Running is a fantastic way of improving cardiovascular fitness, building muscle strength and increasing your overall health. Regular running has been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and a range of related ailments, but getting started on a regimen of regular exercise is usually the most difficult part of the entire process. By following a few simple tips, you should be able to build up your performance and fitness levels without too many problems.
Staying motivated and committed to improving your health and fitness levels often requires a degree of discipline – and setting goals makes that process a great deal easier. You should be challenging yourself to run faster and cover greater distances at every opportunity. Enter a local charity run, and gradually build your strength and cardiovascular fitness with the completion of the race as your ultimate goal. An exercise tracker app will help you to record improvements, track performance and keep your goals at the forefront of your motivation.
Choose your own style
If you are completely new to running, you probably won’t have a clue what your optimum running style is. This can involve everything from the music you listen to whilst running to the type of running shoes you wear. Do you prefer running alone, or does running with a partner keep you focussed and occupied? Other factors to consider include the clothes you prefer running in, whether or not you like to stick to a steady pace and whether running on pavements or softer ground is more enjoyable. Of course, making these decisions from scratch requires an element of trial and error, so approach the initial stages of your new running regimen with an open mind.
Know your physical limits
You may feel fit and healthy now, but you may find that you have physical issues you didn’t know you had – after just one or two running sessions. Aches are a normal part of the recovery process for runners, but pain is not. If you find that you’re suffering from intense pain in your joints during or after a run, it’s probably best to ease off for a while and consult your doctor. Building up your physical strength and fitness takes time, so there is absolutely no logic in pushing yourself prematurely. Experiment with different shoes, speeds and distances during the early stages of your new running regimen – you can use an activity tracker app to monitor your achievements and slowly build your fitness levels.
Choose the right shoes
If you are going to make a significant investment on anything as a new runner, it should be on the right pair of running shoes. It’s important to remember that not all trainers are designed for running. The shoes you choose should have a thick sole and provide cushioning properties for the balls and heels of your feet. Some running experts recommend wearing shoes that are one size too large, as feet have a tendency to swell during long, intense runs.
Get ready for blisters
Dealing with blisters is inevitable for most beginners. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to negate the risk of painful blisters forming during long and intense runs. However, by applying petroleum jelly or a specialist running lubricant to known problem areas of your feet, you can reduce the effects of friction and stop some blisters from forming before they get the chance. If you are worried that a blister is forming, you should stop running, and apply lubricant or a plaster immediately. However, resist the urge to burst them, as this can lead to infection and further problems at a later stage.
Running is a great way of socializing, improving your fitness levels and living a healthier, longer life. By gradually building your strength and cardiovascular fitness, you can achieve your personal goals and reap all the rewards of a healthy lifestyle.
Image Flickr / Raquel Baranow