Ready to Run
Haven't run in a while?... Haven't run at all?
You're in the right place. Getting started running can be intimidating for some, but it doesn't need to be. Every runner (new or experienced) has to start somewhere. Whether you have never been active before, haven't run much, or are trying to get back into it, you can be off and running in no time when you follow these simple steps:
1. Check-up. If you have any health-related concerns, ask your doctor before you begin running to make certain you are physically able to do so.
2. Get a calendar. Decide on 3 non-consecutive days to run each week, and mark them. Running on consecutive days when you are just getting started does not allow for your body to recover properly. Plan to spend 20-30 minutes on your 3 chosen days.
3. Get some comfortable running shoes. Shoes that work well for someone else may not work well for you. Feet come in all different shapes, and sizes, so the best thing you can do is go into a running store and be fitted. A general athletic or sports store likely won't be able to perform this service. When you go to the store, try to bring an old pair of shoes with you. The shoes you bring in will have a "wear pattern" on them and will help your guide determine what's best for your feet.
4. Learn good running posture. You can watch the video posted at the end of this article, or ask a runner friend to demonstrate this. Strive to keep your head up, shoulders loose, and hands at waist level. Don't allow your hands and arms to swing in front of your chest. Try not to bounce, instead be aware of landing softly and moving forward smoothly. You don't want or need leg, knee or foot injuries.
5. Hit the road. Or treadmill, or track, or sidewalk. Keeping track of time with a watch or iPod is a good idea. Aim for 20-30 minutes. Begin walking, then ease into a slow run. When you begin to tire, or become too uncomfortable, slow to a walk again. Repeat this walk/run method on your running day, gradually increasing the length of your running intervals.
6. Breathe. Focus on taking deep breaths in and exhaling slowly. The further you get into your run, you will find your breathing settling into a more comfortable rhythm.
7. Stretch. Your muscles will want to tighten up after being put to work. If you are uncertain about how to perform correct stretches, ask, or look online for explanations/videos. Make sure you take a few minutes after your run to stretch out each major muscle group. Hold stretches for 20 seconds.
8. You can do this! There may be running days you can't avoid missing, and there may be running days you avoid on purpose. Everyone has ups and downs. When you have one of "those" days, don't throw in the towel. Recommit yourself to your goal, and lace up your running shoes. You'll be running the entire 20-30 minutes before you know it, and ready to start training for your first 5K race.