Here are four running tips for beginners to keep in mind
Caution is the key word when taking up running as your sport of choice for improving your health and well-being.
It makes no difference if you are running for overall fitness or to compete in running races or triathlons, there are several ways to ensure you enjoy the experience.
There are several common mistakes that people often make when they decide to take up running.
TALK TO YOU DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR DESIRE TO RUN
Many people new to running never consider talking to their physician first. In most cases your doctor will be thrilled that you’re taking up running, but they will also be aware of your past medical history.
A doctor’s input is especially important if you have been lacking fitness in your life for a long time or are in the process of losing weight as you begin your running program.
If you have an overweight problem or a history of heart problems etc., your doctor may suggest ideas of how to ease yourself into a running program. Also, if he knows you are taking up running, he may ask you to come in and see him on a monthly basis for a while.
This way he can develop a picture of how running is affecting your body.
For instance he could listen to your heart, check any changes in your weight, and take your blood pressure. Often the news will be good if you have taken an “easy does it” approach to running.
RUNNING CAN BE ADDICTIVE
Another common mistake is getting so excited about taking up running, there is a real danger of doing too much too soon. Some people get so carried away by their foray into running that it almost becomes an addiction.
Your heart and lungs need time to adjust to the new demands you are putting on them. By going at it too hard in the beginning, you may be putting them under serious stress.
This is especially true if you have been physically inactive for a long time.
There is a possibility of physical and emotional problems cropping up if one rushes into running.
If a person is new to running and ends up getting injured right away it can be depressing and they may decide that running is just too hard for them and they give up on it.
They see it as just another failure when in fact they just went at it too hard and did not give themselves a chance.
All this can be avoided by forming a well-thought out running program that starts you out slowly and gradually builds the time spent running. This gives your body time to adjust to the new demands.
As you ease into your running program, your muscles will respond by becoming stronger and more flexible. Your lungs will develop and make your breathing easier. Your heart will become stronger and more efficient at pumping the blood to where it is needed during your physical exertion.
PROPER RUNNING SHOES AND CLOTHING IS CRUCIAL
Also, special care should be taken about choosing your running footwear. Be sure to be fitted by an expert. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause blisters and a variety of foot injuries. Everyone has a different shape to their foot and it’s not just about the length of the shoe, but the proper width as well.
Running when it’s exceptionally hot can be very dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. It’s imperative to stay well hydrated and to keep your head covered. The best choice of all, if possible, is to avoid running in the heat of the day.
Problems can also develop if you choose to run in sub-zero temperatures during the Winter months. Frost-bite is a very real possibility if you run with exposed flesh in these conditions.
Be sure hands, wrists. and face are covered. Be sure you are wearing socks with added protection for the colder weather. It’s the extremities that are most likely to suffer from frost-bite. Be sure to dress in layers as well. This is a key in cold weather, as failing to dress properly could lead to hypothermia.
RUNNING MORE IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER
If running does become an addiction the tendency is to avoid rest days and run as much as possible.
The theory is that if running four days a week is great then running seven days a week would be even greater.
If running 50 miles a week is great than running 100 miles a week would be greater.
This couldn’t possibly be further from the truth.
It’s critical that rest is entered into the equation when you take up running. If you do not allow your body time to rest and recover there is a real risk of injury.
The most common are knee injuries, calf muscle injuries, and plantar faciitis. I suffered from all three of these back in the day when I was running 100 mile weeks and rest was something I avoided like the plague.
I have had arthroscopic surgery on both knees and at the prime of my amateur Ironman Triathlon and marathon career plantar fasciitis cost me an entire season and I had to drop out of an Ironman Triathlon and a major marathon.
All this because I refused to give my body time to recover and convinced myself that more was better.
So I know of what I speak and hopefully can prevent you from making the same mistake.
If common sense and an ‘easy does it’ attitude toward running are adopted, the health risks can be greatly reduced.
As a result it will be a positive, enjoyable, undertaking that will keep you fit, healthy, and more competitive for years to come.
Hopefully these four running tips for beginners will steer you in the right direction.