great running gear, check out True Grit Running Company

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