I love to run. I have been running regularly since I was in 5th grade. It started with the mile during physical education, and since then, my love of running has steadily grown. Running competitively in middle school, high school, college and post-graduate has been a great way to develop discipline, dedication, and fitness and to relieve stress in my life. Because of my great deal of experience, I often receive questions about how to get into running. I don’t see myself as any sort of “expert,” but I offer advice when I am asked. Here are some tips I would give to any first time runner:
First, you should get a pair of running shoes. This seems obvious, but there are shoes you can run in and then there are running shoes. I recommend going to a store that is specifically designed to sell running gear/apparel. Have them watch your gait, or walk, and they can recommend the best running shoes for your particular strut. If you can’t get there, you can also check out stores online, for example, somewhere like Vessi Footwear, and other places that are made for runners, if you don’t know any, you can do a little reach to find out more information.
Next, start slowly. Don’t just run 10 miles without the proper build up. Be one with your body. Start off with a mile or two and assess from there. Your pace should be somewhat conversational. I like to listen to my breathing when I run to tell how tired I am. If you run with a buddy, catch up on what is going on in your lives. Talking will make you winded, that is your partner’s cue to start talking about their life for a while. Stay on soft surfaces where possible. Even the grass next to the sidewalk will prevent injury. You should stretch before and after your runs. Active stretching, like lunges and jumping jacks, are helpful before your run. After your run, take time to sit down and really stretch all the muscles you used that day. Be sure to refuel within 20 minutes of your run for the best recovery. Like I said before, try to run with someone. They will take your mind off the agony of the run and they will keep you accountable the days you do not feel like running.
Lastly, if anything hurts STOP. I run through injuries all the time, and they only get worse which prolongs the recovery time without running. See a doctor or talk to an experienced runner if there is a specific pain that just won’t go away. Running is very fun and very rewarding. It is easy to get lost physically and mentally on your runs. If you have any questions, comment below.