Want to Get Into Running?

Have you ever looked at a friend’s post on social media about a race they’ve just finished or a terrific run they’ve had and thought, “I wish I could do that?” Running is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, but while many take to it naturally, many others struggle to build up the stamina and endurance that running requires. If you’re in the latter group, don’t despair! As long as you don’t have a physical injury or medical condition that’s holding you back, just about anybody can run.
Training for a 5k race is a great way to get your feet wet and see if you enjoy running. There are several websites and apps that you can download to help you through the process, the most popular of which is Couch to 5k. The approach most of these programs suggest is pretty consistent. As a newcomer to the sport of running, it’s best to start off slow. We mean that literally and figuratively. Running injuries are fairly common among inexperienced runners. So start with a slow pace and be careful not to let an over-zealous approach stop you even before you even get to the starting line.

If you’ve decided to give running a try here are some suggestions to get you moving in the right direction:

  • Register for a 5K race. This is an important first step as it will give you a deadline to keep you motivated. It also gives each workout a purpose – to get you ready for your race – so you’re less likely to skip out if you know your event is coming up. Be sure to choose a race that is at least 6 weeks away so you have enough time to train. The Moody Street 5K, happening May 6th, is a perfect one to start with.
  • Get yourself a perfect fitting pair of running sneakers. Specialty retailers such as Marathon Sports can professionally measure your foot and analyze your stride to ensure the sneaker you choose will give you the support you need to run comfortably.
  • Be realistic about where you’re starting from. Even people who’ve worked out for years need time to adjust to running workouts. So, start with mostly walking with brief periods of running. Trying to run too far too soon is the primary reason most new runners quit. Always start by walking for at least five minutes to warm up. Then alternate between 30 seconds to one minute of running and two to three minutes of walking.
  • As you build up endurance, focus on running farther instead of faster and focus on your breathing. Nothing cuts a run short faster than getting completely winded. Breathe deeply from your belly – in through your nose and out through your mouth – and look to establish a tempo. As you run, take the talk test. If you can talk while you run, you’re at the right pace.
  • Limit your training to no more than three times per week. Keep in mind that when you’re in training, your body needs rest to grow stronger. Over-training brings with it the risk of injury which could derail your entire program.
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