Image courtesy of jpo.ct
Although they sometimes look like crazy people trudging desperately through wind, rain and all forms of unpleasant elements, avid runners swear by the personal fulfillment that regular running can provide. The problem for many aspiring runners is surviving long enough through the hardships of running to realize the joy and satisfaction the exercise can provide.
Unfortunately, many would-be runners are sidetracked by a variety of problems, ranging from comfort to discouragement to outright injury. The best way to protect against these risks is to educate yourself on how beginning runners should approach this form of exercise. By gaining some knowledge before you start out on your quest to conquer running, you’ll ultimately reap maximum enjoyment from the sport and get good use out of those brand-new running shoes. Here are some essential tips to benefit any new runner.
Take it easy in the beginning
Trying to run too much too fast is one of the surest downfalls of new runners. The risks come in multiple forms: In addition to exhausting yourself and convincing you there’s no real pleasure to be found in running, too many miles too early on can expose your muscles and bones to levels of stress they’re not prepared for. This increases the risk of injury, including possible stress fractures that will sideline you for weeks.
Take it slow when you’re running, and don’t feel bad about not running as far as you’d like. When you first start out, moderate amounts of running will condition your muscles and bones to the stresses of the activity, reducing your risk of injury in the future. And when adding miles in subsequent weeks, heed the infamous 10 percent rule—never increase your mileage in one week by more than 10 percent over what you ran the previous week.
Get the right equipment
The wrong equipment can make running uncomfortable and downright painful. While hats, sunglasses, weather-appropriate shirts and jackets and running shorts or pants all play a part in your personal comfort, shoes are the big-ticket item that will really make or break your experience. Make sure you have a nice pair of lightweight shoes that are made for running and offer great support and protection for your feet. Don’t settle for an older, less supportive pair—when it comes to running long distances, you’ll notice the difference.
Speed is overrated among beginner runners because—just like long-distance endurance—it’s something developed over time. It’s more important to increase your intervals of time spent running than it is to increase your speed. Go at a comfortable pace, see how far you can go and aim to improve upon those marks in subsequent runs.
But more than anything, commit yourself to running for at least a few weeks before you throw in the towel and pursue a different approach to fitness. Running, like many other activities, may seem difficult at first, but once you develop a rhythm and acclimate your body to the exercise, you’ll find it much easier to settle in and enjoy a run. After a while, you might find that you not only enjoy running, but you count on it as a source of continued happiness and improved quality of life.