Whether you run for fitness, health, weight loss or for fun, you will need to learn the basics about running even though running seems to be a simple sport.
If you’re new to running, before you even take your first steps, here are some important things and tips that you should know to get you started:
1. Invest in the right running shoes.
Wearing the right running shoes is your key for comfort and to prevent injury. You can visit a running specialty store to get fitted for the right shoes for your foot type. Here’s a Beginners Guide in Choosing the Right Running Shoe.
2. Get comfortable running clothes.
You don’t need to buy fancy running clothing. Just wear comfortable clothes that you would workout in. Note however that cotton shirts, short shorts, and bulky sweat pants that get wet with sweat and can cause chafing.
If you have budget, consider investing in a technical sport shirt and shorts. They are lighter, dries up faster, and helps manage sweat and body heat. When you go out for your runs, be careful not to overdress as once you warm up, your extra body heat will make you feel warmer. Take a peek of the running accessories in Gearing up for First Time Runners.
If you are a female runner, wearing a well-fit and supportive sports bra will make you feel more comfortable and confident. Sports bra should fit you properly and not be too stretched out. Here’s a tip on How to Choose a Sports Bra for Running.
3. Make sure you warm up and cool down.
All of your runs should start with a warm-up and end with a cool down.
A warm up signals your body for the work out or for the run. It also helps minimize stress on your heart by slowly raising your heart rate. Warm up also increases your muscles’ temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. Try walking briskly, marching, jogging slowly, or cycling on a stationary bike.
Cool downs, on the other hand allows your heart rate and blood pressure fall gradually so it not advisable to suddenly stop. You can end your run by walking or slowly jogging for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Don’t worry about your pace.
Since you are a beginner, your runs should be an easy pace. With this pace, you should be able to breathe easily and can carry on a conversation. Starting with an easy run will help prevent overtraining and injuries.
5. Try the run/walk approach.
Most runners start using the run/walk technique as they do not have the endurance yet to run for longer periods of time. This involves running for a short segment and then taking a walk break. The goal of this approach is to extend the amount of time you’re running and reduce your walking time.
Don’t be shy in taking a walking break. This approach is a good way to safely build your fitness and endurance.
6. Hydrate Properly.
Hydration is very important. Running 30 minutes or less, you might not need to drink water but if you’re running longer than that, especially in warmer weather, you should be drinking water every 20 minutes or so. The advice by medical experts is to drink according to one’s thrist. When drinking, take fluids in small quantities rather than taking in big gulps.
Some new runners don’t like to drink water while running. They are worried that they’re going to get a cramp in their side, also known as a side stitch. They’re usually a result of not breathing properly and are not caused by drinking water.
7. Breathe in through your nose and mouth.
Side stitch is a common issue for new runners. As mention in point #5, it is caused by not breathing properly. You actually want to breathe in through your nose and mouth to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen to your muscles during your run. Side stiches can be prevented by taking deep belly breaths.
8. Run against traffic.
When running on roads, make sure you are in the opposite direction of cars or against the traffic. You are safer as you can see the cars coming at you. Always remember to stay clear of oncoming cars and never assume that a driver can see you.
9. Don’t do too much too soon.
New runners are full of energy and very anxious to get started. This makes them end up increasing their mileage too quickly, leading to injury.
Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week. By building up slowly, you can save yourself pain and injuries. Use and follow a schedule or training plan. You should also supplement your running with cross-training exercises such as swimming or cycling.
10. Ask help from seasoned runners.
Don’t get intimidated when you’re around more experienced runners. Remember that all runners were in your shoes at one point. Get tips and ask questions as for sure most runners want to help. Here’s an article written for a newbie runner: Takbo101: How do I start running?
A running coach is a great option for runners, even at any level. The coach will provide you with the knowledge, motivation and resources that will make your runs both enjoyable and injury free.
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