Coach Says: Running Tips From Coach Of The Year

This is the very first interview here at Top Running Tips and hopefully the first of many to come! Although the main attraction of running is its simplicity, there is a lot of mystery surrounding it regarding; when to run, how to run, what to eat and when to stretch to name just a few. The quality of the advice given to beginners to running will ultimately determine the success or failure of most new runners.

I’d like to introduce and thank Coach Robert Renman who, has taken the time to answer a few of the questions that have landed in my inbox from the readers of this blog…

I started running when I did the military service in Sweden when I was 18. At about 21, I stepped it up a bit and started running 5-6 days per week. After that I was hooked. I ran 34:20 on the 10 km road fairly soon, and then I joined a local running club in Umea, Sweden.

I trained with many good runners and I continued to improve. When I was 30, I moved to Canada and have raced successfully in Canada. I got a severe knee injury when I was 32, and had to quit running for almost 5 years. I lost a lot of fitness during that time, but the last 3 years I have been injury free, and I am now doing very well on the Masters scene.

Personal Bests:
Marathon: 2:37:32
Half-marathon: 1:09:42
10,000 meters: 31:35
5000 meters: 15:21
5 km road: 14:40

Coach Renman is a coach at Augustana together with Gerhard Lotz. Where he has been awarded coach of the year no less than three times! You can get better aquainted with Coach at his blog Andrii Running Blog. You can also check out the successful Cross Country Running Team he coaches at The University Of Alberta alongside Gerhard Lotz or visit his local running club at Dump Running Club.

Ok, introductions over; let’s get down to the questions…

How do I know if I’m running correctly?

Coach Renman
Running isn’t that hard for most people. It’s a natural thing. If injuries often come, it could be related to a bad posture, which often has to do with the wrong shoes, inflexible muscles, etc. The best thing is to have an experienced coach assess your technique.

Keep in mind that running style is also an individual thing. I know a guy with a terrible technique, but he is a former Olympic runner from Canada and world class cross country runner.

Is it important to stretch before or after I warm up?

Coach Renman
I believe it is most important after the run, and never stretch at all before you are warmed up.

Should I change what and how I eat now that I’ve started running?

Coach Renman
It all depends on how you currently eat. Stick with good variety – protein, carbs, fruit, vegetables, etc – runner don’t need a special diet, just regular food, in adequate amounts.

What 5 commandments would you give to anyone who is a beginner to running?

Coach Renman
Don’t get injured.
Run with others.
Don’t give up.
Don’t worry about speed and how fast other runners are.
Stick with it, and it WILL get easier.

What’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running outdoors?

Coach Renman
Treadmills are easier. A 1% incline or more should be used with a treadmill. Since the belt is moving towards you, it will never be the same as running outdoors. However, it’s a very useful method of training when the outside conditions are poor.

How do I get rid of a side stitch?

Coach Renman
Try grabbing a rock and squeeze it. Slow down, walk for a bit, and slowly start running when the stitch loosens up. The more running you do, the less likely you are to get side stitches.

Should I eat before I run?

Coach Renman
It’s also individual. For most people, running 2-3 hours after a meal works well. I can personally run 10 minutes after I eat supper, if I have to, but not everyone is like that. If you are starving before a run, have a simple snack, like a banana or a piece of bread with peanut butter.

As I said before, the beauty of running lies in its simplicity and the mystery lies only in how running changes every runner’s life. Ultimately, the same principles apply to running as to any other sport, taking it step by step, looking after your body and following the right advice.