If you’re considering beginning a running program then congratulations are in order. Running is a great way to get in shape, improve your cardiovascular health and many runners swear their mental health improves with running too – all those endorphins are proven to have a positive effect. Before you begin running, here are a few considerations, tips and advice to stay safe.
Benefits Of Running
Compared to other forms of exercise, running is considered one of the fastest calorie burners, which means if you’re running to lose weight then you’ll be hard pressed to find an exercise which will help you attain your weight loss goals faster.
It’s also a cost effective form of exercise. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and a place to run. The good news is that you can purchase a good pair of running shoes, designed for your foot and running form, for as little as $50. Running places are fortunately easy to find and are essentially right our your front door.
The downside to running is that it can be hard on your joints and painful overuse injuries often occur including sprains and strains. These injuries can be avoided if you make sure you have good shoes designed for your foot, form and chosen style of running – for example trail running, cross country, or street running.
You can also avoid injury by starting small and that begins with setting your long and short term running goals.
Why are you running and what do you hope to achieve? Are you running to lose weight? If so then your running goals are essentially weight loss goals and running 30 minutes a day will go a long way to helping you attain your goals. Additionally, if you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health then the same 30 minutes will accomplish that.
That being said, if you’re running goals include meeting certain distance or time goals, for example running a 7 minute mile or running a 5K, 10K or marathon then your training will reflect that. Therefore the first decision to make is why are you running and what are your goals.
The second decision to make is what are you capable of today that will contribute to your long term goals. This is important, you may be capable of running ten miles today however doing so may result in injuries which prevent you from running again for a few weeks. So what can you accomplish today, realistically, and still be able to run tomorrow?
Many experts advise starting with an interval program. Interval programs are used by the most experienced runners because they work. The idea, for beginning runners, is to combine walking and running. Each time you work out you’ll increase the amount of time you run and decrease the amount of time you walk until you’re running the entire distance. You can also use the interval training concept to improve your speed as your running program evolves.
Running, when approached safely and slowly with common sense, is a wonderful way to achieve many goals. It’ll improve your health, help you lose weight and achieve the fitness level you desire.
photo credit by mike baird