How to Start Running the Right Way

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How to Start Running is pretty simple, but as an adult, there is a right and wrong way to start:  choose the wrong way and you get discouraged or injured , choose the right way and you decrease your chances for injury, enjoy running more, and embark on the path to healthy living.  How to start running isn’t hard, nor expensive, but there are some basic things you’ll want to do to get started.

How to Start Running Safely

Before you hit the road there are a couple of things to check.  First, if you are overweight or unsure of your health, please see a doctor for a checkup.  Let them know you want to start running.  Follow their recommendations.  They may recommend you loose some weight first.  If this is the case, ask if you walk.

Once you have seen your doctor you’ll want to make sure you have the right equipment to run.  In warmer weather you can get a way with a short sleeved T-shirt, shorts, and running shoes.  Ladies will also want a proper running bra.  This is the only equipment you’ll need.  Of course, if you’re running in chillier weather, you’ll want cold weather running gear.

Your First Run

You should make your first run a short one.  If you aren’t in condition, I would recommend participating in our Walk To Run program.  If is free, and you can sign up here.

Here are some steps to take before your first run:

  • Fuel up – make sure you eat a snack or light meal an hour and a half to two hours before you run.  You’ll need the energy for your run.
  • Hydrate – On the day of your run, drink several eight ounce glasses of water.  Stop drinking water an hour before your run.
  • How Long to Run? – Figure out how far you’ll be running.  For beginners, I would recommend the walk to run program.   That means you’ll be on the road for a half hour, which is about two miles.  If you aren’t following this program, then I wouldn’t run more than a mile the first time out.
  • Plan Your Route – Know your route before you start running.  Do your best to run on low traffic roads, or better yet, foot paths.  I like to use MapMyRun.
  • Shoes – Wear proper running shoes.  Running shoes provide the cushioning you’ll need to protect your joints and muscles from injury.
  • Pace Your Self – Make sure to run a steady and moderate pace during your run.  You should be able to easily talk, with out gasping, when running easy.  Remember, run easy, don’t run too fast or you’ll crash and burn!

After Your First Run:

  • Warm Down – Make sure you walk for a half mile to warm down.
  • Stretch Out – Perform some simple running stretches to loosen up your muscles.  You may think you should stretch before you run, but don’t!  Stretching before your muscles are warmed up causes them to actually contract.  Rather, stretch after you run, you’ll get more benefit when your muscles are warmed up and supple.
  • Hydrate – Replace any fluids you lost while running.  When I’m running in the summer I loose about an ounce of fluids a minute.  I bet you could use twenty to thirty two ounces of water about now!
  • Listen – Listen to your body.  Knowing how to start running the right way ensures you don’t get hurt, but you need to listen to your body.  Aches are normal, but sharp pains aren’t.  If you have sharp pains, stop running and rest for a couple of days.  After your rest period, you can start to run again, but don’t run as far as you normally would, go nice and easy, work your body back into the routine.
  • Plan – Make sure to plan your running sessions.  It easiest to make running a habit if you plan for it.  I try to run the same time each day, and run consistently.  I typically run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.  When training for a race, I’ll also run on Wednesdays and Fridays.

How to Start Running the Right Way

There is no magic to how to start running the right way.  Rather, it involves a few simple steps.  To summarize:

  1. Check with your doctor that it is safe for you to run.
  2. Plan your runs – don’t be too ambitious, run moderate distances at a moderate pace.  Select a walk to run program if you are unsure.  Plan a safe route free of heavy traffic.
  3. Be sure to use proper running shoes.
  4. Allow time to warm down and stretch after you run.
  5. Listen to your body.  If you’re hurting, then rest for a bit.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be on the right path to making running a healthy part of your day.  Learning how to start running the right way means, preparing, starting slow, running consistently, and listening to your body.  If you can manage these basic skills, you’ll get off to a great start.

Let me know what you think?  Got questions?  Ask them!  I would love to hear your comments.

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