How to Start Running
So, you have made the decision to begin your running journey, congratulations! Running is a great sport that provides a variety of both physical and mental benefits. Running is an activity that helps to improve aerobic fitness, weight loss, reduce stress, increase lung capacity, lower cholesterol, and a way to find solitude or a way to meet an entire overly welcoming community.
Initial Cost : $0 - $200
Another benefit to running is that it is very low cost to start. It is recommended that a good pair of shoes, some moisture wicking clothing, and a positive attitude is all that you need to get going. Although for some, even these few items are not a necessity to purchase to get started. If you are new to running, below are just some general prices for some of the essential gear that you might want to consider if your a starting out.
1. Shoes - $80-$130
Shoes can vary in price depending on your needs. Finding the right shoe can be somewhat daunting if you are new or even just getting back after a long break. Going to a specialty running store is a good idea to get a feel for what pair of running shoes are comfortable for your foot and running style.
2. Clothing - $15-$75
Running gear like shorts, tanks, tights are all made out of lightweight moisture wicking material. They will help keep you dry (drier) and comfortable in all types of weather conditions. While these aren't a necessity, they will definitely aid you in your running. Getting new gear is also a motivator on somedays, because who doesn't want to go out on a run wearing some new threads?!
3. Safety Gear- $15-$75
This is not a necessity but it might be something to consider, especially if you run alone often. There are many items out there that are meant to keep runners safe depending on the environment being run in (night, winter, for self defense, etc).
4. Sports Watch- $15-$300
Again, this is not a necessity but there are several different types of watches that can track all types of data to keep a runner on track in their training plan. The benefit of a watch vs a phone is that depending on the technology / person, it can provide a connection to the outside world or not and they are lightweight and water resistant.
Use the Run/Walk method. This method is a great way to begin your running. It allows you to adapt to running at the right intensity as well as build the muscular skeletal system to handle the forces that running places on the body. This plan gradually increases the portions of run vs walk so that running becomes the preferred activity of transportation.
Workouts and Intensity
Make It Manageable. Workouts might be challenging in the beginning, but they shouldn't be so hard that you never want to run again or can't due to injury. For workouts, doing a proper warm up is essential. This will help prepare you physically and mentally for the challenges ahead. During each workout, begin at a comfortable level and gradually raise the intensity slightly. A good measure of intensity is if you can complete a full sentence of speaking while you are running then it is at the right level.
Aim for consistency in your new running program rather than speed or distance. Establish a weekly running schedule to get into a regular running habit.
Everyone's running form is slightly different but there are a few key aspects that a new runner should keep in mind. It is important to be mindful of your form, but don't allow it to hinder your enjoyment. Proper form can lead to a more efficient runner. There are a few tips to follow. Remember to stay upright, run 'tall' and relaxed, keep your head lifted and look up ahead so that you can see other runners / cars coming. Your arms should swing naturally back and forth from the shoulder joint (rather than your elbow joint). There should be a 90-degree bend at the elbow. Your hand should almost graze your hip as it moves back and forth.
Nutrition and Hydration
Be aware of your eating and hydration habits. The timing and content of what you eat and drink will effect your running. Again, each individual is different and each weather condition requires different fueling/hydration. Immediately before and during your runs, less is generally more. If the run is generally going to be an hour or less, your nutrition and hydration needs are most likely going to be met in the days / hours before you run, and then after your run.
When you first start your running program, you'll probably feel excited and energized about your new commitment. But, you're likely to experiences challenges along the way and these will test your motivation. In challenging times, relying on other peoples experiences can be very helpful. Many runners join a group. This can either mean physically or joining an online group that you can ask questions or advice. Different types of running groups appeal to different types of runners. There are groups that run to train for a specific race, groups that focus on the social aspects of running, and even groups that run for charity or for a common cause.
There are many different platforms to track your runs. When you feel like you are at a low point, it is a good idea to look at all the progress you've made. If you feel that you haven't been doing enough, then you can start making a change. If you have been doing too much then you can adjust as well.
Find a Race
A race may or may not be on every runner's radar but it certainly can help you focus your training and motivation. There are so many different types of races for every kind of runner, and each one can offer up different levels of swag, environment, competition, etc. Whether you do well or not at these races, the running community is there to support you in your result, good or bad.
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