Do’s and Don’ts if You’re New to Running
As with all sports, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things in running. Unfortunately, many first-time runners don’t follow basic safety rules and, as a result, run themselves into injury. If you’re new to running, it crucial to learn the fundamentals, from equipment to training to safety concerns. And, of course, it’s a good idea to get the okay from you doctor too.
To help get you started, here are some practical tips if you’re new to the running scene.
Run in good running shoes. It may sound too basic, but you’ve probably seen it before, most often at the health clubs: Novice runners wearing basketball high-tops or work shoes circling an indoor running track.
You need a running shoe. Your tennis or aerobics shoe is not designed for the high-impact and stable rear foot control that you need. Then find out what kind of running shoe is best for you. Read running magazines for shoe reviews. Visit a shop that specializes in running.
Wear comfortable running clothes. It’s important to wear something breathable. The human body has a built-in air conditioning system called sweating. Let your body do the job it was designed for. Wear light shorts and singlets (sleeveless T-shirts) and light-colored running clothing that don’t absorb heat. Running socks should be made of materials like polypropelene. This material wicks away moisture and keep your feet dry. The wetter your feet, the more likely you’ll experience friction-related injuries, such as blisters.
Follow the rules of the road. Like drivers and cyclists, runners have their own rules of the road. Don’t disobey these rules at the expense of your safety. If possible, avoid running near or around traffic. Alternatives are running paths or sidewalks that are not crowded.
But, when the situation forces you to hit the roadways, use some common sense—run against traffic, not with it. The reason is simple. When you run with traffic, you can’t see what’s going on behind you. If a car is weaving on the road behind you, there’s no chance to react.
Run in safe areas. Crime is something we don’t like to think about when we run, but the reality is that you’ve got to take your precautions. It’s in your best interest to stick to running routes that don’t put you in jeopardy. After the sun goes down, stay away from secluded parks or trails that may prove dangerous, especially if you live in a high-crime area. Run in well-lit, populated areas.
Intersperse walking with running. If you’ve never run before, the best way to begin is to run for a few short minutes at a time, and then walk. Run again when you’ve caught your breath. Repeat, but start out with a short session. Gradually increase your run time, but by no more than 10 percent week-to-week. Everybody starts out this way, so there’s no reason to feel embarrassed about it. Even marathon runners intersperse walking breaks during long runs to help their legs recover.
Don’t run with headphones. For music lovers, combining the experience of running to Mozart or your favorite popular tune heightens the enjoyment. However, for safety reasons, pounding the pavement with your favorite tunes blaring in your ear is very unsafe. Although listening to headphones is fine for treadmill running at home or in the health club, you won’t hear approaching traffic, cyclists, dogs, and other hazards.
Start with a friend. Having somebody to run with or even train alongside you for a goal, such as your first 5k, is a very effective strategy. It’s also a great way to make running a lifelong habit. Ask your friends or spouse if they’d be interested in running. You may find running with them something you look forward to all the time.
Take it slow and don’t give up. Follow these tips. They will help make your introduction to running easy and smooth. Many people give up running too soon because they run too long or too fast, too soon. Don’t do it. It’s even okay to start out by running one block slowly. With a little persistence, one block can turn into one mile, or more, in no time!