Running is an excellent form of exercise, but the beginner needs to know how to start running in order to prevent injury. There are differences between walking, jogging, and running. Walking is a slower pace than jogging or running. Jogging is a form of trotting and slower than running. Jogging is usually slower than 6 mph. Running is a faster pace than walking and jogging. Running is usually faster than 6 mph.
The first and most important step in learning how to start running is to get a physical at your doctor’s office. Your doctor will offer helpful advice if you are a smoker, are overweight, have heart problems, diabetes, or other health conditions.
You will need comfortable and well-fitting running shoes to start running. Shoes don’t need to be expensive. Running shoes need to be the correct size, fit well, and have enough cushion and support to prevent injury to the feet, back, and legs.
Comfortable, loose running clothes are also a must to start running. Be sure to dress in layers. Dress warmly in cold weather but not overly to make you overheat. Remember that your body will warm up as you run. In warm weather, dress in short sleeves and shorts. If you are a male, do not run without a shirt. Your skin needs protection from the rays of the sun.
Always keep a water bottle filled with water whether it is cold or hot weather. You do not want to dehydrate.
Bring a watch or stopwatch to check the time and your running time.
Some runners use a heart monitor if they have heart problems or just to track their heart rate.
Some people use a pedometer to keep track of the distance they are running.
Sunglasses and sun lotion are important in sunny weather to protect your eyes and skin from the sun.
Wearing a headband will keep the perspiration from getting into your eyes. Wrist bands will allow you to wipe perspiration away. Some runners keep a small towel tucked in a back pocket to wipe away any perspiration.
WARMUP BEFORE RUNNING
Whether you are a seasoned runner or learning to start running, warming up will prevent any cramping or injuries that may occur. Warming up loosens the muscles and lessens or prevents any aches, pains, or injuries. Warm-ups should be performed 10 to 15 minutes before running.
Warm-ups can include walking, jogging, cycling or stretching exercises. Stretching exercises should focus on the neck, shoulders, arms, waist, legs, ankles, and feet.
The best way to learn how to start running during the first month is to walk for the first 15 minutes to warm up, then jog, then run. Work up to running gradually.
Run for time, not distance. Start with a short period of running and gradually increase each week by 15 minutes.
Run at a good pace. You should be able to talk while running. If you are out of breath, you need to slow down or walk for 10 to 15 minutes.
The heel of the foot should land on the ground first and then roll the foot towards the toes. Runners do not run on their toes like sprinters do. This will cause injuries such as shin splints and cramping in the calves. Run lightly on your feet and don’t put too much “bounce” in your stride.
Keep your hands loose, not clenched, and at waist level, just brushing your hips. Don’t hold your arms up or swing your arms excessively.
Keep your back straight, head up, and shoulders level. Slouching can lead to numerous injuries of different parts of the body.
Do not run more than three times a week. The muscles need time to rest. Other exercises can be substituted for the “off” days of running such as walking, swimming, or using exercise equipment.
COOL DOWN AFTER RUNNING
It is important to cool and calm the body and heart rate after a running workout. A five-minute walk or stretching exercises are good choices.
Eat a sensible diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Eat according to the basic food groups. Don’t eat a lot of junk food. You are what you eat, and what you eat will either give you energy or make you sluggish.
Drink lots of water. Some sports drinks contain too much sodium which is not good for your body. Drinking alcohol when not running is not good for the body either.
Don’t smoke while running or stop for a cigarette break while you are running. You’re supposed to be filling your lungs and body with fresh air, not stale smoke.
Be sure to get enough sleep every night. If you start running even though you are tired, you will fatigue quickly and may cause injury to yourself.
When learning how to start running, keep a schedule, and stick with it. Pick a certain time to run each day. Maybe early mornings to start running are better for you to jumpstart your day. Maybe running in the evenings after work would be a way to wind down and relax from the stresses of the day.
Be careful running on roads, sidewalks, recreational paths, or walking trails. Watch for traffic, other runners, pedestrians, and cyclists. Also, be careful not to twist your ankles on uneven terrain. Watch your posture when running up and downhills. Stop running if you are injured.
Running at an indoor track is ideal all year round especially if you live in an area that has ice and snow. If you do run outside in the ice or snow, be careful not to slip and fall. Dress warm to prevent frostbite.
When learning how to start running, many beginners prefer to run with friends. This makes the time pass more quickly. That friend may also be a seasoned runner with valuable advice. Just be careful not to lose track of time and push yourself beyond your limits or to impress your fellow runner.
Since you are just learning to start running, be patient, and don’t overdo it. The body needs time to adapt in order to build strength and endurance. Overdoing will also result in injuries that could have been prevented.
Don’t always run on the same type of surface. Change surfaces every so often. If you’ve been running on concrete for the last week, then change to a softer surface.
Drink enough water whether you are learning how to start running in cold or hot weather. It is important to always stay hydrated.
You will be able to run longer distances at a faster pace as you build endurance and stamina and get in better shape. As you progress after you learn how to start running, you can start out with smaller competitive runs such as 5-kilometer runs and gradually work up to marathons which are 26 miles.
When learning to start running, you may encounter blisters on your feet. The solution for this is to wear socks that don’t hold moisture and are not too tightly fitting. Also, check the fit of your shoes for any rubbing.
If muscle strains and soreness are causing inflammation, apply a cold compress or ice bag to the affected area. Never put ice directly on the skin. Although ice is cold, it will burn the skin.
Ibuprofen or aspirin can be taken for inflammation and pain.
Applying a heating pad or hot compress will provide relief to sore muscles. Soaking in a hot bath will also relieve soreness and is very relaxing. Many products are also on the market to soothe sore muscles such as gels and creams.
Do more stretching and warming up before running to prevent injury.
Knee injuries and shin splints can be prevented by proper stretching of the knees, legs, and calves. Also, check that your running shoes offer enough support to your feet.
More serious injuries include hip bursitis, stress fractures, pulled hamstring, ankle sprain, Achilles tendonitis, and arch pain. Take a break from running if any pain persists. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor before the injury worsens.
Learning how to start running builds stamina, endurance, and muscles and gets you into shape.
Your heart works more efficiently so you live longer.
Running lowers cholesterol and increases bone density.
Running burns 100 calories per mile so you lose weight.
Running is relaxing and lowers stress which improves your mental state.
If you become dizzy while running, it means you are becoming dehydrated and not getting enough water or are pushing yourself too hard. Rest or walk for a few minutes and drink more water.
Form and posture are important when learning how to start running. Using improper posture and form may cause injury.
Stop running if you become injured.
Learning to start running the proper way is essential for the health and welfare of the body. There is much that the beginner needs to know in order to prevent unnecessary injuries, aches, and pains.
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