So you want to start running? Running can increase stamina and muscle strength, and studies show that it seriously decreases body fat. The hardest part about running is getting motivated to take your first step out on the road for your first run; no treadmills here. March is just around the corner and it’s a great time to start running—the weather is changing and the warmer air will ease your body into the punishment it is about to endure. Here are a few pointers to get you started on your first run:
Good shoes—no Pumas here!
The most common running injury is pain in the knees and/or feet. The cause: bad running shoes. Yes, your Pumas are stylish, but no, they aren’t running shoes. If you’re serious about getting started, buy a good pair of runners. Asics seem to be a solid foundation for runners as they provide ankle support and cushioning for every stride.
If you’re planning to run
strictly on grass, Nike Free is a good choice. Just be sure to get a running shoe, not a “lifestyle” shoe, or your legs will tell you to quit.
Do not expect quick results
It is proven that running decreases weight and body fat, but only over time. Running should be something you enjoy, not a chore to lose some pounds gained over the two or three holiday dinners that you’re still regretting. Running doesn’t provide a quick fix to losing weight, but it will help you lose it over months of time.
The most difficult part of running is motivating yourself to keep going and continuing to stride. Find something that keeps you motivated on your run. Bring your iPod and run to the beat if you need to; music is a great tool to avoid thinking of the pain in your lungs or legs. If you stay motivated, you will go further and get there faster every time.
Set attainable goals
The worst feeling is setting a goal and not being able to achieve it. Start off slow! Even if you feel like you are hardly moving just keep running and don’t walk! Setting an attainable goal is the key to your success. You know what you can do and what is achievable; set a goal and stick to it. Increase your goal on a weekly basis and you will be surprised how far you go.
The run is not over after you stop running
So you just finished your first 3K run and your lungs and legs are burning and you just want to sit down. Don’t do this! The run isn’t over until you cool down and stretch. If you want to be able to walk properly the next day, take the advice and stretch thoroughly before and after every run.
Eat well, drink well
It’s pretty obvious that if you have a Big Mac an hour before you are planning to run, it isn’t going to turn out too well. The same goes for heavy meals: it will just cause cramps and ultimately make you stop. Have a light meal before running, let it digest, then run. Keep hydrated! And no, beer does not count as hydration. It’s water; water is your best friend as a runner! Cramps while you run are caused by dehydration and a simple drink of water before your run can avoid this.
All in all, running is one of the greatest ways to keep fit. Every runner is different in what they want out of running. All you have to do is focus, stay motivated and keep getting back on the road even after a bad performance. You will eventually find what works best for you. Happy trails!