Are you interested in running but afraid of the first steps? Here are a few tips to get you off on the right foot and on your way to enjoying the sport of running. Most important, consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
As a runner, the most important piece of equipment is your pair of running shoes. Before starting your running program, visit a shop such as Dave’s Performance Footgear, which specializes in running shoes, for an assessment of your needs and a personalized fit.
One of the most common complaints of new runners is, “I can’t breathe.” Focus your energy on exhaling rather than inhaling. As your need for air increases, think about forcing the air out of your lungs rather than sucking it in. This will make you less tired than when you are huffing and puffing and will also help prevent hyperventilation.
In the beginning, take frequent short runs after resting sufficiently. Your runs should last long enough for your body to get a workout but still be able to recover in time for your next run. If you over exercise and your muscles do not recover to their original condition, you will not gain any benefit. Strength is gained during rest when your muscles repair the fibers that are broken down during exercise. But remember, every runner is different when it comes to the amount and frequency of exercise that is appropriate. Listen to your body.
As a novice runner, take quick steps rather than long ones. You will not tire as fast if you take short, fast steps rather than long, slow ones, especially when you are tackling hills. When running downhill, lean your body forward in order to try to keep your body perpendicular to the hill.
Novice runners need motivation and a schedule. Join a beginner running group or seek out a running partner. Some runners find that taking music along on their workouts helps make running fun. When using headphones, though, play the music at a reasonable level so you can hear traffic noise and remain alert to potential hazards. Speaking of hazards, if you are running alone, carry identification and always run against traffic, preferably on sidewalks or running paths.
One of the best ways to improve and get more enjoyment out of running is to enter road races. The experience of finishing a running race is exhilarating. Start with the goal of a 5K (3.1 mile) road race, “fun run,” or a relay race with your running friends. Races can provide a foundation for enjoying a long life of running.