I have heard so many people say they can’t run. Although it is true that someone with any sort of joint injury or medical condition may have been advised not to run, anyone can throw on a pair of runners and reap the benefits of running. It is cheap, burns TONS of calories, provides a surge of “happy hormones” in the brain and can improve your overall health! There IS such a thing as a runners high! You feel great after! The trick when starting out is to set small, attainable goals! No one can go from couch to 5 km without working up to it. Here are some tips:
-Find a runner partner! Having someone there for motivation always helps.
-Plan out a running loop that is not too long. Choose somewhere you enjoy such as a park etc. that you could repeat as you get stronger. Running on gravel, packed dirt, sand or grass will give some cushioning to your joints.
-Download a free running app. I use RunKeeper or Run4Good to track my runs. Seeing your distance, times and pace will help to motivate you.
-Get a good pair of running shoes. There is no type/brand/store that sells the best shoe. Something that fits you best and feels comfortable will do!
-Remember that you are doing this for you! You don’t need to win any races (unless you want to of course!!) so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you feel overwhelmed, scale back and start small!
-Start out with a walk:run ratio that pushes you to work hard but doesn’t over do it. I would suggest starting with a 5 min jog, 3 min walk. Increase the jog about 1 min and decrease the rest 30 sec every 4 or 5 runs. Then start increasing your distance. I run my 8km runs now at 10 min jog to 1 min rest. You can actually set RunKeeper to your preferred ratio and it will tell you when to walk or run.
-Warm up thoroughly before each run. A brisk walk, ankle rolls, high knees and bum kicks will get your muscles moving! Always finish a run with a full cool down. Walk for 5-10 min until your heart rate has slowed (for those of you with heart rate monitors it should come back down around 100 bpm). Stretch all major muscle groups and REHYDRATE! You are probably pretty sweaty…so that means you need water water water!
Running is a great way to stay fit, de-stress and enjoy the outdoors! Give it a try, and maybe you will be signing up for your first 5km, 10km, or even a marathon someday!!
Watch for future posts on what to eat before and after runs.
*Please check with your doctor before starting a running program to be sure it is right for you.