Wellness Champions: Additional running tips from Coach Sharon Becker

 Coach Sharon Becker.

It’s going to get warmer. Eventually.

Women’s cross country Coach Sharon Becker has some additional tips for members of the GRCC family who are looking to get outdoors and try running for exercise and overall wellness.

GRCC is helping students and employees focus on all areas of health and wellness as we emerge together from the pandemic.

Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual health. That includes physical health, but so much more. During the next year we’re also looking at emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational health, and how we all can work to help ourselves and each other.

There are many resources at GRCC to help all of these types of wellness. Each week, we’ll introduce you to people and places here on campus ready to support you on your wellness journey.

Here are some additional tips from Coach Becker for folks who are a little more serious about getting into a running routine.

The Shoes

Invest in a quality pair of running shoes AND a pair of running shoes that is correct for you, your running gait, and your feet. The correct, quality running shoes may be your most important equipment to possess.  You will need a new pair of running shoes, or shoes that are almost new, orare in very good condition.  Look at the bottom of your current running shoes.  If you can visually see abrasion and wear on even one part of the tread or if the first layer is worn down or ‘scraped’ low — usually by the heel — the shoes will most likely cause you injury and need to be replaced.

The Run

Start your run slower than you ‘feel’ like running that day. Start by walking a few minutes then begin jogging to your set pace.  On a regular run, not a key workout or race, you should be able to keep a conversation with someone. If you think you cannot talk to someone as you are running, you are probably going too fast and need to slow down. However, on a key workout day when you planned to challenge yourself or during a race, if you can converse with your teammates, then you are not working hard enough!

“Out and back” routes work great. You could run out one mile or run out 10 minutes before turning around. Keep it shorter than you may want or think you can run that day. You can always add on to your time and distance when you get closer to home, but it is a real bummer when you are further away and end up not feeling well.

The Distance

When first beginning your running routine, start out at shorter distances or times. Focus on minutes running instead of the miles. To begin, choose to try 8-15 minutes of combination running and walking.   Weekly, add four to five minutes more of running.  Keep your total time under 25 minutes and your total distance under three miles until you feel you are definitely ready to do more.

Run short loops on any “bad” days, the days that are too windy, too hot, or too cold.

The Attitude

Remember, all the positive reasons you are choosing to run!  Don’t forget to enjoy the run along the route to where ever you may be going!

Coach Becker earned a degree in Public Health Education from Central Michigan University and began her part-time professional experience as a coach, artist and substitute teacher in 2006.

As a coach and athlete, she is most interested in the benefits of athletics on an athlete’s personal life. Self-growth – academically, spiritually, and athletically — is among the strongest benefits she could list. Her passion is to motivate, encourage and teach others to set challenging goals, persevere through adversity and to challenge each of them to strive beyond any current limitations.

Becker is No. 12 of 13 children. She started running to school at a young age as a means to get to and from school, faster, on the Grand Rapids’ West Side.

She enjoyed running from a very young age. As a freshman in high school she was able to achieve much success in cross country and track and field. During high school, she participated in Grand Rapids-area road races as well as the former Grand Rapids Track Club.

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