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Become a Runner in 5 Easy Steps!

We see them everywhere. Lean, tight bodies running effortlessly down sidewalks, on park paths, and along sea walls. Defined muscles, a steady cadence, and power. This is not an exclusive club, so believe that this too can be you!

Running is one of the most accessible fitness activities; it can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. Before you know it, your distances will exceed your expectations, as will your running time.

As with any activity, be sure to talk to your doctor first to ensure that your body and health are ready to begin running. 

 

1. Get the Gear

When I decided to begin mountain biking, I talked to my local bike dealer. I initially wanted a reasonably inexpensive bike as I was new to the sport and wasn’t sure I would love it.
He told me that if I bought a cheap bike, my first rides would be miserable as a cheap bike wouldn’t provide me with the ride I would need. He was right; I spent the money, fell in love with biking, and still love to ride. 

The same goes for running;

  • find a reputable dealer specializing in running; the staff will outfit you in a running shoe that is right for you.
  • Look for an in-store treadmill so that they can observe your gait. These running experts may suggest a quality orthotic insole to help better position your foot. 
  • Running gear doesn’t need to be expensive, but it’s worth investing in a moisture-wicking, non-chafing outfit. Being comfortable is key to sticking with your new running habit.
  • Socks are essential; comfort is critical, so look for a quality sock that won’t chafe or cause blisters. Quality compression socks are a great way to stay comfortable, improve circulation, and ease muscle tension. 

 

2. Manage the Aches and Pains

Like any new physical activity, running will likely result in a few aches and pains. As long as these are minor, you can probably address them yourself.

  • Follow all running sessions with a thorough, full-body stretch.
  • Focus on your hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back, and calves.
  • Self-massage is a great way to ease muscle tension, knots, spasms, and cramps.

Massage will provide for myofascial release, improve blood flow, and get you back on the running trail faster.

 

3. Pay Attention

You must pay attention to your body as you increase your speed, distance, and running intensity.

  • Try the “talk test,” which is an easy way to check your exercise intensity; you should be able to talk without having to pause for a breath.
  • Be mindful of your entire body, and observe any discomfort or pain.

If you experience pain, return to a walking pace.

  • If the pain does not subside, you are not ready to run.
  • Check back in with your healthcare team to pinpoint what the issue is so that you can proceed accordingly.
  • If it’s minor discomfort, check your gait and running style, ease back on your intensity.

Many communities offer learn-to-run groups, running clubs, and personal trainers are there to get your running style on point. 

 

4. Start a Running Journal

A running journal is a great way to plan your goals so that your progressions are realistic, safe, and attainable.

  • Keep track of your distances and times to monitor your progress, and celebrate your successes.
  • If you have a race goal in mind, this is a perfect way to plan and track your runs so that you are in peak condition come race day.

 

5. Seek Out New Runs

 

  • Do some research on your community; find new, exciting places to run.
  • Running can become tedious if you stay on the same path listening to the same playlist, so mix them up.
  • Your local running group is a wealth of information about fantastic places to run, and a running group provides safety, encouragement, and camaraderie.
  • Sidewalks are hard on your body, so expand your horizons with trail running or park running.
  • Find places with stunning scenery to keep you engaged and running wild!

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