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How to Get Back into Running: Tips from the Pros

Professional Triathlete and Luna Pro, Terra Castro, offers great tips for new runners.

The Nike Women’s Marathon is coming to San Francisco in less than a month. On October 20, San Francisco’s streets will be filled with thousands of runners from all over the world. I will be one of those runners.

While there are many pros and experienced racers in the Nike Women’s race, there are also a lot of newbies — like myself. Before signing up for the Nike Half, I hadn’t run in almost two years. I rode my bike every day, but hadn’t put the rubber to the road for a long run since college. And frankly, I was a little nervous.

For a pep talk and advise on getting back into running, I turned to one of the pros. Here’s what professional Triathelete, coach, and Luna Pro Runner, Terra Castro, has to say about getting back into the sport, where to run, and how to get over that hump of not wanting to go another step.

What’s your advice for someone who wants to start running or get back into running?
Go to a specialty run store and get evaluated for run shoes that work for YOUR feet. This is step one to happy running. Find a goal that motivates you -- a race, a training group, a running buddy, so that when you don't "feel" like running, you can get yourself out the door. Start gradual and then build into it.

San Francisco is known for its giant hills. What are your tips for running hills?
Compact strides, break it up into sections mentally, keep your arms up and driving your forward. Embrace the challenge! Buns of steel.

San Francisco has lots of gorgeous places to run: trails, secret staircases, hills with Bay vistas. What’s your favorite local run?

My favorite place to run is the Marin headlands outside the city: Ocean views, beautiful trees, a little bit of chilly air and fog and open trails. Perfect!

You’ve had a lot of incredible victories as a pro athlete. What are you most proud of? 

I am most proud of my recent scaling back from racing. I enjoy sharing my passion for triathlon/running with the Team Luna Chix athletes and I coach middle school runners. It is time to give back to a sport that has given me so much. Second most awesome result though was Ironman KY 2012. I crossed the line in 3rd place after placing a girl at mile 25!

When you’re running and you just don’t feel like you can go any further, what do you do? 

I redirect my focus, I pull out my mental purse of motivations and goals and go through them till the moment of "blah" passes.  Normally it will. Smiling helps, as well as just being flexible in changing around your workouts because we all face being tired or having bad days. It's about how we adjust and cope with the challenges, that make us better athletes.

What’s your after-workout routine? 

I usually try to get in a smoothie (protein/carb mix) or Luna protein bar directly post workout to recover well. Then I stretch, roll with my trigger point technology GRID roller (THEY ARE THE BEST!) and my lacrosse ball, do a little bit of core work, and then I head off to conquer the rest of the day. I usually run first thing in the morning; it's easier to start your day with a bang.

Want to start running again? San Francisco has a lot of great running clubs that can motivate you to get back into the sport and train for an event.