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Running Tips for Beginners

Jun 13, 2012 05:05PM

Photo courtesy of stock.exchng

Written by Kate Thomas

Whether you are motivated by fitness, a charity run or you need help with stress, running is by far one of the best forms of exercise. It reduces your bodily fat content, helps a healthy heart and gives your skin a wholesome glow. As a beginner runner, it is important to know the tricks to help ensure you have fun running with minimal injuries.

Find the perfect fit

Running shoes are vital to your running happiness. Bad shoes make the experience hard, affect your posture and increase the likelihood of injury. Visit your local running store, preferably one with available equipment to determine your foot strike pattern, and chat with a member of the staff. Your foot will overpronate or underpronate or have a neutral gait and your running shoes need to reflect this.

Group-up

It can be very difficult to motivate yourself and sometimes, given the choice, it is easy to talk yourself out of running. By joining a group, other people will rely on you and, therefore, motivate you to lace up your running shoes and get going. Additionally, your running buddies will inspire you and you can share tips on technique and breathing. Ask down at your gym for the local groups or just round up your friends.

Acclimatize

This applies to two things. Your body needs to acclimatize to the new demands you are putting on it and to the environment around you. You are likely to feel very tired and drained when you first begin running and this is just your body’s reaction to the exercise - your body can take up to six weeks to adapt. Also if you live at high altitude, the air is thinner and your breathing may be affected. Take it slow to start off with. There are many running programs online to help ease you into a routine.

Fueled and hydrated

It is essential to fuel and hydrate your body when you are a runner. Timing is important. Eating between 200 to 400 calories of complex carbs and a small portion of protein 90 minutes before your run will provide you will the energy you need. Eat carbs and protein at a 4:1 ratio to help your muscles rebuild 30 minutes after your run. We should all drink 8 glasses of water a day minimum, especially if you are a runner. When you start running for longer than 45 minutes, stock up on sports drinks full with the necessary electrolytes to maintain your body’s water balance.

Warm-up and warm-down

Don’t start running immediately as your muscles will not be prepared and you are more likely to injure yourself. Start off with a brisk walk for five minutes or do some jumping jacks. Also stop at intervals to stretch specific muscles. Also make sure you listen to your body and if you are feeling soreness along your shin or hips, stop and rest. If the problem persists, see a doctor. After your run, a relaxing 10-minute yoga session is a great way to relax those tired muscles and avoid unnecessary pain the following morning.

Pay attention to technique

Sometimes injuries occur because you need to alter your running technique. Pay attention to your body and adapt to fit the needs of your individual muscles. Nothing should stop you from running and enjoying your experience out on the open road.

Running is tough. It is hard to motivate yourself; it is hard to focus and to keep a good pace. That all being said, there is nothing like the feeling that you have just ran for 30 minutes. Your body feels alive and buzzing. Your muscles are electric and driven. It is always better to have run than to have made up an excuse. Keep in mind that busy people all over the world are running right now and you can be one of them.