Have you ever intended on starting an exercise routine but didn’t follow through?
Running is one of the most convenient workout options you’ll find, no gym membership required. Running is also one of the best exercises for your cardiovascular system. Running burns a lot of calories, makes your heart healthier, increases bone density, and clears your mind as you release endorphins. Here’s what you’ll need to do to get started:
Shoes Stable, supportive shoes are key when it comes to running. Don’t settle for any old tennis shoes. Quality shoes will help support your arch and absorb the shock to your joints as you pound the pavement. This will reduce the risk of injury as you begin your regimen. Running shoes are everywhere, but it’s a good idea to shop for them at a sporting good store or a running specialty store in your area. Ordering shoes online is also an option, but you want to try them on and walk around in them beforehand, so it is still smart to visit a store. Plan on spending between $70-$100.
Clothes Try to wear lightweight materials that are wind and sweat proof. Avoid cotton because it will absorb your sweat and get soggy. Whether it is shorts or shirts, go for quality and comfort. Running clothes can be expensive. You can lean towards brand names but you can also go to the local Target for their exercise line.
Goals Pick your trail (or your treadmill). If you’re outside, aim for dirt or asphalt rather than concrete, which is harsher on your body. Be sure to wear reflective clothing when running at night and run towards traffic. Begin by running and walking intermittently. Be reasonable and start slow. Each week, increase the amount of time you run and decrease the amount of time you walk. Use the “Talk” rule; as long as you can hold a conversation at your pace, you’re good to go! Otherwise, slow down, take it easy and make sure you can breathe. Initially, focus on time not intensity. Once you can run for 30 minutes straight and feel good about it, then increase the intensity.
Side stitches, also known as cramps, are fairly common when you take up running. If you get a side stitch while running, walk while holding your hands up in the air and take deep breathes. Applying direct pressure can help as well.
Avoid getting stitches or cramps by:
1) Waiting two to four hours to eat a large meal before running
2) Strengthening your stomach muscles. Your abdominals assist with keeping your body in proper position while running. Do sit-ups to strengthen your lower back and abs.
Shin splints are another painful result of running as you are starting out or increasing the intensity of your regimen. A way to avoid them is to consistently train in another activity such as swimming or biking. If the problem persists, you may need more supportive shoes. Also, make sure you stretch after you run and treat them with RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation.