If you’ve decided to start running to improve your health then there are some things that you need to know before lacing up your shoes and hitting the road.
Running is one of the healthiest activities you can incorporate into your life and one of the best cardio exercises out there. However, learning how to do it properly is important to reduce the risk of getting injured, knowing the proper form will also help you get the most out of the activity.
To prepare you for your running journey, here are seven beginner tips that will help you start off on the right foot.
- Find the right routes
Finding the right route will enable you to have an enjoyable running experience. What you want is a traffic-free and pollution-free route that you can use whenever you want.
If you’re running on the road, choose to run against the traffic. If there’s a blind bend, then run on the other side of the road until it’s safe to switch back.
Finding the right round includes choosing the right surface. There’s no right or wrong surface as long as you feel comfortable running on them. The best choice is to mix different surfaces if you can.
Here’s a list of surfaces many runners prefer:
- Asphalt. This is ideal for those who like to run fast as there’s very little risk of spraining or twisting an ankle. But this surface can put a strain on your joints as the hard floor doesn’t cushion the steps.
This is ideal for experienced runners with good form.
- Park floor or forest trail. Running in nature is always beneficial to the body. Park floor or forest trail gives the body excellent cushioning but the risk of injury is higher as runners are more likely to encounter more rocks, roots and uneven surfaces.
- Sand. This is a good surface for athletes who are training their muscles as the soft surface of the sand makes the person lift their feet. However, this surface is more tiring so be careful not to overwork your calf and leg muscles.
- Tartan. Tartan is a brand for running track surfaces made of rubber. This is made for athletes and is meant to give them a cushion feel to protect the joints. However, be mindful of your Achilles tendon as running on this surface puts a lot of stress on it.
- Treadmill. This enables you to run anytime you want and it’s designed to provide your feet with good cushioning. But, you need to get used to having a belt move under your feet so you’ll be needing to alter your form when running on a treadmill.
- Decide on your ideal time and stick to it
As you start running, you might find that it’s difficult to stick to a new schedule. This is normal as your body will need time to adjust and adapt to your new routine.
One of the most effective ways you build your routine is to find a time that works for you and stick to it. Everyone has their own preference so figure out what time will get you more likely to go running, and then reserve that time for running.
- Always warm-up
Warming up decreases the risk of injuries. It loosens your joints and improves blood flow to the muscles which then lessens the likelihood of muscle wear and tear or ankle sprain.
Warm-up is important to prepare your body for your running activity.
- Don’t run too fast
You’re not competing against anyone but yourself so run at your own pace. You can start each run with the mindset that you’re going to finish strong.
As a beginner, your body needs to get conditioned to be able to handle the strains of running. You want to enjoy this new routine and motivate yourself to keep doing it.
Pushing yourself too hard when you’re just starting out can be counterproductive. It can lead to injuries and frustration.
After warming up, start slowly, then increase the intensity as you see fit.
- Jog and take short steps
Your body has the ability to adapt to certain environments and activities you put it through. However, you need to ease it into that activity to let your body develop the right coordination needed to perform as needed.
When running, try to stay as relaxed as possible. To develop good posture, keep your gaze forward and engage your core muscles. Start with short easy steps over long strides. This will condition your body to get used to the
- Slow down if you’re having a hard time
Don’t force yourself to keep going if you feel like you’re struggling to breathe or your muscles are burning. Take a break, walk for a bit, and then try again. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed.
- It’s not about the speed or distance.
You’re not competing with anyone by yourself. As a beginner, your focus should be on doing the routine right and making it a habit.
Focus on your form and how you feel during the run instead of how fast or far you’re going.
Running can be a fun and effective form of exercise for beginners. You’ll only know if it’s the right sport for you if you do it correctly. By listening to your body, investing in good shoes, focusing on form, mixing up your routine, staying hydrated and stretching, you’ll set yourself up for success with your running journey.