The beginning runner has a few things to consider before taking on the sport of running. The great thing about running is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment and doesn’t require that other people be involved. But there are still a few things you will need.
Make sure you get a good pair of running shoes before you start a running program. A running store employee can make sure you get the right style and fit for you. A good rule of thumb is to only wear them for about 500 miles. Then you can use them as walking shoes, but not for running.
Wear socks that are made of synthetic materials that will wick away moisture. This also helps to protect against blisters. Stay away from socks that are 100% cotton. Once they get wet, they will stay wet and cause problems.
One of the biggest mistakes beginning runners make is to do too much too soon. If you start out slow and pace yourself you will do better in the long run. This should begin with some stretching, squats and deep knee bends. Warm your muscles up with a brisk walk.
Then you can pick it up and run at an easy pace. You should be able to talk in complete sentences. If you can’t, you need to slow it down a little. A run/walk program is a great way to start. There’s no rule that says you have to run the whole time. Do what feels right for you.
Don’t pound the pavement. Go for a softer landing to avoid additional stress on your knees and joints. Also, building up your quads by doing low impact activities like biking, swimming and weight lifting, help keep your knee joints healthy. You want to build up strength, stamina and flexibility to help protect them. If your knees are loose and flexible they’re less likely to be injured while running.
Start hydrating several days before you begin your running program. Add a little more water each day than you would normally drink. Drink a few ounces of water before you go out, and carry water with you to drink on the way. Another few ounces every fifteen minutes should be enough. Then drink plenty of water after your run.
Don’t ignore pain. If you feel any kind of pain while running, stop. Take a day or two off to rest so that you don’t put any more stress on the injury. It’s a good idea to rest in between runs anyway. Do some kind of low impact activity like swimming or weight training on your days off.
Training with a buddy will make it more interesting and will hold you accountable. Set some short and long term goals and keep them. As a beginning runner mix up your training routes and make it fun. This way you will be more inclined to stick with it.