Running is an excellent way to get a great cardiovascular workout and improve the overall condition of your body. But if you’re a first time runner, you can’t just jump into a running program feet first. There are a few things you need to know to prevent injuries and increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to the plan. Listed below are a few tips to help you start a running program that’s safe and effective.
Invest in a Pair of Quality Running Shoes
The quality of your running shoes can make or break your running program. If your shoes don’t fit properly, they can put you at risk for knee, hip, ankle, leg, and heel injuries. So before you go any further, invest in a pair of good running shoes.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on your running shoes, but don’t jump at the first red tag sale you see. Also, never buy your workout shoes from a discount store. The money you’ll save isn’t worth the foot pain you’ll suffer from wearing low-quality shoes.
A good pair of running shoes should provide ankle, heel and arch support. They should also provide proper shock absorption to cushion your lower extremities from the intense pounding on hard surfaces. In addition, make sure the shoes you select don’t slide up and down the back of your feet when you walk.
To keep your running shoes in tip-top condition, only wear them when you run and replace them every 350 to 500 miles.
Warm-Up Before You Run
Don’t just kick open the front door and start running full speed ahead; warm up first. Walk slowly for 5 to 10 minutes and then gradually increase your speed. This slowly gets your blood flowing, loosens your muscles and prepares your heart for a hard-core physical workout.
Start Slow and Increase the Length of your Running Sessions Weekly
For the first week, a beginning runner should walk at a moderate speed for 6 to 10 minutes and then run for 1 minute. During the second week, you can walk for 5 to 9 minutes and then run for 2 minutes. As the weeks progress, you can decrease the amount of time you walk and increase the time you run. After 8 to 10 weeks of consistency, you should be on a full fledged running program.
Don’t overdo it
Pushing yourself too hard can lead to serious injuries and bring your running program to a screeching halt. Listen to your body and know when to take it easy. If you happen to get injured, consult a physician before resuming your regular running routine.