If you think that you can just get up and start running one day, you are wrong. Running requires certain rules and gear if you don’t want to get hurt or injure yourself and give it up even before you have started properly. Running is largely safe, easy to do at any time of the day or night (weather permitting) and quite inexpensive. Here are 10 running tips for beginners:
1. Footwear – your feet have to bear your running weight and impact, so you need shoes that are comfortable, well-fitting and give proper support. You also need the right kind of socks to go with the shoes.
2. Warm-up – do some light warm-up exercises before you start running. Better still if you are already walking, start running for a couple of minutes interspersed with walking, which should be at a brisk pace.
3. Clothes – wear track or sweat pants or shorts and a comfortable t-shirt. Add layers when the weather is cold. Avoid pure cotton as the fabric gets wet, causes chafing and takes long to dry. For a woman, the right sports bra is essential.
4. Diet – don’t eat a heavy meal before running. At the same time you can’t be hungry, so eat light.
5. Break – if you feel very tired during a run, take a short break, but keep walking.
6. Running area – map a route that is safe if you are not in a park. If you are running in traffic, make sure that you are facing the traffic and not going in the same direction. However, it is better if you run early morning or late evening or night when there is less road traffic and reduced pollution. When running at night wear high visibility clothing or put some fluorescent patches on your clothes.
7. Water – if you go for long runs or the weather is very hot, you may need water. Skip energy drinks and the like as they only add calories. You can have drinks that contain electrolytes if you are running over five miles.
8. Food after running – eat a protein rich meal after running. This will help in muscle recovery.
9. Goal setting – this is important as it marks the steps in your running. Aim for running for a certain time period or a certain number of miles and then increase either the time or the distance or both once you have achieved your goal. Once you are an experienced runner you can even enter races or marathons if you are competitive.
It is always a good idea to get clearance from a physician before starting any exercise program. And if you experience chest pain or dizziness or pain in other areas of your body that does not go away with rest, check with the doctor again.
Running is a great way to become physically fit, lose weight and build strong bones. You can run every day or every alternate day, but do it regularly and not occasionally; otherwise you will have to start from scratch again.
Do you have a running story to share?