If you’re looking for a cheap yet effective way to stay fit why not consider running? You don’t need to invest in any equipment such as tennis racquets, golf clubs, free weights; you don’t necessarily need a coach or a trainer to learn how to do it (although it might be better to actually consult with one before you embark on a new fitness regime); and you can run anywhere.
When you’re ready to get up and go, here are a few tips for running beginners.
Warm up and Cool Down
Always start your running session with a few limbering or warm up exercises. Warm-up exercises tell your body that it will be undergoing a workout soon and these exercises slowly raise your heart rate which reduces the stress on your heart when you actually start to run. At the end of your run, always have a cool-down period. Cool-downs are the exact opposite of warm-ups. These exercises allow your heart and blood pressure to go back to normal gradually. Brisk walking, stretching and light jogging are some of the warm up / cool down exercises you can do before and after every run.
Form Does Matter
Yes, there is a right way of running and the reason you should follow the correct form is to, not only prevent injuries and unnecessary body pains, but primarily so you can get the most benefit out of your workout. When you run, keep your hands at waist level, just where they would lightly brush your hip. Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle with your elbows at your sides. Your posture should remain straight and erect. Keep your head up, your back straight, and shoulders level.
As a beginner, try to run at an easy or conversational pace. You know you’ve reached this level when you are able to still breathe very easily and carry on a conversation while you’re running. It might not be too impressive but you can’t rush things. Starting out running at this level will help prevent over training and overuse injuries.
It’s Okay to Run and Walk
If you find yourself needing to stop to catch your breath and walk while running, it’s all right. That’s normal. Most beginner runners actually start by following a run/walk technique simply because they don’t have the endurance or fitness (yet) to run for extended periods of time. Start off on a run/walk routine and then, with every running session just gradually extend the amount of time you’re running and reduce your walking time.
Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon
Yes, you probably want to run a marathon – but you don’t have to join the one next week. Don’t fall into the trap of pushing yourself too soon because this just leads to injury. Once you’re able to run for extended periods of time gradually increase your mileage (distance you run). Generally, increase the distance by not more than 10% every week. Your body would be able to cope with minor increases over an extended period of time much better than one great big increase in a short span of time.
Breathe through your Nose and Mouth
It is a common misconception that when running, you should only breathe through your nose. It is actually better if you breathed through both your nose and mouth when you’re running to ensure you get enough oxygen to your muscles. Breathing properly and taking deep belly breaths help prevent side stitches, a form of discomfort often felt by new runners.
Choose the Right Gear
Finally – dress the part! If you’re going to run, you have to make sure that you are properly outfitted for your chosen form of exercise. You don’t have to buy the latest running ensemble released by Nike or Adidas, just wear something comfortable but remember to:
- Avoid cotton: Cotton tops and bottoms absorb sweat and can cause painful or uncomfortable chafing. Instead, run in tops made of synthetic fabrics such as spandex and polyester which wick away sweat.
- Wear appropriate under wear: If you’re a female runner, it would pay to invest in a comfortable sports bra. If you’re a male runner, you might want to consider getting nylon compression briefs or shorts. There are many options around – choose which one best suits your needs.
- Invest in good running shoes: Since you’re going to be running, it just makes sense that you should purchase a good pair of shoes that are comfortable and suited to your foot type and running style. Take the time to visit a specialist shoe store and discuss your needs with them so you are fitted with the right pair of shoes. Remember too that you shouldn’t go running in worn-out shoes. Running shoes should be replaced every 300 – 400 miles. For more information on how to choose the right pair of shoes, check out the video below.
Now that you have all this knowledge, the next step now is for you to actually go out and run! Enjoy!