Tuesday, May 17, 2011

10 Tips for the Black Woman Beginner Runner: Based on a True Story

1. Don’t wait, Get Moving
Waiting around for your sister, mother, or your cousin to join you for a workout, you may be waiting a long time. Don’t allow others’ lack of motivation stop you from getting in a workout. Your self-motivation may be an encouragement to others to also get moving.

2. Give it Time
Endurance takes time to build. Don’t be discouraged if after a long period of not working out, not being able to last very long. Don’t push your limits too hard. Working out to the extreme will cause you to crash and become discouraged. Respect your limits; they will increase as you continue to work out consistently.

3. Lose the Cotton
Most people have a generous supply of 100% cotton t-shirts from company picnics, family reunions, and random free give-a-ways. The shirts we love to lounge around the house in seem like a great option to sweat up good during a workout. Unfortunately, cotton holds moisture which results in uncomfortable, damp workout attire. Try workout clothes made with technical fiber like polyester. These high-performance fabrics wick sweat and moisture away from the skin keeping you cooler during your workout.

4. Take it Off
It’s 40 degrees outside; your natural instinct is to throw on a sweatshirt, hoody, scarf, gloves, and a knit hat. Sure, that’s ok for running errands, but about 20 minutes into an outdoor workout, you’ll have torn off those layers off and left them in the streets. Remember the twenty degree rule. Once you get moving, your body temperature may go up as much as twenty degrees. It’s important to wear the right amount of layers that can be easily taken off, wrapped around your waist, or stored in a waist pack.

5. Go for a Fitting
For the beginner, I suggest getting properly fitted at a running store for your first pair of real running shoes. Fittings are free, and your sales person will be able to answer all your burning questions like, ‘Do these come in pink?’ Which brings me to my next point; don’t buy running shoes based on color alone. We’re all familiar with buying a pair of dress shoes one size too small because they’re just so darn cute. Your feet will make you pay for being cute, along with your knees, and your hips. Not worth it. Go for fit first, style is an added bonus.

6. Rest Days Rule
Even professional athletes take time off to rest their body. Recovery is equally as important as your workout. Allowing time for your muscles to heal improves performance. Going H.A.M. seven days a week will only increase your risk of injury.

7. Wear Sunscreen
Yes, chocolate drops and yellow model chicks alike need sunscreen when working out outdoors. We’ve been blessed with an extra dose of melanin, but it doesn’t exclude us from needed protection from dangerous UV rays.

8. Learn to Co-wash
Both permies and naturals can benefit from washing out sweat buildup with conditioner only. Washing with shampoo too frequently can cause our hair to dry out. Washing with conditioner only cleanses the scalp while not being to drying on our hair.

9. Always Carry ID (and a little mace won’t hurt either)
Women go missing. Be aware of your surroundings and always carry identification. You are less likely to hear about a missing Black woman on the news. I will leave it at that.

10. Think Fit, Not Thin
Every bit of physical activity reduces our chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes other leading causes of death in Black women. Place focus on becoming healthy rather than losing weight. That focus will keep you motivated if you’re not losing weight as quickly as you’d like, or reach a weight loss plateau. When you become more physically active, weight loss will come.

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