Running 101

Two girls running It’s no secret I love run­ning.  I came up with the name for my web­site on one of my runs in Cen­tral Park, in New York City.  Run­ning burns more calo­ries than many oth­er activ­i­ties, it’s great for your heart, good for your bones and all you need is a good pair of run­ning shoes.

Besides the phys­i­cal ben­e­fits, run­ning also pro­vides valu­able men­tal ben­e­fits.  For morn­ing run­ners, it gives you time to plan the day ahead.  Evening run­ners, have time for reflec­tion and pro­cess­ing of the day accom­plished.  Run­ning helps relieve stress, lifts your mood and gives you con­fi­dence to help tack­le your goals and ambi­tions.

I hope you’ll enjoy your runs as much as I do.  Here are some tips to help get you start­ed:

1.  Get a good pair of run­ning shoes.
I rec­om­mend you go to a sports or spe­cial­ty run­ning store and be fit­ted for the right shoe.  They can deter­mine if you need a sta­bil­i­ty (nor­mal), motion con­trol (flat feet), or a neu­tral- cush­ioned shoe (high-arched).  Run­ning shoes should be about ½ size big­ger than your nor­mal size shoe, to allow your toes some room.  If you nor­mal­ly wear an 8 get an 8 1/2, oth­er­wise you’ll end up with black toe­nails, no toe­nails and/or  blis­ters, I can vouch for that.

You can vis­it the Amer­i­can Podi­atric Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion web­site for more infor­ma­tion and a list of approved run­ning shoes.

2.  Warm up and cool down.
Your warm-up and cool down can be 5–8 min­utes of walk­ing or slow jog­ging.  Leave the stretch­es for after your work­out when your mus­cles are warm enough to be stretched.

3.  Start slow
As moti­vat­ed as you may be right now, it pays to start your run­ning pro­gram slow­ly and safe­ly;  this will pre­vent injuries and burn out.  Run 3 days a week, every oth­er day to give your legs a rest.  This helps pre­vent injuries and allows your leg mus­cles to rebuild them­selves.

4. No music.  When you first start run­ning, I rec­om­mend not lis­ten­ing to music.  The music may help moti­vate you but it pre­vents you from real­ly pay­ing atten­tion to your breath and foot strike.  Your breath­ing should be reg­u­lar and your foot should hit the ground qui­et­ly.

5. Form.

  • Look ahead and for­ward instead of to the ground.
  • Keep your shoul­ders relaxed and down instead of hunched by your ears.  Check your­self through­out your run, shake out your arms to help relax your upper body.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees, keep your hands unclenched with your fin­gers light­ly touch­ing your palms.
  • Swing your arms for­ward and back instead of across your body.
  • Run tall by keep­ing your upper body nat­u­ral­ly straight.  When you feel your­self slouch, take a deep breath, this will help straight­en your upper body.
  • Take fast light steps and try to glide over the ground instead of bounc­ing.

6. Keep a train­ing log.  Stud­ies show that peo­ple exer­cise more when they log their progress.  Got to my post Free Apps to Track your Weight and Fit­ness Goals for options.

Some final words, you may not like run­ning in the begin­ning.   And that’s under­stand­able, your breath­ing may be dif­fi­cult, your body may be sore, and it may just be dif­fi­cult to get into a rhythm.  But don’t despair.  Give it some time, your body needs to get used to the activ­i­ty.  The more you run, the eas­i­er it will get and the more you will enjoy it!




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