Running for Beginners, by Amie Adcock

Maybe you’ve never run before or maybe it’s just been so long that you feel like you are a beginner all over again. Don’t fear the road; conquer it!

First remember not only the tangible matters when it comes to getting results. Yes, a leaner body and plenty of long distance training under your belt will help. However, what matters most comes from the inside. By overcoming your limitations and obstacles, you learn to feel more confident about yourself.

First, analyze your current lifestyle and find the time you need to commit to running. If you can’t fit it all in at once, take two short runs duing the day. In the beginning, establish a schedule you know can work. Don’t worry about how far you’ll run, just plan for a certain amount of time. Interval training is a great way to build up your mileage. Try running for thirty seconds, then walking for a minute. Power walking also improves aerobic conditioning. When you can’t run, you can use walking as an active recovery.

Remember; don’t forget about activity and rest. Running too much creates risks of burnout and injury. Running too little means you won’t improve much and could leave you shy of your your goals. As your goals change, so should your training schedule. If you are training for a race, adjust speed, time, and/or frequency of training to match what you’re working toward.

Often improper form or poorly fitting shoes can lead to unnecessary joint paint. Consult with someone at a highly recommended running shop, where an expert watches you run outside or on a treadmill. They will be able to analyze what type of shoe suits your stature and movement patterns and tell you whether a shoe insert may be of help. Remember to follow recommended mileage limits for shoes. Running on worn-out sneakers, which have most of the cushioning compacted and broken down, is asking for an injury.

If you get out of breath quickly when running, slow down and work on establishing a pace that you can maintain for 20 or more minutes. A lot of beginning runners make the common mistake of running too fast. Try to run so you can speak to another person and breathe comfortably. Using a heart rate monitor can help you get a feel for whether you are working at a good pace. Most fit individuals without cardiovascular risks and who are not taking medication which lowers blood pressure should do aerobic training at a heart rate between 60 and 80 percent of their maximum heart rate. As you get stronger, you can increase your pace without having your heart rate go up any higher and your heart rate will drop more quickly whenever you slow your pace or stop exercising.

If you get a side cramp, try slowing your pace. If this doesn’t help, then reach your arms up over your head to see if the gas bubble moves.

Post-exercise stretching is imperative for reducing post-exercise muscle soreness, preventing injuries and maintaining flexibility. Stretch all major muscle groups worked – quadriceps, hamstrings, piriformis/gluteals, inner thighs, and calves. Hold the following stretches for about 30 seconds while taking deep breaths to enhance the relaxation response.

Don’t let your fears or anxieties about running stop you from going out and giving it a try. Its a sport that can be done almost anywhere by almost anybody.

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