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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