April 26, 2011

Starting a Running Program: 5 Tips to Get Running!

For so many of us, the very idea of running seems daunting. We’ve spent so much time sitting at work, sitting in front of the TV, or sitting in the car that running a mere mile seems an impossibility!

Runner’s Edge has a secret for you: it’s not impossible and it’s not that daunting!

The first step towards health, happiness and a new you is the decision to start so congratulations on getting here. We’ve compiled the top 5 tips, advice and necessary information for new runners so that you can develop a running plan that you love and that works for you; after all, you’re not going to stick to something that you don’t love and we want you to love running as much as we do!

Get Moving!

  • Start where you are

    - One of the problems that many new runners encounter is that they want to do too much too soon. They assume that a mile will be a breeze and they push themselves too hard too soon. This can be dangerous for two reasons – first, it can cause injuries on joints and muscles that are not accustomed to that style of exercise. Second, it can cause new runners to become easily discouraged early on. Start where you are, if you haven’t been regularly active in the past few years, you will need to start slow and with shorter jogs. Face where you are and accept that it takes time to become a long distance runner! We all start from zero and build on our workouts over the course of weeks and months.
  • Get some shoes & apparel!

    - Finding the right running shoes is the most important part of your new running regimen, they will support your feet, minimize injuries, and make running easier and more enjoyable. Make sure to find the right shoes for your feet (flat footed, high arch, etc) and your style of running (all-terrain, minimalist running, etc). Speak to an expert to find you what you need, especially if you are not well-versed in styles of running. When it comes to shoe shopping, skimping is not an option; do not choose a cheaper option simply because it costs less as this may result in injuries or shoes that wear very easily. Investing in some great technical apparel that literally wicks the sweat away from your body will also help to make your run more enjoyable.
  • Set a schedule

    - It’s difficult to stick to a workout regimen if you don’t have a schedule, whether you run, swim, or do yoga. Set aside certain times on specific days that you will dedicate to running – for example, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays after work from 6pm to 6:30pm. For newcomers, we recommend 20-30 minutes 3-4 days a week. Alternate running and walking at first (e.g.: 90 seconds of walking, 60 seconds of running) so that you are able to build muscle and so that your legs, muscles, bones, ankles, and feet get accustomed to running. As you build on your regimen you can add more time, longer distances, and more days of the week. For example, a friend of ours runs 2 miles every other day.
  • Learn basic running technique

    - You want to protect your feet, tendons and ankle when running so make sure to stay relaxed and move slowly at first until your feet, legs and body become familiar with the movement of running. Maintain good posture without arching yourself backwards, keep arms relaxed at waist level and focus on landing softly so that you reduce impact and strain on your joints. Remember that running is supposed to be fun, enjoyable, and good for your body, if something hurts or doesn’t feel right, back off and slow down so you don’t strain yourself.
  • Join a group

    - Most communities have running groups for new runners that can provide motivation and advice. Running with friends or other runners can provide safety and support and studies have shown that those who have a supportive, motivating group around them are more likely to stick to their workout programs and achieve goals. Check online or at local community centers to find running groups. You may also want to talk to some of the people you see frequently at the gym; they may be new to running just like you and want to start a running group! For those in the New York and tri-state area, Runner’s Edge NY is participating in Runstart, tentatively scheduled to start in the beginning of June. Geared towards beginners, it will provide training, advice and plenty of motivation! Meet others who are new to running, get advice from experienced track & field coaches, learn to train correctly, find out about nutrition and hydration, and get ready for that 5K or marathon you’ve always wanted to do! Check out Runner’s Edge for much more info!

One of the best parts about running is that it requires so little financial investment. Unless you choose to run in a gym or on a treadmill, there is no cost for this workout other than investing in a great pair of running shoes and a few pieces of running apparel. Create a playlist of your favorite songs or just enjoy the sound of your own footsteps, and get moving!