Starting from scratch: a guide for female runners
In recent years, women have become the majority in the running world . In the case of the US , American runners represent only 47% of the total number of fans of this sport, but the figures do not stop growing as time passes. Therefore, we consider it important to learn the basic factors that any runner must take into account when starting to run .
Are you one of those strong women who wants to start running? Then you are interested in this guide to learn to run if you are a woman . We started!
Biological factors to take into account
This is not about discrimination or non-discrimination. Simply, women have biological differences with respect to men that affect the correct form of running . That is why it is so important to know each of these factors. Go for it:
A high percentage of runners use the heel as the first point of support in the landing phase. Well, in the case of women that percentage is much higher because they are more prone to this type of stride.
And what is the problem with this?
That the impact caused by supporting the heel instead of the central area or the forefoot can cause a greater number of injuries.
The solution is relatively simple and goes through being aware of this way of running more typical of women and putting a solution to it: a lighter landing and a slight increase in the cadence or number of steps taken per minute. A little trick is to think that you are running on eggshells or on water.
A study from the University of Marquette conducted in 2015 and published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that men are more likely than women to reduce the pace over the course of a marathon.
What does it mean?
That women are better marathoners! Will they also be better long-distance runners than men? Let’s see what biological differences exist between men and women regarding flexibility.
It is nothing new. Women are more flexible than men in the vast majority of cases, although, like everything in life, it cannot be generalized. But anyway, that extra flexibility is a positive quality for women who run for several reasons:
- They allow greater freedom of movement when running.
- It helps not to overload the same joint over and over again because each stride is different.
- Reduces injuries.
As a counterpoint, it should be noted that it can affect running speed since a stronger tendon allows more energy to be generated with each stride. It would be, basically, the same problem that hypermobile runners suffer, but everything has a solution and goes through muscle toning, proprioception and isometric exercises as well as a suitable stretching table.
Well yes, the answer to the previous question is yes. You know why? Well, because women’s body fat, somewhat higher than men’s, is an advantage when it comes to running. This is due to the reserve of extra body fat and the greater efficiency when using it as well as the physiological conservation of glycogen.
Of course, it is important to clarify that in short races this can become an inconvenience because women will be slower and will need a greater effort to maintain a certain rhythm.
In short, so far we can say that, in general, men are faster and stronger, but women win the game in terms of pace and endurance.
Yes, we are talking about biological factors that differentiate men and women who run and, of course, the size of the heart had to be present.
In case you didn’t know, a woman’s heart is smaller than a man’s , at least before continued training. This, in fact, is one of the reasons that male runners are able to run faster (their heart is larger and that means a pump of oxygenated blood to the upper body than in the case of female runners) .
Ultimately, the passage of time and continued training will improve the size of the heart so age is not a problem when running.
In general, women experience a higher number of injuries than men. This is so due to the difference in strength in the pelvis, hips and core. Also, they have weaker hamstrings but stronger quadriceps. All this together causes a running technique in which the posture is not quite correct and ends up affecting the knees and the footprint.
How to start running if you are a woman
The key to starting running as a woman is none other than being aware of all the above in order to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and thus adjust your training routine to improve the seconds.
Since hip strength seems to be a woman’s weakest point, it may be appropriate to start running by incorporating a series of exercises to increase strength.
But before thinking about the weak points we go by parts. The first of all is the sports medical examination in which a doctor opens your medical history from the performance of an electrocardiogram, as well as a cardiorespiratory, orthopedic and a stress test.
The next step would be the kit. Choosing pants or tights, a T-shirt, socks, and a sports bra for running is essential, but without a doubt the most important thing is choosing good running shoes for women . In addition, you can consider the possibility of monitoring your vital signs and your progress through an app for runners, use a GPS watch or download music for running that really motivates you (although you can also take advantage of running without music .)
With the chosen equipment, apps and accessories you are ready to take the next step: choose your training area (asphalt roads or mountains, your free time to dedicate to running (how many hours or days are you going to dedicate) and your routine ( training plan and objectives to be met.)
Now that we know that your weak point is strength in certain regions of your body, we have to work them efficiently to improve those numbers. For this, you can incorporate exercises designed to improve the strength of areas such as the hips or exercises to strengthen the core , as well as alternate workouts on the road, asphalt and uneven terrain.
Running on uneven ground is highly recommended for any runner who wants to strengthen the hip or core area since it forces the body to stabilize by taking small steps (the greater the number of strides, the less risk of injury)
Also, taking into account that 60% of runners who practice trail running are men and 40% women, it is time to change this statistic, don’t you think?
Now you know what the differences are between men and women runners and you can prepare a training routine based on your strengths and weaknesses. We hope this guide for beginner running women helps you learn how to start running efficiently.