Running is one of the fastest, most time and cost-efficient ways of getting in shape while improving your mental health. Yet many women still find the idea of getting started on a running program daunting. It does look overwhelming indeed, but by learning a few running basics and some secrets of the sport, lacing up and hitting the pavement can be easier than you may have thought. Here are some tips to help you get started running.
1. Buy a good pair of running shoes that are designed for YOUR foot. Feet do all kinds of things when we run and if you aren’t in a shoe that was built to support your kind of foot, you could get injured.
2. Stretching is another critical element to injury prevention. Stretching beforehand can help warm up your muscles, making you less vulnerable to injury. But it’s the post-run stretching that helps prepare your body for proper healing.
3. Before you set out, remember that this is not a race. It’s okay to take it slow and to insert walk breaks. Many people start with a combination of three-minute walks followed by a one-minute run. You can start with whatever amount of time you can run for, then insert a walk time that feels right. You can increase these run times and decrease the walk times by a minute or more each week.
4. For the best results you should commit to three runs each week. The weight loss and emotional health benefits of running can prompt you to want to run more prematurely. Remember, doing too much, too soon, too quickly is a recipe for injuries.
5. While running, focus on your breathing. A successful, pain-free run depends on your ability to get control of your breathing. I like to breathe in this rhythm: in-in, out, in-in, out.
6. Eat a nutritious diet to be able to run better. Every footstrike weighs down on your body while running. The right diet will help you bear the excess strain on your body. Cut back on empty calories and add high protein snacks to your dietary regime.
7. Abdomen cramps are one of the most common and painful side effects of getting started. Cramping in your diaphragm or poor digestion often cause this pain. A good way to combat cramps is to pull in that area of your abdomen when it starts hurting while breathing in deeply. I find this soon helps the stitch to diminish.
8. To keep your body cool on hot days and warm on cold days, don’t ever wear cotton. Synthetic fibres made specifically for sport allow sweat to be wicked away from your body and make running more comfortable.
9. When dressing, remember that once you’ve been running a few minutes, it will feel about 12 degrees Celsius warmer than it actually is outside. Dress for this warmer temperature.
10. If you do suffer an injury, ice it immediately and seek medical help if it makes it difficult for you to run.
By following these running basics, you’ll be crossing the finish line of your first 5K race in no time.
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